Air Quality Management
Maintaining clean air is our priority

Headline 1: Orange County is issuing an Air Pollution PRECAUTION due to Saharan dust as of 7/10/2024. There is a potential for air quality to reach unhealthy levels for sensitive groups. This alert is effective through Friday, 7/12/2024.

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Orange County: Air Pollution Precautionary Advisory

The Environmental Protection Division of Orange County is issuing an Air Pollution Precaution due to elevated Particulate Matter of 2.5 micrometers or less (PM2.5). This advisory is effective immediately due to the potential for PM2.5 to reach unhealthy levels for sensitive groups. The PM2.5 Air Quality Index (AQI) levels have been in the moderate range (51-100) today and could possibly move into the unhealthy for sensitive groups range (101-150) in the next few days based on model projections.

Moderate and Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups AQI values recommend that people sensitive to air pollution and groups that have health effects (elderly, children, people with respiratory disease) should limit their outdoor exposure. The general public should also avoid prolonged exposure outside. The elevated PM2.5 readings are due to dusty air from the Sahara Desert that has traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to Florida where it impacts our air quality each year during the summer months.

Particulate Matter (PM) is one of the US EPA Criteria Air Pollutants and has an established National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) based on health criteria. Particulate matter is the term for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Particulate matter can be defined as PM10 which are inhalable particles of 10 micrometers and smaller or PM2.5 which are inhalable particles of 2.5 micrometers and smaller. PM2.5 poses the greatest risk to health and can be emitted directly from a source (construction sites, unpaved roads, fires, etc.) or can form in the atmosphere as a result of complex reactions of chemicals such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Additional information regarding Particulate Matter can be found at https://www.epa.gov/pm-pollution.

This precaution is effective through Friday, 7/12/2024. If the forecast changes, this advisory may be lifted. If you have any questions or need further information, please call: the Environmental Protection Division, Ambient Air Monitoring, Regina Gilliland at (407) 836-1484. For current air quality information, visit www.airnow.gov

AQM Section

The Air Quality Management (AQM) section ensures that the air quality of Orange County meets standards set forth in the Federal Clean Air Act and in the Florida Statutes.  The AQM section’s primary duties include permitting, compliance (including asbestos), monitoring, compliance assistance & outreach.

Permitting

AQM staff issue permits to regulate emissions generated by facilities in Orange County. These facilities include, but are not limited to, hospitals, bakeries, small power plants, painting operations, defense plants, and plastic manufacturing companies. Check our flow chart. Do you need a permit?

AQM staff meets with facility management prior to the submittal of permit applications. These meetings educate facility staff about the permit process and EPD expectations in order to help alleviate unnecessary informational requests after the submittal of the application. Additional permitting information and applications are available in the environmental permitting section at Permits and Licenses.

Facilities classified as a minor source of air pollution may be eligible for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Air General (AG) Permit Registration Program, which is administered by DEP’s Division of Air Resources Management (DARM). This program offers an alternative to individual air operating permits and simplifies the process.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates certain types of facilities without EPD involvement. Examples include the release of Greenhouse Gases and Freon, and the EPA’s Collision Repair Campaign (for additional information visit Environmental Protection Agency Collision Repair).

Compliance & Assistance

The AQM staff routinely inspects and audits over 200 air permitted facilities within Orange County.  Compliance assistance is offered to businesses wishing a preliminary audit of their facility in order to determine if they are meeting the permit conditions.  Visible emissions and stack test audits must be scheduled with the AQM section at least 15 days prior to the test date.

Asbestos inspections are conducted on buildings scheduled for renovation and demolition. Contractors must submit Notice for Demolition or Asbestos Renovation form and a Demolition Permit to the AQM section at least 10 days prior to the commencement of a job.

Monitoring

AQM staff operates stationary air monitoring stations located throughout Orange County.  Ambient air is monitored for Criteria Pollutants (pollutants deemed harmful to human health & the environment), which include: ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter.  Current and historical ambient monitoring data can be located on FDEP’s website.  For current air quality conditions, check out EPA’s AIRNow website.

Outreach

The AQM section provides numerous outreach services to area business – from educational services designed to assist businesses reduce fuel consumption for fleet vehicles to lowering energy costs at their place of business.  Prior County projects involved:

  • Adding pollution control equipment to over 400 school buses and 93 heavy duty construction trucks (reducing tailpipe emissions by 50%)
  • Reduced petroleum fuel consumption by over 20% by using cleaner burning biodiesel, E85 (85% ethanol), and electricity as transportation fuels
  • Partnered with a national trucking company to assist them in converting a portion of their truck fleet from diesel to biodiesel
Through these sustainability initiatives the AQM section is taking proactive measures to reduce air emissions and improve Air Quality.

 

In 2010, the AQM section spearheaded Get Ready Central Florida (GRCF) (Facebook), a coalition of municipalities, utility providers, businesses, and electric vehicle enthusiasts committed to preparing Central Florida for electric transportation.  Through the efforts of GRCF, Orlando is now ranked, along with 13 other cities, as a national leader in electric transportation (according to the Rocky Mountain Institute).  Nearly 300 public charging stations have been installed within a 70 mile radius of downtown Orlando.

Contact Us

Environmental Protection Division
3165 McCrory Place, Suite 200
Orlando, FL 32803

Email:
Air Permit Inquiries: AirPermitsOrangeCounty@ocfl.net
Asbestos Inquiries: AsbestosInquiriesOrangeCounty@ocfl.net
Phone: (407) 836-1400
Fax: (407) 836-1499

All e-mail sent to this address becomes part of Orange County public record. Comments received by our e-mail subsystem can be read by anyone who requests that privilege. In compliance with "Government in the Sunshine" laws, Orange County Government must make available, at request, any and all information not deemed a threat to the security of law enforcement agencies and personnel.