Air Quality Division: Regional Haze and Visibility

Latest Developments (see below)

There are three basic forms of visibility impairment - a reduction in one's ability to see clearly or far: urban haze, "plume blight", and regional haze. Urban haze, often referred to as "brown cloud", comes from the scattering of light due to various types of pollution from a wide range of sources found in large cities.

"Plume blight" or Reasonably Attributable Visibility Impairment (RAVI)

Can be a plume of pollution rising from a specific source, but it commonly refers to pollution coming from the stack or chimney of a stationary source (e.g., electrical generating station or copper smelting operation).

 

Good Visibility
  
Poor Visibility
 

Regional Haze

Is defined as visibility impairment caused by the emission of air pollutants from numerous sources located over a wide geographic area.

The Regional Haze Rule (RHR)

Outlines the requirements for States to follow in order to address haze impairing pollutants (71 FR 60631 , Oct. 13, 2006). The purpose of the rule is to improve visibility at the 158 national parks and wilderness areas throughout the U.S. (formally known as mandatory Federal Class I areas). States are required to demonstrate reasonable progress towards the national visibility goal established in 1977 by the Clean Air Act (Section 169A and 169B): "the prevention of any future, and the remedying of any existing impairment of visibility in mandatory class I Federal areas which impairment results from man-made air pollution." Arizona has 12 Class I areas. States, with the assistance of regional planning organizations (RPOs), are required to submit a State Implementation Plan to the U.S. EPA every five years outlining how the State is progressing on attainment of the national goal. The RPO assisting the western states is the Western Regional Air Partnership, or WRAP .

Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART)

The RHR requires Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) to be considered as a control measure on specific categories of major stationary sources of haze-producing pollutants in existence prior to the 1977 Clean Air Act Amendments. Most of these sources are refineries, smelters and coal-fired electrical generating units (EGUs) that emit 250 tons per year (TPY) of sulfur dioxide (SO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOX), and particulate matter (PM). Should a source be found BART-eligible, a determination of the source's contribution to visibility impairment and the resulting emission reductions from the application of BART is conducted. General information on BART is available from WRAP . The WRAP site also has a list of sources throughout the Western region that have been determined to be "Subject to BART" and exempted as not "Subject to BART" .

Arizona has completed the BART Determinations for applicable sources within the state. Summaries on the BART analyses can be found in the final Regional Haze SIP. The full BART determinations can be found in Appendix D.

Catalyst Paper (Snowflake) Inc. (formerly Abitibi Consolidated)

Arizona Public Service (APS) Cholla

Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO), Inc.

Salt River Project (SRP) Coronado

APS (West Phoenix facility) and Chemical Lime Company (Nelson facility) were found to be BART eligible. ADEQ received the following analyses and determined that these facilities were not subject-to-BART.

Arizona Regional Haze State Implementation Plan (SIP)

The RHR requires states to submit a plan under Section 308 or Section 309. States submitting Regional Haze Plans under Section 309 of the RHR are required to submit plans to address visibility impairment at Class I areas not covered by Section 309 plans. States submitting under Section 309(g) must follow the provisions of Section 308(d)(1) through (4) of the RHR.

In 2010, Arizona opted out of Section 309 and will submit a plan under Section 308. The plan will address all of Arizona’s Class I areas. A Regional Haze stakeholder meeting was held on October 19, 2010, at ADEQ. The following materials were distributed at the meeting:

The public comment period for the proposed plan began October 28, 2010 and ended December 02, 2010. A public hearing was held at ADEQ on December 02, 2010. The final SIP was submitted to U.S. EPA on March 2, 2011.

See Also:

Archived Documents


For more information, please contact, Lisa Tomczak - (602) 771-4450.