WSR 13-06-020



[ Order 12-05 -- Filed February 27, 2013, 8:05 a.m. ]

     Subject of Possible Rule Making: The ambient air quality standards adopted in Washington state rules are outdated. Ecology is starting rule making to update them to match National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for criteria pollutants. These standards are required by the federal Clean Air Act (CAA). They protect sensitive populations including children, elderly, and people with heart and lung disease. The focus of this rule making is to:

Align the rules with NAAQS by amending and possibly consolidating these chapters into a new chapter:
o      Chapter 173-470 WAC, Ambient air quality standards for particulate matter (formerly chapter 18-40 WAC).
o      Chapter 173-474 WAC, Ambient air quality standards for sulfur oxides (formerly chapter 18-56 WAC).
o      Chapter 173-475 WAC, Ambient air quality standards for carbon monoxide, ozone, and nitrogen dioxide.
Add a Lead (Pb) standard consistent with NAAQS to a new chapter.
     Meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements.
     Include housekeeping-type changes to the rules identified during rule making.

     Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: Chapter 70.94 RCW provides sufficient authority to adopt rule changes.

     Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: In order to meet requirements of the CAA, states must have state implementation plans (SIP). These plans describe how the state implements, maintains, and enforces NAAQS. The CAA requires Washington to revise the SIPs under certain circumstances. Part of the SIP revision includes submitting updated rules to show we can implement, maintain, and enforce the NAAQS. The changes proposed in this rule making are necessary now because:

EPA is requiring that ecology update the NAAQS in rule before they will approve SIPs for particulate matter, sulfur oxides, carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and lead.
Ecology must submit SIPs for the different criteria pollutants in the NAAQS by the appropriate deadlines for each one. Ambient air quality standards must be updated in our rules to gain EPA approval of these plans. If we do not submit approvable SIPs in time, EPA will issue federal implementation plans. Ecology, local governments, and the business community prefer ecology maintain regulatory control rather than having EPA impose regulations through a federal plan.
Under the CAA, EPA cannot approve the Tacoma-Pierce County maintenance plan or redesignate the area from nonattainment to attainment until ecology meets PM2.5 SIP requirements. We must change our rules to meet the requirements. Ecology needs to submit the maintenance plan and redesignation request in January 2014. EPA's denial would result in additional stricter requirements being imposed on the area and current economic constraints would continue longer than necessary.

     Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: Department of natural resources, department of health, EPA, Benton Clean Air Agency, Northwest Clean Air Agency, Olympic Region Clean Air Agency, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, Southwest Clean Air Agency, Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency, Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency, and local governments. We will keep the agencies informed throughout our rule-development process through e-mail notifications, public notices, web postings, and public meetings.

     Process for Developing New Rule: This rule making is to amend existing rules. During the rule-making process, ecology will share draft language and seek input from stakeholders. Ecology will distribute rule-making information to mailing and e-mail distribution lists. Ecology expects to hold a stakeholder meeting in late spring or early summer where we will share our draft rule language. The air quality program rule-making web page will post details on the stakeholder meeting and opportunities for involvement. Ecology will hold at least one public hearing.

     Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication. The interested parties can participate in the stakeholder meeting, contact ecology staff directly, and participate in the formal comment period. Interested parties can access more information on this rule making by contacting Margo Thompson, Department of Ecology Air Quality Program, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600,, and (360) 407-6827 or accessing the ecology web site at or the air quality program web site at

February 26, 2013

Stu Clark

Air Quality

Program Manager