FNSB, EPA meet over air quality issues

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Regional Environment Protection Agency, or EPA, met last week with air quality officials from the Fairbanks North Star Borough to talk about cleaning up local air around Fairbanks.

When EPA personnel visited, they got a first–hand glance at how high concentrations of PM 2.5 have affected air quality in Fairbanks and surrounding areas.

The goal of the meeting was to meet attainment of the EPA standard for PM 2.5.

According to Transportation Director, Glenn Miller, the borough has seen the problem with bad air quality going on for nearly a decade.

In addition to wood smoke being examined as a contributing factor, sulfur was considered as well. Sulfur is a component of PM 2.5, and heating oil in Fairbanks reportedly has an extreme level of sulfur in it.

Miller says air quality needs to be monitored carefully so it doesn't become a bigger issue.

"And this is all being driven by Fairbanks being reclassified to a serious non–attainment area and it hasn't happened yet; it will happen," said Glenn Miller, FNSB Transportation Director. "EPA has already notified us that you know that is going to happen. Once were reclassified as serious, we have to look at all these potential control measures.

"The pollution control commission has been looking at evaluating these potential control measures. And ultimately will make recommendations to the borough mayor to bring forward in front of the assembly," said Miller.