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Nitrogen Dioxide Designation Recommendation

The following is the content of a letter sent to the Regional Administrator at the USEPA, Region 2, Judith A. Enck. The letter was signed on December 15, 2010 by J. Jared Snyder, Assistant Commissioner.

On February 9, 2010, EPA strengthened its National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) by establishing a new, one hour primary NAAQS at the level of 100 parts per billion (ppb). This revision of the NAAQS requires New York, as a partner with EPA in administering the Clean Air Act, to make recommendations to EPA no later than January 22, 2011 for areas to be designated attainment, nonattainment and/or unclassifiable.

As such, on behalf of Governor David Patterson, I am submitting New York State's designation recommendations for the new, one hour primary NAAQS NO2 standard. This new standard will protect the public health by limiting exposures to short-term peak concentrations of NO2 (which primarily occur near major roads) and by limiting community-wide NO2 concentrations to levels below those that have been linked to respiratory-related emergency department visits and hospital admissions in the United States.

Compliance with the standard is based on the three-year average of the 98th percentile of the annual distribution of daily maximum one hour average concentrations. To determine compliance with the new standard, EPA is establishing new ambient air monitoring and reporting requirements for NO2. The addition of a new, one hour NO2 standard and changes to the NO2 monitoring network include the following requirements:

Community Wide Monitoring:

A minimum of one monitor must be placed in any urban area with a population greater than or equal to one million people in order to access community-wide concentrations. Some NO2 monitors already in operation in New York State may meet the community-wide monitor siting requirement of at least one monitor within an urban area with a population greater than or equal to one million people. However, the siting of additional monitors would be necessary to fully comply with the new requirements.

Near Road Monitoring:

New York does not, at this time, have a state-wide near-road monitoring network that meets the specific requirements under the new NAAQS that at least one monitor be located near a major road in urban areas with a population greater than or equal to 500,000 people, as well as have monitors located in other areas where maximum concentrations are expected. A second monitor is required near major roads under other specific conditions.

Monitoring to Protect Susceptible and Vulnerable Populations:

We expect that New York will host at least one of these additional monitors, which must begin operating no later than January 1, 2013.

New York intends to make the required submission of a monitoring plan for NO2 by the June 2012 deadline, six months prior to the January 1, 2013 monitoring start date. Thereafter, the expanded network of NO2 monitors are expected to be fully deployed in New York, and three years of air quality collected, enabling EPA to re-designate areas in 2016 or 2017 (depending on when monitoring sites become operational) based on the air quality data from the new monitoring network.

EPA expects to identify, or "designate", areas as attaining or not attaining the new standard by January 2012, within two years of establishing the new NO2 standard. These designations will be based on the existing community-wide monitoring network. Areas with monitors recording violations of the new standards will be designated "nonattainment." EPA anticipates designating all other areas of the country as "unclassifiable" to reflect the fact that there is insufficient data available to determine if those areas are meeting the revised NAAQS.

Based on an analysis of New York's metropolitan areas and a comparison to the new requirements under the NO2 NAAQS, the Department has determined that several areas of New York State would be subject to the new NO2 monitoring requirements. Those areas, and the level of monitoring that would be required consistent with EPA requirements, are as follows:

Designated Metropolitan Statistical Area Recommended Monitoring Existing Monitoring
Buffalo-Niagara Falls
Population: 1,124,309
1 Near-road and 1 Community-based required 1 Community-based Monitor
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island
Population: 19,006,798
2 Near-road and 1 Community-based required 1 Community-based Monitor
Population: 853,919
1 Near-road required None
Population: 672,525
1 Near-road required None
Population: 1,034,090
1 Near-road required and 1 Community-based required None
Population: 643,794
1 Near-road required None

Prior to making any attainment designation recommendation, the Department must fully evaluate the existing NO2 monitoring stations and the associated data that has been collected to determine if nonattainment has been indicated. Only two Core-Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) within New York State have existing NO2 monitors in place (meaning that they have been monitoring NO2 since at least 2005): Buffalo-Niagara Falls and New York- Northern New Jersey - Long Island. There is also one monitor in Steuben County (western New York) that is outside of a designated Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).

While these monitors do not fully satisfy the revised location criteria for monitoring, the Department has calculated the following design values in accordance with EPA's criteria (three year 98th percentile average of the annual distribution of daily maximum 1-hour average concentrations), for the following rolling three year periods, for those monitoring locations for which NO2 monitoring data was available beginning in 2005 (parts per billion):

City County Location Three Year 98th Percentile Average (ppb)
2005-07 2006-08 2007-09
New York Bronx 200th Street and Southern Blvd 70 N/A N/A
New York Bronx IS 52, 681 Kelly St 75 70 72
New York Bronx 200th Street and Southern Blvd N/A N/A 67
New York New York PS 59, 228 E. 57th St 78 78 N/A
New York Queens Queens College 69 67 67
East Meadow Nassau Eisenhower Park 60 58 58
Amherst Erie Audubon Golf Course 49 48 44
Buffalo Erie Trailer,185 Dingens St 79 82 86
Addison Steuben 8301 Ackerson Rd, Pinnacle SP N/A N/A 11

New York - Northern New Jersey - Long Island:

The six monitoring stations within the New York MSA all have design values below the 100 ppb standard for the three-year rolling time periods shown. EPA would require at least two "near road" and one "community-wide" monitor for this MSA to fully establish attainment. Two of the monitoring locations within this MSA may qualify as "community-wide" monitors: Queens College (Queens) and 200th Street and Southern Blvd (Bronx).

