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Air Toxics Program

For more than two decades, DEC has led the nation in developing and implementing a comprehensive control program for toxics in the air. New York's air toxics program was established to protect the public and the environment from the adverse effects of exposure to toxic air contaminants.

The air toxics program employs the latest in computer modeling, air monitoring, and risk assessment methods. As part of this program, the department has also accepted delegation of all federal requirements regulating air toxics under the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs) program.

Air Toxics Regulatory Requirements

The regulatory requirements of the air toxics control program are principally contained in 6 NYCRR Part 212. This regulation specifies the degree of air cleaning required for sources of toxic air pollutants, and is based on an Environmental Rating assigned by a DEC engineer. Ratings are based on a contaminant's toxicity (High, Moderate or Low), predicted ambient impacts, the proximity of ambient impacts to neighboring communities, existing background concentrations and the potential future growth of the impacted area. The science of risk assessment and the approaches used to identify toxic problems are constantly evolving.

Regulatory Guidance for Toxics

To provide guidance to DEC permitting staff, the public, and the regulated community on the requirements of the air toxics program (Part 212), the department has issued DAR-1 (formerly Air Guide-1), which outlines control requirements for air toxics and provides guidance on their application. This document has grown from a few pages in the early 1980s to a detailed guide on the requirements of both the state and federal program.

DAR-1 is a technically complex document, especially as it relates to the modeling and assessment of toxic ambient impacts. To help make these complex determinations, the department has developed the DAR-1 software (formerly Air Guide-1). This program allows the user to predict the ambient concentrations associated with one or more sources of air pollution. Ambient predictions are calculated based on emission rates, along with stack and building parameter data entered into the model. The program compares predicted ambient concentrations to established annual and short-term (one-hour) guideline concentrations (AGCs and SGCs). These comparisons are used to determine if there is a potential for nearby areas to be exposed to adverse ambient impacts. The department has tabulated these guideline values (AGC/SGC Tables) following the procedures outlined in Appendix C of DAR-1.

Questions on DEC's air toxics program can be directed to 518-402-8402.

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