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KDAQ and EPA Critical of LMAPCD NAAQS Monitoring Program


By Bradley E. Dillon, Attorney, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP

In August 2013, during a routine review of data from particulate matter (PM) air quality monitoring performed by the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District (LMAPCD), an employee of the Kentucky Division for Air Quality (KDAQ) noticed some discrepancies in the calculations.  That observation led to a full audit of the LMAPCD particulate monitoring program which, in turn, resulted in a number of findings about the inadequacy of the LMAPCD’s program.  Many of the findings relate to the failure to properly calibrate equipment or document that procedures had been followed in accordance with approved methodologies.  The concern about the accuracy of the monitoring data performed by the LMAPCD laboratory caused KDAQ to undertake audits of each of the separate programs for National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) monitored by the LMAPCD.

Since the initial audit, KDAQ has concluded that the LMAPCD ozone data was also flawed, though perhaps not to the extent of the PM data.  An EPA review of the PM monitoring data also resulted in a finding that data supplied by the LMAPCD was not in accordance with EPA’s guidelines.  It is not yet clear whether the data deficiency determinations will have any bearing on past air quality attainment determinations related to NAAQS.

KDAQ is currently assisting the LMAPCD in assuring that each of its monitoring programs meets all relevant EPA protocols.  To address concerns raised by the questionable data, Mayor Greg Fisher has authorized the city to enter into a contract with a private contractor to audit the LMAPCD’s monitoring program.  That report is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2014.  Since this matter has come to light, Lauren Anderson, the Executive Director of the LMAPCD for the past five years, has announced her retirement, effective October 31, 2013.  Keith Talley will serve as the Acting Director until a new Executive Director is named.  Mr. Talley is the Executive Administrator of the LMAPCD.

For a number of years, members of the regulated community have been concerned about LMAPCD’s handling of its programs, pointing to significant permitting backlogs and regulatory interpretations that were not consistent with those of KDAQ and other states.  The filling of the Executive Director position will be closely followed.

To view a complete PDF of the Third Quarter 2013 issue of the Air Quality Letter, click HERE.

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