The historical record for these monitoring stations provides a perspective on how NO2 design values have changed over time, and also provides a context for the current design values within the proposed one-hour standard. The following chart shows a consistent decline in the 98th Percentile Values over the time period shown, with a slight uptick in concentrations from 2007-2009, with the exception of the monitoring station at Queens College, where concentration values remained nearly level during that timeframe.

Chart showing 98th percentile values for NO2 in the NYMA for 1971 through 2008

Buffalo-Niagara Falls:

The two NO2 monitoring stations within this CBSA have design values well below the 100 ppb standard for the running three year design value periods beginning in 2005 and ending in 2009. EPA would require at least one "near road" and one "community-wide" monitor for this CBSA to fully establish attainment. The existing monitors in this CBSA do not meet these requirements.

The historical record of 98th Percentile NO2 concentrations in the following graph reveals a steep decline in concentration values at the Dingens St. monitoring station in the late seventies. Both monitoring stations show a slight decline in concentrations from about 1980 to the present, with the exception of two notable spikes for the Dingens St. station, centered around 1987 and 2007, respectively. The monitoring data for the station located at Pinnacle State Park in Steuben County is included for reference purposes even though it is outside the boundaries of the CBSA (2005-2007 data only).

Albany-Schenectady-Troy, Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, Rochester, Syracuse:

There is no active or recent (since 2005) NO2 monitoring within these CBSAs, so the attainment status of these areas cannot be determined and are thus unclassifiable.

Chart showing 98th percentile values for NO2 in Buffalo-Niagara Falls for 1971 through 2008

Adjacent States:

In addition to assessing the existing monitoring data within New York State, the Department has also assessed NO2 monitoring data from neighboring states Connecticut and New Jersey (as both are part of the New York Metropolitan Area, or "NYMA") in order to determine if New York emissions contribute significantly to nonattainment in, or interfere with maintenance by, any other state as a result of the interstate transport of pollutants.

The calculated 98th percentile values, and the calculated design values for 2007-09 for New Jersey and Connecticut are shown in the following tables (the New Jersey counties located within the New York Metropolitan Area are shaded grey). None of the design values in either state exceed the NO2 primary standard of 100 ppb:

Design Values: New Jersey
County Monitoring Sites Federal Monitor ID 98th Percentile (ppb) Design Value (ppb)
2007 2008 2009 2007 - 2009
Hudson Bayonne 340170006 - - 63 -
Morris Chester 340273001 36 42 36 38
Essex East Orange 340131003 65 56 66 62
Union Elizabeth Lab 340390004 74 77 72 74
Bergen Leona 340030006 - 66 68 -
Cumberland Millville 340110007 39 40 41 40
Mercer Rider University 340210005 41 43 40 41
MiddJlesex Rutgers University 340230011 51 50 51 51
Design Values: Connecticut
County Monitoring Sites Federal Monitor ID 98th Percentile (ppb) Design Value (ppb)
2007 2008 2009 2007 - 2009
Fairfield Westport 09-001-9003 57 52 48 52
Hartford East Hartford / McAuliffe 09-003-1003 49 44 46 46
Litchfield Thomaston 09-005-0004 40 32 34 35
New Haven New Haven / Criscuolo 09-009-0027 64 54 52 57

Since there are no monitors indicating non-attainment in either state, New York State cannot, at this time, be deemed to contribute to, or interfere with, attainment of the NO2 NAAQS in the other states within the New York Metropolitan Area boundary.


The Department lacks NO2 monitoring data for New York State that meets EPA's monitoring requirements of "near road" and "community-wide" monitoring for the purposes of this NAAQS. No nonattainment is indicated based on the remaining data, however, in either New York State or the other states in the New York Metropolitan Area (i.e., Connecticut and New Jersey). As such, the Department recommends that the following statistical areas, as well as the remainder of the state, be designated as "unclassifiable" with respect to the national primary ambient air quality standard for NO2:

  • New York - Northern New Jersey - Long Island, NY-Metropolitan Statistical Area (NYMA MSA)
  • Buffalo-Niagara Falls, CBSA
  • Albany-Schenectady-Troy, CBSA
  • Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, CBSA
  • Rochester, CBSA
  • Syracuse, CBSA

We believe that each of these recommendations is consistent with Section 107(d) of the Clean Air Act.

Should you have any questions regarding these recommendations, please do not hesitate to contact me at (518) 402-8537 or David J. Shaw, Director of the Department's Division of Air Resources, at (518) 402-8452.