A portion of Boyd County that has been on the Environmental Protection Agency’s nonattainment list since 1978 for not meeting the national sulfur dioxide standard for air quality is poised to be removed in July.

Boyd County will remain on EPA nonattainment lists, however, for failing to meet fine particle matter and eight-hour ozone standards.

Lona Brewer, manager of the program planning and administration branch for the Division for Air Quality in the Kentucky Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet, said the designation was made based on computer generated models.

“There wasn’t an actual violation but with the allowable emissions in the area there could have been,” she said.

All of Boyd County was originally placed on the list in 1978 but in 1979, after a monitoring study and at the request of state officials, only the southern portion of the county was designated a nonattainment area, according to EPA documents obtained through the Federal Register.

Calgon Carbon Corp’s carbon reactivation facility and Marathon Petroleum Co.’s refinery, both in Catlettsburg, are the major sources of sulfur dioxide emissions in the southern part of the county.

According to Brewer, a new round of sophisticated computer models and lower levels of allowable emissions from both facilities have brought the projected level of sulfur dioxide within air quality standards.

Last May, state officials requested that the EPA redesignate Boyd County as meeting the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for sulfur dioxide and submitted a 10 year maintenance plan that provides a source-specific amendment for the Calgon Carbon Corp’s facility.

Wednesday the EPA announced its plans to approve the request, which will become effective on July 24 unless it receives opposing written comments by June 23.

Brewer said Kentucky is working on tackling its ozone problem and improvements have been monitored.

Kentucky has been on the list for nonattainment of eight-hour ozone standards since 2004 and fine particle standards since they were issued in 2005.

To comply with fine particle standards, Brewer said, “we’re looking at a lot of regional measures that are coming into effect.”

New EPA standards require states to have a plan by 2008 to bring down such emissions, she said.

CARRIE KIRSCHNER can be reached at ckirschner@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.

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