8-Hour Ozone 2015 Designation Process


The Clean Air Act requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards for pollutants considered harmful to public health and the environment. EPA recently reviewed the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone and proposed to strengthen them to a more protective level. The new ozone standard is an 8-hour average concentration of 70 parts per billion. Based on this revised standard, all states must evaluate areas for compliance with the ozone standard. The outcome of the designation process will be a recommended list of counties in the state that currently monitor or are contributing to 8-hour ozone violations.

Ozone Basics

Ozone at ground-level is a primary pollutant of concern in Kansas. Air pollutant levels measured against the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), shows that areas across the state are currently attaining this new standard. If an area monitors or contributes to violations of the ozone standard, actions must be taken to help prevent the emissions that contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone; learn more about ground-level ozone on the Criteria Pollutants page.

Similar to the weather in Kansas, the quality of the air can change from day to day. In order to help citizens understand the quality of the air on a day to day basis, the KDHE provides near real-time monitoring data from the Kansas Air Quality Monitoring Network.

The Ozone Designation Process

The process for designating nonattainment area boundaries allows the department to make a recommendation to EPA, but only EPA has the authority to make the final decision. The EPA's final designations will be based on air quality monitoring data, recommendations submitted by the states and tribes, and other technical information. States and tribes are encouraged to base their area recommendations on the three most recent years of air quality monitoring data available. For more information see the 2015 Ozone Designation Guidance Document (PDF). As in recent designations, when making boundary recommendations, EPA encourages air agencies to evaluate five factors:

  • Air quality data
  • Emissions and emissions-related data
  • Geography/topography
  • Jurisdictional boundaries
  • Meteorology


Timeline for Final Ozone Designations

EPA promulgates 2015 Ozone NAAQS ruleOctober 2015
States submit recommendations for areas to be designated attainment and nonattainmentOctober 2016
EPA notifies states about any intended modification to their recommendationsJune 2017
EPA publishes public notice of state recommendations and EPA's modifications and initiates a 30-day public comment periodJune 2017
States submit additional information in response to any modifications by EPAAugust 2017
EPA promulgates final ozone area designationsOctober 2017