Air introduction

Please read the board carefully
and get out paper for notes. 
Home sweet home . . .
Or is it????
Some basics
What is in our atmosphere?
Normal chemical
composition of our
(N2) 78%
(O2) 21%
Trace gases (water,
argon, carbon
dioxide, other
pollutants) 1%
Pollution terminology
• Pollutant
• Source
• Effect
Article: EPA Proposes New
Ozone Standard
• EPA = Environmental Protection Agency
• As you read, label the pollutant, source(s)
and effects
Pollution units
Parts per thousand (ppt)
Parts per million (ppm)
Parts per billion (ppb)
The air pollution flip chart for
visual learners
• Draw and label the
atmospheric layers in
black or blue pen.
Primary pollutants come directly
from a source
Mobile sources
Mobile sources
Stationary Sources
• Power plants
Secondary pollutants form in
atmosphere as gases react
• Smog, ground level ozone and
acid rain
Add the sources to the three flip
We're #?
• . . . .for the number of days exceeding
allowable ground level ozone levels.
• American Lung Association State of the
Measuring pollutants
parts per thousand = ppt
parts per million = ppm
Parts per billion = ppb
Parts per trillion = ppt (must know from
Clean Air Act
• Passed by Congress in 1970, updated in
1990, ‘93, 97, 2008.
• Required EPA (Environmental Protection
Agency) to identify criteria pollutants and
to establish minimum standards: EPA
came up with NAAQ’s
National Ambient Air Quality
• Six criterion pollutants: NOx, SOx, O3, Pb,
CO, particulates
• Established minimum standards: 1hr and
8 hr
• EPA is working to have greenhouse gases
added by Congress to the NAAQs
Houston’s special issues
• 1/3 of all US petrochemicals pass through
our refineries
• Refineries separate crude oil into many
different products from asphalt tar to
gasoline to butane
Refineries create carcinogenic
air pollutants
So what is being done about
this? - City monitoring
45 mobile monitoring stations
State monitoring
• Flexible permitting – each facility has total
cap emissions limit, but flexibility in how
they meet that limit.
• TCEQ issues permits for emitting certain
amount of pollutants
• Facilities do “self reporting”
Check your understanding!
• What is the difference between a primary
and a secondary air pollutant?
• Give an example of a mobile source.
• Give an example of a stationary source.
• Which layer of the atmosphere are you in
• What is the normal chemical composition
of our atmosphere?