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Network Plan Part 15 - NCore, Acid Deposition, Proposed Changes, New Sites

6. NCore Sites

The National Core Monitoring Program (NCore) is an EPA initiative to redesign a portion of the National air monitoring network. The existing compliance oriented network is set up with a parameter specific design that is targeted at the relatively high concentrations near the NAAQS. The data from this network is not as accurate at the low levels needed for trends analysis and model validation. The single parameter design is also not well suited to multi-pollutant health studies, integrated model assessment or the analysis of source attribution through comparisons of co-pollutants from sources to receptors.

The NCore program has been designed around approximately 75 sites Nationwide that are sited to represent large urban areas away from significant individual sources. A smaller subset of these sites will be located in rural areas. The NYSDEC in conjunction with EPA Region 2 office has suggested 3 of the NYSDEC monitoring sites for inclusion in this new network. The sites are:

AQS ID # Site Name General Location
36-081-0124 Queens College Located in Kew Gardens in Queens, NYC
36-055-1007 Rochester Located Southeast of Rochester, NY
36-101-0003 Pinnacle Located 15 mi. Southwest of Corning, NY

Pinnacle is the only rural site of the three and it was also selected as one of ten pilot NCore sites. This site has hosted monitoring appropriate for the objectives of the NCore program due to its involvement with several research programs so it was well suited to take on the more difficult monitoring parameters required from the NCore monitoring program. SUNY Albany ASRC researchers have been making low level trace gas measurements at this site for the past ten years. Home built analyzers for low level CO and NOy were employed. These prototype instruments required extensive post sampling data processing. They measured "true" NO2 using direct photolysis method. Commercially available instruments are used for monitoring low level SO2, continuous particulate sulfate, and OC/EC particulate carbon. In addition, realtime ammonia data are collected using two different methods-NO chemiluminescence with catalytic conversion, and ion mobility spectrometer. The Queens site which was recently established is preparing to monitor for some of the NCore parameters.

NCore Monitoring Objectives

a.) Timely Reporting of Data to the Public
b.) Support for Development of Emission Strategies
c.) Accountability of Emission Strategy Progress
d.) Support for Long-Term Health Assessments
e.) Compliance
f.) Support to Scientific Studies
g.) Support to Ecosystem Assessments

NCore Primary Monitoring Parameters

The NCore sites are required to be sited in conjunction with the PM2.5 FRM network, the PM2.5 speciation network and the PMcoarse network. These parameters will be supplemented with the NCore specific parameters that currently include NOy, Low Level CO and Low Level SO2.

NOy which is defined as the sum of all reactive nitrogen oxides includes NO, and NO2, and other nitrogen oxides referred to as NOz. The NCore program requires NOy monitoring because it is the best indicator of the results from NOx reduction strategies, it is valuable for ecosystem assessments, it is important for model evaluation and it supports NO2 estimates for health effects studies.

CO is important to the NCore program because it is used in model evaluation, it is a surrogate for many combustion related pollutants, it is included in health effect studies and it can be used to assess control programs. CO is also monitored under the existing criteria monitoring program but NCore requires more accuracy at lower concentrations and siting that makes the data more representative of wider areas than the existing network.

SO2 is important for model evaluation because of its role in sulfate formation which is a large percentage of PM2.5 mass particularly in the Northeast. SO2 is also important for some health effect studies and like CO it must be monitored accurately at low concentrations to meet the objectives of the NCore program.

Nitric acid (HNO3) and ammonia (NH3) are both compounds of interest in EPA's NCore program but they are not yet required because the sampling methodology is not yet fully developed. Both compounds are useful for model evaluation because of their contribution to PM formation.

To meet the monitoring requirements, trace level instruments for SO2 and CO as well as NOy measurements were all operational at the three NCore sites since the beginning of 2011.

7. Acid Deposition Monitoring Network

At the end of 2012, the Department discontinued the existing acid rain monitoring program and transitioned 7 monitoring locations to the National Acid Deposition Program (NADP). The old acid deposition program was established in response to the State Acid Deposition Control Act (SADCA) in 1985. This program was designed to provide measurements of acid deposition and related quantities necessary to assess the effectiveness of sulfur control policy and other strategies aimed at reducing the effects of acid rain. By all measures, the monitoring program, as well as the NOx and SOx control strategies has improved the environment. For example, the deposition of Sulfate statewide has decreased by more than 60% since the monitoring program began and the concentrations of acidic pollutants continue to decline.

