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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 have 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
NY59 Wanakena
NY93 Paul Smith's College
NY98 Whiteface Mountain
Rochester (Established later in 2013)
Amherst (Established later in 2013)

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
NY68 Biscuit Brook
NY96 Cedar Beach, Southold
NY99 West Point

Figure 7.1 shows NADP sites operated by DEC as well as other collaborating partners in New York StateMap of NYS showing the location of NADP sites around the state

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 NYSDEC acknowledges that the use of a PM10 monitor for lead compliance monitoring will be discontinued and replaced with a TSP monitor if a three month average lead concentration from one of these sites exceeds 0.1µg/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 monies. 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. Figures 8.1 and 8.2 illustrate trend charts for benzene and formaldehyde demonstrating emission reductions.

Graphical display of benzene concentration by study year and subsequent years

Figure 8.1 Annual Averages for Benzene at Tonawanda Sites

Graphical display of formaldehyde concentration by study year and subsequent years

Figure 8.2 Annual Averages for Formaldehyde 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 is seeking additional funding sources to continue data collection at 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. In 2012, 29 samples from nine community groups were collected and analyzed. Sampling for 14 groups is scheduled for 2013. In addition, two follow-up samples will be obtained as a result of findings in the 2012 sampling effort. Additional information is available on the DEC website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/public/81629.html .

BAQS staff also carried out canister 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, and Camillus.

8.2.4 Airport Lead Monitoring

Under the 2011 lead rule 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 (36-103-0024) and Republic (36-103-0005) airports in Suffolk County, New York have been designated as such. A 12-month monitoring study at Brookhaven Airport concluded in October, 2012 and all data were submitted to AQS. The Republic Airport monitoring did not start until October, 2012 due to protracted site lease negotiations.

8.2.5 Peace Bridge Air Quality Study

Partnering with the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority (PBA), Bureau staff initiated an air quality study in the vicinity of the Peace Bridge in August, 2012. Two monitoring sites, one upwind (Front Park) and the other downwind (Busti Ave), were established for the measurement of fine particulate matter, elemental sulfur, metals, and black carbon. A meteorological station was also installed at the Busti Ave site. A six-month monitoring effort was concluded prior to the construction of the Plaza to establish baseline levels. A second six-month campaign will be carried out after the construction is completed.

8.2.6 Hurricane Sandy Clean-up Activities Monitoring

In response to air quality concerns in Hurricane Sandy recovery areas (lower Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island), BAQS Albany and Region 2 staff established supplemental monitoring sites for continuous monitoring for PM2.5 beginning in November, 2012. Initially EPA provided 3 MetOne EBAM nephelometers that were installed at Mill Basin, Rockaway Beach, and Gerritsen Beach. Subsequently three more sites were added using DEC continuous gravimetric PM2.5 monitors (TEOM) at Lower Manhatten, Rockaway PS 114, and Midland Beach. Except for the Midland Beach site in Staten Island, monitoring at all other sites has been suspended as recovery activities have concluded.

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 modifications to the existing network.

8.3.1 PS 19

Discontinue redundant PM10 monitoring as there is already a monitor at the Division Street site. In January, 2013 DEC submitted to EPA requesting that clean data finding for New York County for the 1987 PM10 NAAQS be made. Data have demonstrated that New York County was in attainment of the PM10 NAAQS when EPA designated it as nonattainment in 1994, and has never had an exceedance of the NAAQS since being so designated.