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State and Federal Regulations

The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Air Pollution Control Bureau is one of four counties in Tennessee with a local air pollution control program. These four counties are Davidson (Nashville), Hamilton (Chattanooga), Knox (Knoxville) and Shelby (Memphis). The remaining 91 counties are served by the state's Department of Environment and Conservation.

The Bureau works with the state of Tennessee and the federal government to determine national standards for various air pollutants; communities measure to see if they meet those standards; and the communities develop pollution reduction plans for those pollutants that fail. Upon review, these plans are presented by the state governor to the federal government as part of the state's overall plan, known as the State Implementation Plan (SIP), to achieve acceptable air qualities throughout the state. The federal government then accepts the SIP or returns it for revamping.

The federal government agency involved is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which was created by an executive order from President Nixon. Following its formulation, the EPA eventually singled out several pollutants as most urgently needing attention: hydrocarbons, lead, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, particulate and ozone. For those "criteria" pollutants the EPA set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

Hydrocarbons were dropped from the criteria pollutant list because controlling for ozone would also control hydrocarbons (the precursor to ozone). Lead pollution has never appeared to be a problem in Hamilton County.

State Regulations: Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

The Division of Air Pollution Control is directed to maintain the purity of the air resources of the State of Tennessee consistent with the protection of normal health, general welfare, and physical property of the people while preserving maximum employment and enhancing the industrial development of the State.

The Division directly serves 91 counties within the state and oversees and assists in the actions of Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, and Shelby counties, which have their own local air pollution control programs. 

The Division establishes emission standards and procedure requirements to monitor industries in the State through the issuance of construction and operating permits. Established to carry out control and abatement of air pollution, the Tennessee Air Pollution Control Board adopts regulations, holds hearings, and initiates court actions to enforce regulations. Division staff function as the administrative agency of the Board. Other duties include conducting source visits and compliance inspections, developing enforcement cases on violations of the regulations, maintaining surveillance of the state's ambient air sampling stations, performing and observing stack tests, certifying persons as Visible Emissions Readers, and collecting and disseminating information relative to the control of air pollution. For more information regarding the permits issued by the Division of Air pollution, check out the Environmental Permitting Handbook.

For more about state regulations, click here.

Federal Regulations: Environmental Protection Agency

The Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) develops national programs, technical policies, and regulations for controlling air pollution and radiation exposure. OAR is concerned with energy conservation and pollution prevention, indoor and outdoor air quality, industrial air pollution, pollution from vehicles and engines, radon, acid rain, stratospheric ozone depletion, and radiation protection.

For more information see:

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