The transition to the NADP program will result in savings to the Department, provide better and more useful data for use in regulation development and will allow for the comparison of data from New York with other acid sensitive regions across the country. Additionally, because the NADP program provides a uniform operational framework, the data from existing NADP sites within New York and in neighboring states can be utilized in the analysis of deposition in New York.

The NADP program uses IC, ICP and FIA to determine the concentrations of free acidity (H+ as pH), conductance, calcium (Ca2+), magnesium (Mg2+), sodium (Na+ ), potassium (K+ ), sulfate (SO42-), nitrate (NO3+ ), chloride (Cl- ), and ammonium (NH4+). The data and reports from this program from the 7 NYSDEC sites as well as other sites in New York and in the United States can be obtained from: http://nadp.sws.uiuc.edu/data/

The NYSDEC monitoring locations that were converted to the NADP in January 2013:

NY06 Bronx
NY28 Piseco Lake
NY43 Rochester
NY59 Wanakena
NY92 Amherst
NY93 Paul Smith's College

The other NADP sites currently operating in New York but sponsored by other organizations:

NY01 Alfred
NY08 Aurora Research Farm
NY10 Chautauqua
NY20 Huntington Wildlife
NY22 Akwesasne Mohawk-Fort Covington
NY29 Moss Lake
NY52 Bennett Bridge
NY67 Ithaca (NADP/AirMoN)
NY68 Biscuit Brook
NY96 Cedar Beach, Southold
NY98 Whiteface Mountain (Previously operated by NYSDEC) NY99 West Point

Figure 7.1 shows NADP sites operated by DEC as well as other collaborating partners in New York State

Location map of acid deposition monitoring sites in NYS.

Figure 7.1 Location Map of Acid Deposition Monitoring Sites in New York State

8. Anticipated Changes in the Next 18 Months

8.1 Lead Monitoring

Revisions to the monitoring requirements became effective January 26, 2011. The new regulations replaced the population oriented monitoring requirement with a requirement to add Pb monitors to the urban NCore monitors. The EPA also lowered the emission threshold from 1.0 tpy to 0.50 tpy for industrial sources of lead (e.g., lead smelters and foundries). One source located in Orange County was determined to have the potential to violate the standard due to the amount of lead processed at the facility and the past results from nearby ambient monitoring. The NYSDEC will continue to operate the ambient lead monitor that is already operating near that facility. Routine data review showed that during the first quarter of 2011, there were a couple of sample dates that showed high levels of lead, which would lead to contravention of the new standard. Investigations at the facility led to enforcement actions although specific causes for the observed values were not discovered. Consequently an additional low volume PM10 sampler was put in place to collect daily filter samples for mass measurement and lead analysis using XRF in August.

The emission threshold for airports was maintained at 1.0 tpy. In addition, an airport monitoring study will be implemented to determine the need for monitoring of airports which emit less than 1.0 tpy of lead. Under this new rule lead monitoring is required for a minimum of one year at 15 additional airports that have been identified as having characteristics that could lead to ambient lead concentrations approaching or exceeding the lead NAAQS. Brookhaven and Republic airports in Suffolk County, New York have been designated as such. Monitoring commenced at Brookhaven in October 2011, while the Republic site is expected to begin starting the second quarter, 2012.

The NYSDEC currently has two urban lead monitors at the NATTS sites (Rochester, Bronx). The Rochester site is also a designated NCore site. It is the Regional Administrator's discretion to approve site substitution for the population oriented monitoring requirement. These monitors will take advantage of the allowance for the submission of PM10 lead data in place of TSP lead data. The 2013 3-month average for lead values are provided in the following table.

Table 8.1 2013 PM10 3-Month Rolling Average Lead Concentrations for Urban Sites

2013 PM10 Lead 3-Month Rolling Average, µg/m3
Month Rochester IS 52
January 0.0020 0.0052
February 0.0019 0.0051
March 0.0019 0.0048
April 0.0022 0.0049
May 0.0026 0.0047
June 0.0028 0.0050
July 0.0027 0.0043
August 0.0026 0.0038
September 0.0026 0.0046
October 0.0027 0.0047
November 0.0020 0.0041
December 0.0018 0.0033

The data clearly demonstrate that the urban PM10 concentrations at the NATTS sites are significantly below the NAAQS of 0.15 g/m3.

