Air Quality

The NFRMPO is the lead planning agency responsible for air quality conformity for mobile sources of air pollution for Northern Colorado. The NFRMPO works with the State Air Pollution Control Division (APCD), part of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop plans to address air quality issues and ensure the NFRMPO’s regional Transportation Plans meet or exceed air emission requirements.

Map of carbon monoxide maintenance areas in Fort Collins and Greeley

Fort Collins and Greeley are both Carbon Monoxide Maintenance Areas, meaning the cities have reached their air quality targets and must maintain the standards for ten years. Fort Collins is in its second 10-year maintenance plan, lasting from 2013 through 2023. Greeley is in its second 10-year maintenance plan, lasting from 2009 through 2019.

Map of ozone nonattainment area including Northern Subregion and Southern Subregion

The NFRMPO is the lead air quality planning agency for the Northern Subarea for Ozone Non-Conformity. In 2016, the region was downgraded from a Marginal Non-Attainment to a Moderate Non-Attainment area for not reaching required ozone reductions.
In addition to planning efforts, the NFRMPO Executive Director, Terri Blackmore, was appointed to the Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC) Board in 2013 and reappointed in 2016, as was the 2016 Planning Chair, Gerry Horak, Fort Collins Mayor Pro Tem.

More information is available at:

Ozone

The Denver-North Front Range (Northern Subarea’s) 8-hour ozone nonattainment area consists of Larimer and Weld counties. Ozone serves as a protective layer in the stratosphere, but is unhealthy at ground level. When emissions from local industry, gasoline-powered vehicles, and paints are heated up by the sunlight, ozone forms and can act as a harmful air pollutant. Because ozone reacts with the addition of heat from sunlight, it is worst in the summer months when it is the hottest with the lightest winds.

According to the OzoneAware website:

At ground level, ozone is a health hazard for all of us, especially the young and elderly. Those who are active and exercising outdoors may experience breathing difficulties and eye irritation. Prolonged exposure may result in reduced resistance to lung infections and colds. Ozone can also trigger attacks and symptoms in individuals with pre-existing conditions, like asthma or other respiratory infections like chronic bronchitis and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).

When ozone is particularly bad, the RAQC and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) issue Ozone Alerts. These reports are automatically updated on the NFRMPO website and are tweeted on the NFRMPO’s Twitter account (@NFRMPO).

Conformity

The NFRMPO must prove it can meet air quality conformity to continue to receive federal funding. The NFRMPO’s TIP and projects must be in line with air quality goals. Each update to the TIP and the Regional Transportation Plan must obtain approval from CDPHE, AQCC, FHWA, and FTA to ensure the projects meet these goals. The current RTP and TIP have met conformity. The most recent conformity determination was completed for the 2040 RTP Amendment and the FY 2018-2021 TIP.

Carbon Monoxide Conformity Report – 2/2/2017
Ozone Conformity Report – 2/2/2017

In addition to new TIPs and amendments to the RTP, conformity can be required when a local jurisdiction receives funding to complete a regionally significant project. In June 2014, the NFRMPO’s Planning Council defined seven types of projects as regionally significant. For example, a regional transit project between jurisdictions and adding a travel lane at least one centerline mile in length are both considered regionally significant. The definition is provided in the document below.

Air Quality Significant Project Definition

Project contact: Becky Karasko, AICP — (970) 416-2257, bkarasko@nfrmpo.org