Idaho Environmental Guide for Local Governments: Air Quality
Burning and Smoke Management
Smoke generated by burning can contribute to poor air quality and impact human health. Smoke contains small airborne particles that can become lodged in lungs, making breathing difficult and leading to more serious short-term and chronic health problems for sensitive populations such as children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with asthma or other respiratory ailments. Local governments have an important role to play in protecting public health from the impacts of smoke. Learn more.
Fugitive dust is particulate matter, or particle pollution, that becomes airborne from activites such as construction, commericial mining, driving on unpaved roads, demolition, and soil and wind erosion. Under certain conditions and in certain quantities, fugitive dust can be harmful to human health and a public nuisance. Cities and counties are responsible for dust suppression on city and county property. Learn more.
Gases that absorb and trap heat in the atmosphere are often called greenhouse gases. Some greenhouse gases occur naturally while others are created and emitted through human activities. Communities can reduce greenhouse emissions by reducing energy consumption, switching to renewable energy, and promoting alternative tranpsortation and recycling. Learn more.
An area with persistent air quality problems is designated a nonattainment area. This means that the area has violated federal health-based standards for outdoor air pollution. Local government can help avoid nonattainment by encouraging activities to reduce emissions of air toxics. Learn more.
Odors are a concern for Idahoans and a frequent source of citizen complaints. Odors are generated by a wide range of operations, including livestock feedlots, wastewater treatment plants, and various other industries. City and county ordinances regulate odors in some cases. Learn more.
Permit to Construct
An air quality permit to construct (PTC) is required before constructing or modifying buildings, structures, or installations that emit or may emit pollutants into the air. Communities are encouraged to advise new businesses to work with DEQ to ensure permitting requirements are met. Learn more.
Toxic Air Pollutants
Toxic air pollutants are known or suspected to cause serious health problems such as cancer, birth defects, lung damage, and nerve damage. Examples of air toxics include asbestos, benzene, chloroform, formaldehyde, lead, mercury, nickel compounds, and perchloroethylene. Local governments can implement ordinances to help prevent the release of air toxics. Learn more.