8.2 Special Purpose Monitors

8.2.1 Tonawanda Community Air Quality Study

Although the original study funded by EPA concluded in 2008, NYSDEC has continued sampling at two of the four study sites with State funding. The Tonawanda II site at Brookside Terrace will remain in operation as part of the permanent network, while the Grand Island Blvd. industrial site will be maintained as a special purpose monitor, resources permitting. Figure 8.1 shows the trend chart for benzene demonstrating emission reductions.

bar graph showing the annual averages for benzene emission at Ronawanda

Figure 8.1 Annual Averages for Benzene at Tonawanda Sites

8.2.2 New York State Ambient Mercury Baseline Study

New York has established regulations to control mercury from coal-fired powered plants in a two-phase approach, with Phase I taking effect on January 1, 2010 and Phase II taking effect on January 1, 2015. The goal of Phase I is to reduce power plant emissions by 50% from 1999 levels, and preliminary indications are that these emissions have actually been reduced by about 65%. Phase II calls for 90% emission cuts. In order to track the progress of in- and out-of-state emissions reductions, the NYSDEC seeks to continue operation and maintenance of mercury wet deposition samplers and speciated Tekran systems.

In 2008, NYSDEC was awarded an EPA grant to conduct this study at two existing urban sites: New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx (AQS Number: 36-005-0083), and Rochester (AQS Number: 36-055-1007) for a period of two years. The Tekran Model 2537B, 1130 and 1135 Mercury Speciation Units were used to measure elemental, reactive gaseous and particle bound mercury species in the ambient air. The wet deposition collector system, manufactured by N-CON Systems Co. Inc., and equipped with an ETI NOAH IV Precipitation Gauge was collocated at each site. The field data collection concluded in the fall of 2010. The results of the study were presented at the National Air Toxics Monitoring and Data Analysis Workshop in April 2011. The final report was submitted to the EPA in May 2011. The NYSDEC has utilized funds from the Great Lakes Acid Deposition (GLAD) Program which focuses on tracking persistent biological toxins to continue the operation of these sites.

8.2.3 Community Air Screen Program

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), through funding provided by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), implemented a community-based screening program for toxic air pollutants. The purpose of DEC's Community Air Screen program is to conduct air quality surveillance at the community-level with the help of local community groups and interested citizens.

DEC will provide the sampling equipment, train people on how to use the equipment and work with the community to determine the best location and time period for sampling. All air sampling equipment will be returned to the DEC offices in Albany for analysis of the samples and interpretation of the results.

The deadline for application was May 24, 2012 and applicants were notified of the selection June 25, 2012. Of the 42 applications received, 23 applications were selected statewide covering locations in the following counties: Suffolk, Queens, Kings, Ulster, Dutchess, Albany, Warren, St. Lawerence & Franklin, Onondaga, Ontario & Seneca, Niagara, and Erie. Some of the applicants with similar concerns and from the same community were combined resulting in a final tally of 21 organizations and individuals included in the study. Except for one group which never returned the waiver form even after repeated requests, sampling efforts including follow-up investigations concluded in all other cases. Twelve completed reports and other pertinent information are available on the DEC website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/public/81629.html. Additional reports will be posted when finalized.

BAQS staff also carried out cannister sampling for VOCs in communities that were not part of this study due to environmental and public health concerns. Various duration samples such as grab, 1-hr, as well as 24-hr, were obtained and analyzed by our laboratory. Areas studied included Throgs Neck, Attica, Camillus, and Albany South End.

8.2.4 Airport Lead Monitoring

Under the 2011 lead NAAQS, States and local monitoring agencies were required to establish lead monitors at airports where piston-engine aircraft are estimated to emit 1.0 or more tons of lead per year. Additionally, the EPA specified that monitoring would be required at 73 airports with inventories of 0.50 tons per year or more. However, in light of the limited available data, and in consideration of the comments received on the proposed monitoring requirements, the EPA decided to select 15 of the 73 airports with estimated Pb emissions of between 0.05 and 1 tons per year to evaluate the need for additional monitoring at airports nationwide. The EPA used criteria in addition to expected emissions to select the 15 airports including runway configuration, meteorology and proximity to locations where the general public has access. The 15 airports where Pb monitoring was required included Brookhaven (HWV) (36-103-0024) and Republic (FRG) (36-103-0005) airports in Suffolk County, New York.

The EPA required the NYSDEC to conduct TSP lead monitoring at one location at Republic (FRG) and at Brookhaven (HWV) for a period of 12 consecutive months. Samples were collected for 24 hours every sixth day. The regulation stated that if data averages were higher than 50 percent of the NAAQS for any consecutive 3-month period during the monitoring study, the collection of data at that location would have to continue beyond the initial 12-month period.

