Every hospital, power plant, lab and industrial facility built in the United States must comply with air quality regulations. This may also include compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, or NAAQS (pronounced “knacks”). The NAAQS became law with passage of the Clean Air Act of 1970 to protect outdoor air quality, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with state and local agencies, hold responsibility for enforcing these standards. Demonstration of compliance with the NAAQS can be a challenging part of the permitting process for new or existing facilities subject to dispersion modeling requirements.
The EPA most commonly requires that facilities demonstrate compliance via a software package called AERMOD, which numerically models how pollutants disperse into the atmosphere from a known source. While AERMOD is widely used and well-established within the dispersion modeling community, it frequently predicts pollutant concentrations that are too high, especially because the inputs themselves are often conservative. These inaccurate and onerous results can prompt facilities to spend substantial sums of money on such unnecessary strategies as increased stack heights, expensive control systems, and other mitigation techniques.
A more cost effective approach is to improve AERMOD’s predictions at the outset. Estimated pollution concentrations can be dramatically reduced by using wind tunnel based physical dispersion modeling to create more realistic software inputs. In fact, simply improving the inputs to AERMOD can reduce pollutant concentration predictions by as much as 50 percent, which translates directly into savings for the customer.
CPP is pleased to offer a one stop shop for modeling and permitting. Vice President Dr. Ron Petersen and Senior Environmental Engineer Dr. Sergio Guerra bring a wealth of expertise in physical modeling, numerical modeling, and regulatory permitting to our clients. Our air quality experts deliver more accurate results, saving you time, money, and frustration.
Understanding the regulatory requirements is hard enough, our air quality and environmental experts can assess your best strategy to navigate the complex air permitting process. Contact CPP today to learn how to keep your project on track and on budget.