The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (AAPCA) recognized four states last week with 2021 Best Practices Awards for innovative air programs implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality received the award for using virtual and partial virtual inspections to monitor compliance throughout the pandemic. This included conducting virtual file reviews to reduce the time inspectors spent on-site, using a digital opacity camera system to monitor emissions, and allowing virtual emissions inspections for state fleet vehicles. Slides from Arizona’s presentation on the work are available here.
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) was recognized for efficiencies in the data quality review of ambient air monitoring data. As a result of remote work due to the pandemic, EPD staff transitioned a paper, in-person data validation and verification process to an electronic recordkeeping and remote validation and verification process. Checklist forms developed to support this process are helping eliminate inconsistencies in data review. In addition, electronic data availability makes it more accessible to other staff.
The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality received an award for developing a NESHAP 6H Reg Nav Tool that is now available nationally and hosted on EPA’s Reg Nav website. This tool helps owners and operators of auto body shops determine if they are eligible for an exemption to the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Paint Stripping and Miscellaneous Surface Coating Operations at Area Sources. North Carolina’s presentation about the work is available here.
Finally, the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEC) was recognized for its Shiny Dashboard for Remote Monitoring of Air Quality Data. Prior to the pandemic, TDEC set up a room with multiple screens where staff were able to easily and at-a-glance visualize their ambient air monitoring network from a central location. Dashboards were created to visualize the air monitoring data that allowed users to compare performance across the entire network. When TDEC staff were required to work from home due to the pandemic, the dashboards were published to the web allowing continued monitoring even outside the office. The virtual dashboards have helped staff increase situational awareness, reduce equipment downtime, and identify trends and anomalies. TDEC believes the web application code they developed to publish the dashboards can be used by other states with minimal changes.
To see the full presentation on this work, visit this webpage.