Air Shed Description
The Puyallup Tribe reservation is located within the Puget Sound air shed and is greatly influenced by four factors: urban development, the Pacific Ocean, the mountains and the weather. During periods when our onshore airflow is interrupted, the combined effects of activities, the weather and topography lead to stagnation and rising air pollution. The Olympic Mountains to the west and the Cascade Mountain range to the east form the sides of a bowl where air pollution becomes trapped in the urban basin. Temperature inversions are relatively common in the Puget Sound area. It takes an extra push of marine air to flush the pollution out of our area; the arrows in the diagram below illustrate the on-shore marine airflows that help keep the Puget Sound area air clean:
The Puyallup Tribal Air Quality Program’s goal is to achieve improved ambient air quality through education, regulation and providing alternatives to producing air borne pollution releases.
Air Quality Update
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to review its National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) every five years. In December 2006, EPA set a stricter daily standard for fine particulate matter (PM2.5). EPA strengthened the daily standard from 65 micrograms per cubic meter (Âµg/mÂ³) to 35 Âµg/mÂ³. EPA based this change on the strength of evidence from various health studies that demonstrated the previous standard was not protective of human health. PM2.5, comprised of small particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter, is associated with a variety of health effect including:
- Premature death
- Increased heart attack risk
- Increased stroke risk
- Lung inflammation and stress, reduced lung function, and
- Asthma-like symptoms (or triggering asthma attacks).
When EPA promulgates a new NAAQS, it is required to designate all geographic areas within the United States as attainment, unclassifiable, or nonattainment under Section 107 of the Clean Air Act (CAA). If an area does not meet the national standard for PM2.5, it will be designated as being in nonattainment. Under this process, states are required to submit recommendations for designation to EPA by December 18, 2007.
On August 18, 2008 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent out a letter to update the Puyallup Tribe on their intended designation for fine particle (PM2.5) standard for the Tribe’s Reservation. EPA intends to designate as “nonattainment” all restricted and trust lands within the Puyallup Reservation. This means that all areas across the reservation must meet a more protective, health-based fine particle standard. Areas that are designated nonattainment will have to go through a planning process to implement measures to improve air quality.
The Puyallup Tribe Air Program plans to work closely with EPA, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (PSCAA) and the Washington State Department of Ecology in the planning process to improve air quality. We expect to begin this work shortly after the final designations are made by EPA (currently planned to be made by December 18, 2008). For additional information about PM2.5 and the designation process, please go to the EPA website at http://www.epa.gov/pmdesignations.
The Puyallup Tribe of Indians has a partnership with PSCAA. This intergovernmental cooperation and coordination between the Tribe and PSCAA ensures that all permits for new and existing emission sources include appropriate requirements that the owners or operators of such emission sources install equipment to monitor their emissions so that the Tribal Air Quality Program may satisfy the requirements of the Federal Clean Air Act and PSCAA’s Regulations. The Puyallup Tribe adopted the Tribal Air Quality Regulations I, II and III. The Puyallup Tribe has jurisdiction and authority to administer and implement tribal and federal environmental laws of trust and restricted land of the 1873 Survey Area.
Federal Air Rules for Reservations (FARR)
The Federal Air Rules for Reservations (FARR) became effective on June 7, 2005. These rules were developed to protect human health and air quality within Reservation boundaries. One of the most significant parts of the FARR is the Open Burning rule. These are federal outdoor burning rules that prohibit burning materials that cause negative health effects. Although the Puyallup Tribe has its own outdoor burning regulations, the FARR allows greater collaborations with fire districts, police departments and other partners to allow better response to open burning. The FARR also enables the EPA to develop and maintain records of air pollution sources and their emission within the reservation. There is a FARR Hotline (1-800-424-4372) for reporting complaints or any questions or air quality concerns. For more information about the Federal Rules for Reservations visit www.epa.gov/r10earth/FARR.htm.