The NYSDEC proposed several locations for monitoring at both Republic and Brookhaven airports. Discussions were held with EPA Region 2, EPA OAQPS and EPA OTAQ staff and one location was approved for each airport. Sampling commenced at Brookhaven in October, 2011, and at Republic in October, 2012. Both sites have a complete set of data. The summary table below includes the monthly average as well as the rolling 3-month averages for both sites.

Table 8.2 Airport Lead Concentrations, µg/m3

Airport Lead Concentrations, µg/m3
Month Brookhaven Republic
Average 3-Month Rolling Average 3-Month Rolling
January 0.033 - 0.01 -
February 0.024 - 0.015 -
March 0.042 0.033 0.003 0.009
April 0.016 0.027 0.007 0.008
May 0.02 0.026 0.011 0.007
June 0.016 0.018 0.01 0.009
July 0.018 0.018 0.018 0.013
August 0.003 0.013 0.01 0.013
September 0.009 0.01 0.007 0.012
October 0.028 0.013 0.01 0.009
November 0.031 0.023 0.013 0.01
December 0.014 0.024 0.008 0.01
8.2.5 Peace Bridge Air Quality Study

The DEC undertook a six month air monitoring campaign beginning in late August 2012. The data collection was the first step in a two part program designed to assess changes in local air quality resulting from the redesign of the Peace Bridge Plaza. Once the Plaza reconstruction is complete, another six months of data collection will be undertaken. A final report will be prepared that provides an analysis of the air quality impact of the new Plaza configuration on the surrounding neighborhood. The Phase I report provides a summary of the data collected in phase one of the project. All of the data collected in this program are available on the NYSDEC website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/83984.html.

Two monitoring locations were utilized to assess the impact of the current configuration of the Peace Bridge Plaza on the surrounding neighborhood. One site was situated in the predominant downwind direction from the Plaza on a vacant lot on Busti Avenue at the intersection with Vermont Street. The other site was located in the southwest corner of Front Park just downwind of I-190 and upwind of the Plaza.

The DEC installed filter based and continuous PM2.5 monitoring devices as well as Black Carbon (BC) monitors at both sites, and meteorological equipment at the Busti Avenue site. The sites were used to collect data from late August 2012 through mid-March 2013. The data collected at the two sites were very similar and, during most of the sampling period, the PM2.5 concentrations were slightly higher at the Front Park site while the BC concentrations on average were equal at the two sites. There were a few short periods when concentrations of both PM2.5 and BC were higher at the Busti Avenue site. The only pollutant measured in this campaign with an NAAQS was PM2.5 and at no time did measured concentrations at either site exceed the standards. The average PM2.5 at Front Park was 8.3µg/m3 and 8.2µg/m3 at Busti Avenue. The average BC at both Front Park and Busti Avenue was 0.53µg/m3. The analysis of BC data originating from the direction of the Plaza showed that there was a small increase in the contribution of BC to local PM in the neighborhood downwind of the Plaza in the afternoons when truck traffic activity is highest.

The data collected in phase one of the study indicate that the PM2.5 collected at the two sites in this study correlate very well with the two monitors in Buffalo and Niagara Falls. This indicates that on average, there is no significant source of PM2.5 impacting the neighborhood around the Peace Bridge that is not also impacting the sites in Niagara Falls and Buffalo. This result is not surprising due to the heavy influence of mobile sources in the region. Historically, the DEC has used the PM2.5 monitoring site in Buffalo on Dingens Street to assess the air quality for the region. The average PM2.5 in Buffalo for the same period as this study was 8.3µg/m3.

8.3 Proposed Changes at Existing Sites

As part of the new requirements specified in the revised Monitoring Regulations Parts 53 and 58, a network assessment was performed to determine "if the network meets the monitoring objectives defined in appendix D to this part, whether new sites are needed, whether existing sites are no longer needed and can be terminated, and whether new technologies are appropriate for incorporation into the ambient air monitoring network." As a result of this exercise, NYSDEC is proposing the following modification to the existing network.

8.3.1 Division Street and Buffalo

Under CFR 58.12(e) EPA allows for reduced PM10 sampling frequency from one day in three to one day in six if the maximum 24-hr value in the past year is below 70% of the NAAQS of 150µg/m3. The maximum value in 2013 for Division St. was 47.2µg/m3 and 45.5µg/m3 at Buffalo, respectively, which is well below 105µg/m3, 70% of the annual standard.