skip navigation
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
PUBLIC GOVERNMENT BUSINESS A to Z LIST

What’s Being Done to Control Emissions of Toxic Air Pollutants in New Hampshire?

Large Stationary Sources
Major stationary sources of hazardous air pollutants hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) in New Hampshire (and some area sources that are of particular concern) are subject to the National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs) found in Title III of the Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAAs) of 1990. Rather than NESHAPs for each pollutant, the 1990 CAAAs direct EPA to set technology-based standards using maximum achievable control technologies (MACT) for 175 source categories, which will require sharp reductions of routine emissions of toxic air pollutants. The majority of these MACT standards have been adopted and are scheduled to be phased in over the next several years. When these standards are fully implemented, the total annual HAP emissions to the ambient air are expected to decrease significantly.

Area Sources
DES regulates the emissions of regulated toxic air pollutants (RTAPs), which have a health-based risk to humans and are likely to be used by business and industry in the state. The regulation, established in the NH Code of Administrative Rules, Chapter Env-A 1400, affects all stationary sources that may emit any of the RTAPs into the ambient air. The aim of the regulatory program is to protect public health and the environment by establishing ambient air limits (AALs) and requiring businesses in the state to reduce their emissions of any of the RTAPs, such that they do not impact the downwind air quality at levels that may exceed the established AALs. The AALs are reviewed and updated every year as new scientific data on toxicity becomes available.

Mobile Sources
Motor vehicles are such an integral part of our society that virtually everyone is exposed to their emissions. EPA estimates that mobile source air toxics (from cars, trucks, and buses) could cause up to 1,500 cases of cancer each year, or about half of the cancers caused by all outdoor sources of air toxics. New Hampshire has several programs in place to help reduce emissions of air toxic compounds from mobile sources. These programs include:

More information on air pollution mobile sources and in Fact Sheet ARD-5: Automobiles and Air Toxics Adobe Acrobat.

Additional New Hampshire Strategies
Several additional strategies have been implemented in New Hampshire to control emissions of toxic air pollutants. A summary of each of these programs is presented below.

NH Mercury Reduction Strategy
The State released the New Hampshire Mercury Reduction Strategy Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol in 1998. Mercury is a persistent, bioaccumlative toxic pollutant that can cause numerous harmful effects in plants, animals, and humans. The mercury reduction program takes a multi-disciplinary approach to reducing the release of mercury from New Hampshire sources. The state implemented a number of the recommendations contained in the Strategy. Controls were installed at Concord’s Wheelabrator incinerator, resulting in significant mercury emission reductions from that facility. Legislation was passed to restrict certain mercury-containing products and prohibit certain uses of mercury, such as use of mercury in K-12 classrooms. The sale of mercury-added novelty items was banned, and a first-in-the-nation statewide ban on the sale of mercury fever thermometers was implemented. As a result of these initiatives, there was a 95 percent reduction in mercury emissions statewide between 1997 and 2012.

NH Dioxin Reduction Strategy
In March 2001, the State released of the New Hampshire Dioxin Reduction Strategy Adobe Acrobat. Dioxin is a potent animal toxicant with the potential to produce a broad range of adverse health effects. Scientific information confirms that dioxin is a known human carcinogen. Recent research shows that dioxin is far more toxic than originally believed and that the amount of dioxin now found in the general population is approaching unhealthful levels.

The goal of the Strategy was to identify the major sources of dioxin and recommend actions to substantially reduce dioxin exposure in New Hampshire. The attached chart illustrates the possible sources of dioxin in New Hampshire as of 1999. The Strategy estimates that over 80 percent of dioxin emissions to the environment are emitted from five source categories, including hospital/medical/infectious waste incinerators (HMWIs), backyard burning of household waste, and boilers and utilities fired with wood. The 1998 New Hampshire Mercury Reduction Strategy identified HMWIs as major contributors to mercury emissions in the state, and as a result, led to the implementation of strict new state and federal regulations. By April 2001, nine of the original thirteen HMWIs had shut down, and those remaining were required to comply with strict new emissions limitations by September, 2002. Legislation passed in 2001 to ban the burning of household waste, which became effective January 1, 2003. Since the implementation of this law, burning of household waste in burn barrels has decreased by over 60 percent statewide. A reduction of dioxin emissions by almost 50 percent will be achieved by addressing the incineration of medical waste and backyard trash burning.

Emissions Inventory Program
In addition to implementing an air toxics monitoring program, DES is also in the process of implementing an enhanced air toxics emissions inventory program for all of the RTAPs identified in Env-A 1400 and the HAPs identified by EPA. The purpose of this program is to establish a comprehensive database of speciated HAP and RTAP emissions from stationary sources that can be used by both the EPA and DES in evaluating the effectiveness of emissions reduction programs, as well as the impact on human health and exposure. The program is designed to be consistent with the existing DES emissions inventory program for criteria pollutant emissions, and allows inclusion of emissions data for all RTAPs identified in Env-A 1400 and HAPS identified by EPA for each permitted source in the state.

NH Pollution Prevention (P2) Outreach
Pollution Prevention (P2) is the use of materials, processes, or practices that reduce or eliminate the creation of pollutants or wastes at the source, or minimize their release into the environment prior to recycling, treatment, or disposal. DES has established the Pollution Prevention Program to help businesses find ways of eliminating or reducing air, water, solid and hazardous waste pollution issues through P2 practices. All NHPPP services are confidential.

 

 

Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol Adobe Acrobat Reader format. Download a free reader from Adobe.




NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

copyright 2014. State of New Hampshire