The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) is soliciting comments regarding the extent of New Jersey’s nonattainment areas for the existing annual and the new 24-hour PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) proposed these PM2.5 standards effective on December 18, 2006 and each state has until December 18, 2007 to recommend nonattainment areas to the USEPA. The comments received will be used to formulate the State’s formal recommendation proposal to the USEPA. The recommendations are due to the USEPA by December 18, 2007. Preliminary recommendations are as follows:
- Recommend that the current annual PM2.5 nonattainment areas remain the same as adopted by the USEPA in December 2004 (Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester in the South; Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Union in the North);
- Recommend that the current annual PM2.5 nonattainment areas be designated nonattainment for the 24-hour PM2.5 standard (Burlington, Camden, and Gloucester in the South; Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, Union in the North);
- Recommend a new 24-hour nonattainment area that includes Knowlton Township in Warren County, New Jersey (adjacent to a 24-hour PM2.5 nonattainment area proposed by Pennsylvania that includes Northampton and Lehigh Counties).
For further information about the meeting, please contact Willa William’s at (609) 292-7953.
The meeting is scheduled as follows:
Date: Thursday, December 6, 2007
Time: 7:30pm to end of comment
Location: Township of Knowlton
628 Route 94
Columbia, NJ 07832
The NJDEP will consider all written comments received by December 10, 2007. Submit comments to Willa Williams, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protections, PO Box 418, Trenton, NJ 08625; FAX (609) 633-6198 or email email@example.com.
The USEPA designated nonattainment areas for the annual PM2.5 standard in December 2004. New Jersey is part of two annual PM2.5 nonattainment areas: the Philadelphia-Wilmington (PA-NJ-DE) nonattainment area that includes the New Jersey counties of Burlington, Camden and Gloucester; and the New York-North New Jersey-Long Island (NY-NJ-CT) nonattainment area that includes the New Jersey counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Passaic, Somerset and Union.
The USEPA readopted the existing annual PM2.5 standard, and adopted a revised 24-hour standard in 2006. The new 24-hour PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standard was lowered from 65 µg/m3 to 35 µg/m3. State recommendations for designating nonattainment areas for the 24-hour standard are due to the USEPA no later than December 18, 2007. The USEPA’s final designations are expected no later than December 18, 2008.
The USEPA issued guidance for determining the boundaries of 24-hour fine particle nonattainment areas on June 8, 2007. The factors to be used for determining nonattainment areas are essentially the same as those used for designating annual PM2.5 nonattainment areas, with the exception that urban nonattainment areas do not need to be based on the US Office of Management and Budget boundaries as required by the PM2.5 annual guidance. After analyzing the nine factors that the USEPA specified in their guidance as well as analyzing wind trajectories on high PM2.5 monitoring days, New Jersey’s recommendation is to maintain the existing two nonattainment areas for both annual and 24-hour PM2.5 and add a third nonattainment area for 24-hour PM2.5 as discussed in further detail below.
The NJDEP Bureau of Air Quality Evaluation performed a PM2.5 modeling analysis of the Portland Generating Station in Northampton County, Pennsylvania. The Portland Generating Station is located in Upper Mount Bethel Township, Pennsylvania along the Delaware River on the Pennsylvania/New Jersey border. The impact of primary PM2.5 emissions and secondary PM2.5 particulates formed from sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emissions were modeled to show if this facility’s emissions contribute to the concentrations of PM2.5 in areas of Warren County, New Jersey. New Jersey’s Phillipsburg PM2.5 monitor is located in the southern part of Warren County and may not be directly affected by the emissions coming from the Portland Generating Station. The estimated background PM2.5 concentration was derived from the PM2.5 monitors in the region, both in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. When 24-hour background PM2.5 concentrations representative of time periods of concern were added to Portland's modeled impact, there were predictions that Knowlton Township may be in violation of the 24-hour PM2.5 standard.