Logan First PM2.5 Nonattainment Area in Utah to Meet Federal Standard

Nov. 13, 2018

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that the Logan PM2.5 nonattainment area meets the conditions for attainment. This determination makes it the first PM2.5 nonattainment area in the state to reach attainment since the standard was tightened 12 years ago. The Logan area currently meets the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 federal standard of 35 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) based on certified air-monitoring data from 2015-2017.

Clear skies in Logan, Utah, have become more common as emission reductions improve the area’s air quality.

When monitored air-quality data in a designated nonattainment area shows the area meets the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)  EPA  suspends the submission of certain State Implementation Plan (SIP) requirements as long as the area continues to meet the standard. Under this Redesignation and Clean Data Policy (CDP), the following will no longer be required for the Logan area:

  • Reasonable further progress (RFP) requirements
  • Attainment demonstrations
  • Reasonably Available Control Measures (RACM)
  • Contingency measures
  • Other state planning requirements related to attainment of the NAAQS

Local Efforts, National Funding Help Reduce Logan Emissions

The Division of Air Quality (DAQ), county officials, and the Bear River Health Department worked collaboratively to develop a plan to reduce emissions and secure funding for targeted emission reductions.  A vehicle emissions-testing program, wood-burning restrictions, projects funded through EPA airshed grants, and behavior changes by Cache Valley residents are credited with air-quality improvements in the former nonattainment area.

Emissions Testing Program

In 2013, Cache County officials drafted their first-ever emissions-testing program. The program began in 2014 and requires vehicles six or more model-years old to obtain a smog certificate every other year. Vehicles manufactured in or before 1968 are exempt, as are vehicles during their first five model years. The Bear River Health Department oversees the program.

Targeted Airshed Grants

EPA’s Targeted AirShed Grant program helps state and local agencies implement projects that reduce air pollution in nonattainment areas with the highest levels of PM2.5  and ozone.

In 2016, EPA awarded a $2.5 million Targeted Airshed Grant to the Division of Air Quality (DAQ)  to replace school buses in Cache and Utah Counties and fund a Vehicle Repair and Replacement Assistance Program in Cache County to help qualifying owners repair or replace vehicles that fail emissions testing. The Cache County Vehicle Repair and Replacement Assistance Program (VRRAP) provides funding assistance to individuals whose vehicle fails vehicle emission standards to replace their failing vehicle with a newer, cleaner one or repair it. The amount of financial assistance depends on household income, household size, and whether the applicant chooses to replace or repair the failed vehicle. Financial assistance can be as high as $5,000 for a vehicle replacement or $1,000 for a repair.

In 2018, DAQ received another round of EPA funding for two projects in Cache County through the program:

  • The Logan Wood-burning Appliance Changeout Project received approximately$3.2 million to reduce residential wood-smoke emissions by changing out uncontrolled wood-burning appliances with either gas or propane heating appliances, replacing uncertified wood stoves/inserts with EPA-certified wood-burning units, and removing uncertified wood-stoves/inserts.
  • The Logan Heavy-Duty Diesel Vehicle Replacement Project also received approximately $3.2 million to provide rebates to replace 1999-2006 model-year medium- and heavy-duty diesel with trucks that meet the most stringent emissions standards.

Cache Clean Air Consortium

The Cache Clean Air Consortium was formed in early 2013 by a small group of concerned citizens to improve air quality within Cache Valley and northern Utah. Since then, the consortium has grown and expanded its outreach to include idle-free campaigns at local schools, clean-air conferences, and collaborative efforts that lead to meaningful air-quality changes at the local level.

Details of the EPA determination can be found in the Federal Register.