The Mahoning-Trumbull Air Pollution Control Agency's (M-TAPCA) mission is to attain and maintain the air quality at a level that will protect the environment for the benefit of all.
The Clean Air Act was enacted by the United States Congress in 1970 to control air pollution on a national level. It required the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and enforce regulations to protect the general public from exposure to airborne contaminants that are known to be hazardous to human health.
In 1971, in response to the Clean Air Act legislation, the Mahoning County Board of Health, Trumbull County Board of Health, and Youngstown Board of Health working in conjunction with the Youngstown Smoke Abatement Program establishes a local air pollution control agenecy to oversee air pollution activities in the two-county area. The Mahoning-Trumbull County Air Pollution Control Agency was created and then awarded delegation of authority under the Ohio EPA in 1972 to enforce state air pollution regulations and perform various services under contract with the Ohio EPA.
The Mahoning-Trumbull Air Pollution Control Agency, as a representative of the Ohio EPA, has been delegated authority to:
- Establish, maintain and operate air quality monitoring stations and other devices designed to measure air quality
- Enter public or private property at any reasonable time to make inspections, conduct tests, examine records or reports, determine actual or potential emissions and determine compliance with sections 3704.01 to 3704.11 of the Ohio Revised Code and any regulations, orders or other determinations.
- Investigate or make inquires into any alleged violation of Chapter 3704 or Act of Air Pollution upon the complaint of any person, upon the agency's own initiative or upon the request of the Ohio EPA.
- Issue or deny permission as an agent of the Ohio EPA to open burn, pursuant to Chapter 3745-19 of the Ohio Administrative Code, to individuals making application for such permission.
- Encourage, participate in, or conduct studies, investigations, and research relating to air pollution, collect and disseminate information, conduct education and training programs related to air pollution.
Complaints reported to the Agency for any potential violation of the Clean Air Act or other applicable state or federal air pollution regulation in Mahoning or Trumbull County are investigated in a timely manner. Complaints may choose to remain anonymous and can submit the alleged violation to the Agency by phone, email, or online.
Inspection of a facility that currently holds an air permit issued by the Ohio EPA. Inspections typically consist of collecting data and testing the air pollution control equipment under normal operations. The individual facility inspections are dictated by the air permit but can also be done in a response to a complaint being filed.
Visible emissions are recorded by a certified smoke opacity reader to determine compliance with a facility's operating permit. Emissions may be observed from a smoke stack, vent, roadway,etc.
Inspection of the demolition or renovation of a facility containing or disturbing more than 260 linear feet, 160 square feet, or 35 cubic feet of regulate asbestos containing material. The Ohio EPA requires that 15% of all asbestos projects are inspected.
Vehicle Anti-Tampering Inspection
A law that protects consumers from being sold tampered vehicles became effective Septemeber 23, 1993. M-TAPCA does inspections quarterly and on a complaint-based manner to enforce existing tampering related prohibitions such as selling or installing a device on a vehicle that would damage or bypass any emission control system.
Open Burning Permits
M-TAPCA has the authority to enforce the State's open burning laws and issue open burning permits upon request. Written permission to open burn in the State of Ohio may be obtained after review of the required written application. Approval and denial of open burning is based on the type of fire, location, and type of material being burned. Open burning is any set outdoor fire that does not vent to a chimney or stack.
Enforcement of air pollution regulations
Violators of Ohio's Air Pollution regulations are sent a certified warning letter or notice of violation upon discovery of the violation. Dependent upon the severity of the violation and the impact to public health, the Ohio EPA may assess civil penalties if deemed appropriate or refer the apparent violation to the Ohio Attorney General for resolution.
The division currently monitors for three pollutants: particulate matter, sulfur dioxide and ozone. The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set national air quality standards for lead and five other pollutants considered harmful to public health and the environment (the other pollutants are ozone, particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide). M-TAPCA has 19 air monitors located throughout Mahoning and Trumbull County that monitor for PM 2.5, PM 10, Lead, Sulfur Dioxide and Ozone. Reports are generated and sent to the Ohio EPA to establish a record and to determine that the areas are meeting Ohio EPA's air quality attainment requirements. The aire quality index is generated from information gathered at the sites.
Particulate Matter or PM is a general term used for a mixture of solid and liquid droplets found in the air. Some particles are large and dark enough to be seen as soot or smoke. Others are so small they can be detected only with an electron microscope. This pollutant, as small, respirable particles, slips past the body's natural defenses and penetrates deep into the lungs. Particulates less than 10 micrometers (about .0004 inches) in diameter tend to pose the greatest health concern because they can be inhaled into and accumulate in the respiratory system. Particulates come in a wide range of sizes. "Fine" particles are less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter and "coarser" size particles are larger than 2.5 micrometers and originate from many different stationary and mobile sources and from natural sources. Sources of fine particles or PM 2.5 include all types of combustion (motor vehicles, power plants, wood burning, etc.) and some industrial processes. Coarse particles or PM 10 are generally emitted from vehicles traveling on unpaved roads, material handling, crushing and grinding operations, and windblown dust. High volume air samplers located in Youngstown and Warren are used to measure PM 10 and operate every six (6) days. PM 2.5 is measured hourly at two sites in Youngstown and at one site in Warren and continuously at a site in Youngstown.
Sulfur Dioxide is a colorless, reactive gas that is odorless at low concentrations but pungent (strong odor) at very high concentrations. Both manmade and natural sources emit this pollutant. Commercial combustion of coal and oil by power plants is the largest single source of sulfur dioxide. The presence of particulate matter appears to increase the impact of sulfur dioxide pollution. This pollutant leads to the formation of acid rain and in high concentrations can cause or aggravate various lung disorders. Sulfur dioxide is monitored continuously at one site in Youngstown. The analyzer used to measure it operates on a fluorescent light principle.
Ozone or smog is formed when a mixture, mainly composed of non-methane hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides, collect in the atmosphere and are exposed to sunlight. The sunlight sets off a series of chemical changes resulting in the formation of photochemical oxidants. Ozone constitutes about 90% of these oxidants. Ozone can irritate eyes, skin, and lungs. It can impair breathing, cause crop and plant damage, and deteriorate organic products like rubber. The division operates three ozone monitors continuously from April 1 thru October 31 each year. The monitors are located in Youngstown, Vienna, and Kinsman.
Lead emissions to the air today are ore and metals processing and leaded aviation gasoline. Since the highest air concentrations of lead are usually found near lead smelters and other industrial processes, the lead monitors were strategically located in close proximity to Ellwood Engineering Castings in Hubbard, Ohio. Other stationary sources are wasted incinerators, utilities, and lead-acid battery manufacturers. Lead can adversely affect the nervous systems, kidney function, immune system, reproductive and developmental systems and the cardiovascular system. Lead exposre also affects the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood. The lead effects most commonly encountered in current populations are neurological effects in children and cardiovascular effects (e.g., high blood pressure and heart disease) in adults. Infancts and young children are especially sensitive to even low levels of lead, which may contribute to behavioral problems, learning deficits and lowered IQ.