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  • Writer's pictureTom Petersen

Ground Level Ozone

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

Ground level ozone is a pollutant formed by the interaction of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight. Exposure to ground level ozone has been linked with respiratory ailments and the aggravation of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, ozone pollution can lead to crop failure, visibility impairment and the acidification and eutrophication of local bodies of water.

There are numerous current and proposed federal regulations related to the control and transport of ground level ozone. These federal regulations require actions at the state level. This EES post describes some of the current and proposed state actions regarding the control of ground level ozone in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.


Effective Date: December 2004

Implementation Date: May 1, 2005

Amendments to 25 PA Code Chapters 121, 129 and 145 establish new ozone season oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emission limits for certain boilers, turbines, stationary internal combustion units, large stationary internal combustion engines and Portland cement kilns in the Counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia.


Machinery that must comply with the new regulations fall within one of the following categories:

  • Boilers – Rated heat input > 100 MMBtu/hr

  • Turbines – Rated heat input > 100 MMBtu/hr

  • Stationary Internal Combustion (IC) Engines – Rated heat input > 1000 horsepower

  • Large Internal Combustion Engines – Rich burn and lean burn rated at > 2,400 brake hp; Diesel stationary IC engines rated at > 3,000 brake hp; Duel fueled stationary IC engines rated at > 4,400 brake hp.

  • Cement Kilns – All

Emission Rates:

For small sources of NOx, allowable emission rates are determined by the type of fuel, the type of turbine or the type of engine. In a large IC engine, allowable emission rates are standardized according to horsepower and in cement kilns allowable emission rates are determined by the tons of clinker produced.

Compliance demonstration and penalties:

The owner or operator of each unit must maintain records of the difference between actual NOx emissions and allowable rates and must submit them to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) when applicable. The owner or operator must surrender one NOx allowance for the next year for each ton of NOx produced in excess of the allowable rate. Additionally, there is a penalty of NOx allowances at a rate of three-to-one if the owner or operator fails to submit the required allowances by November 1st. Supplementary credits of allowable NOx emissions may be gained via the production of zero emission renewable energy or by replacing certain IC engines with electric motors.


Architectural and Industrial Maintenance Coating – 10/25/03 – Sets new volatile organic compounds (VOCs) content limits for architectural or industrial maintenance coatings as well as new labeling and reporting policies

Heavy Duty Diesel Emissions Control Program – 5/11/02 – Program designed to reduce the emission of carbon monoxide, NOx, VOCs, particulate matter and air toxics from new heavy-duty diesel engines and vehicles.


Clean Car Legislation – January 2004 – Reduces automotive emissions of NOx and VOCs by requiring carmakers to make available gas electric hybrid cars and super clean gasoline cars in New Jersey .

The New York-New Jersey Harbor Deepening Project – The generation of NOx through the dredging of the harbor will be mitigated by reductions of NOx production by refitting tugboats and the Staten Island Ferry with cleaner engines.

Ozone Transport Commission – NOx and Distributed Generation Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – Sets NOx limits on small diesel engines generating local electricity (distributed generation). Eases the permitting requirements for clean distributed electric generation.

Commercial and Consumer Products and Portable Fuel Containers – Establishes new regulations applicable to manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, and retailers of certain chemically formulated consumer products and portable fuel containers to controls emissions of VOCs and toxics.

Architectural Coatings and Consumer Products – July 2003 – Sets standards for VOCs content in paints, varnishes, stains and traffic coatings for manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and retailers.

New regulations on solvent cleaning, mobile equipment repair and refinishing operations and gasoline transfer operations.


Proposed Amendment to Regulation 24, Section 10 – Aerospace Coatings – 4/25/02 – New regulations controlling VOC emissions for spray gun cleaning, hand wipe cleaning, flush cleaning, primer and topcoat application, depainting, chemical milling, specialty coating or VOC handling and storage.

Delaware Phase 2 Attainment Demonstration for the Philadelphia-Wilmington-Trenton Ozone Non-Attainment Area – April 2003 – New control measures for VOC and NOx emissions in Kent and New Castle Counties to comply with the EPA 1-hour National Ambient Air Quality Standard. Revises the on-road motor vehicle VOC and NOx emission budgets.

Delaware Plan for Meeting the NOx Budget Requirements Contained in the EPA NOx SIP Call – August 2000 – The EPA NOx SIP Call, established statewide NOx emissions budgets to reduce emissions transported to downwind ozone non-attainment areas. New NOx budget allocations to some electric generating units, non-electric generating units and any voluntary participants will allow Delaware to comply with the set 22,861 tons of NOx over the ozone season.


Public hearing on January 10, 2005 concerning proposed amendments to air quality control regulations. These proposed amendments will be to:

  • adopt the new 8-hour national ambient air quality standard for ozone and fine particulates;

  • incorporate California reformatted testing procedures for heavy-duty engines;

  • clarify testing and reporting procedures for stage 2 vapor recovery at gasoline dispensing facilities;

  • and provide consistency with other states’ regulations on architectural coatings.


As you can see, there are many state ozone regulations and initiatives that effect manufacturing industry and commercial facilities. EES can assist your company in planning for compliance with these regulations



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