Public invited to discuss proposed lead nonattainment area at public meeting Sept. 16 in Herculaneum

For more information: 573-751-1010
Volume 37-333 For Immediate Release: Sept. 15, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, MO. -- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources will host a public information session to discuss the proposed boundary recommendations for the new lead standard.  The session will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Herculaneum High School cafeteria, 1 Black Cat Drive in Herculaneum.  

In October 2008, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a substantially strengthened National Ambient Air Quality Standards for lead, which revised the standard from 1.5 micrograms per cubic meter to 0.15 micrograms per cubic meter.  The Department is required to recommend areas for nonattainment designation under the new standard to EPA.  The state and EPA recommend areas for nonattainment designation when an area does not meet the federal health-based standards for lead.  EPA can also include surrounding areas in the nonattainment designation if they contribute to or are impacted by a nearby area that does not meet the standard.  Nonattainment areas are required to improve their air quality through various control measures.

Since the new lead standard is much more restrictive than the old standard, the Department is recommending extending the Herculaneum nonattainment area.  The current nonattainment area is bounded by the city limits of Herculaneum.  The Department is recommending the new lead nonattainment area boundary include portions of the communities of Pevely, Festus and Crystal City due to impacts from the Doe Run primary smelter operation. 

The Department is hosting the public information session to answer questions from community leaders and interested citizens about the designation process and what it may mean for their community.  The Missouri Air Conservation Commission will also host a public hearing on the matter at its Oct. 29 meeting scheduled to be held in Springfield.  Once the public participation process is complete, the Department will forward its recommendation to EPA.

The Department is required to submit the designation recommendation to EPA in October.  The Department, however, would like to complete a public participation process before submitting its recommendation to EPA. Although this process is not required, the Department has notified EPA Region VII of its intention and has received their full support to complete the public participation process. 

"The Department of Natural Resources would like to encourage the citizens of Missouri to become aware of air quality problems in their area and the protection afforded them under the Clean Air Act," said Department of Natural Resources Director Mark Templeton.  "An open public participation process ensures those interested with an opportunity to learn more about their community's issues, identify problems and help develop the most effective solutions."

For more information on lead, call the Department's Air Pollution Control Program at 800-361-4827 or 573-751-4817.