Federal Air Quality Monitoring Requirements Problem

by Christine Andrews
As written, federal air quality monitoring requirements do not require monitoring of ambient air quality in Maui.

Due to concerns regarding cane burning decades ago, the state Dept. of Health placed a monitor in north Kihei that only monitors for PM2.5 (particulate matter 2.5 microns or less). The current federal ambient air quality standard for PM2.5 is 35 ug/m3 over a 24 hour average. The monitor in Kihei has never picked up measurements in excess of that average.

Therefore, the EPA’s ability to do anything is very limited under ambient air quality regulations.

I am asking the EPA to encourage Dept. of Health to place additional monitoring in central Maui, since it seems burns like that on Sept. 7 and today might actually hit the standard if measured in the right place. The PM2.5 standard is currently under review, and the EPA, after encouragement from EarthJustice, is requesting to drop standard to 25 ug/m3.

Even under the proposed 25 ug/m3 standard, the Kihei monitor’s historical data does not suggest there will be a violation.

That’s why there needs to be a monitor in a different location.

In addition, in its Application Review (posted here previously by me) of HC&S’ Source Permit for the Puunene Mill, the DOH’s modeling indicated that the NOX (nitrous oxide) emissions from the Mill were within 99% of the federal standard for NOX (NOX is not measured by the Kihei monitor). The data set used for the modelling was limited, so it is possible that the Mill’s emissions are currently resulting in violations of the NOX standard under federal ambient air quality, which would enable the EPA to step in, another reason to locate a monitor in central Maui, next to the Mill.