# 40 CFR Appendix T to Part 50, Interpretation of the Primary National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Oxides of Sulfur (Sulfur Dioxide)

(a) This appendix explains the data handling conventions and computations necessary for determining when the primary national ambient air quality standards for Oxides of Sulfur as measured by Sulfur Dioxide (“SO2 NAAQS”) specified in § 50.17 are met at an ambient air quality monitoring site. Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) is measured in the ambient air by a Federal reference method (FRM) based on appendix A or A-1 to this part or by a Federal equivalent method (FEM) designated in accordance with part 53 of this chapter. Data handling and computation procedures to be used in making comparisons between reported SO2 concentrations and the levels of the SO2 NAAQS are specified in the following sections.

(b) Decisions to exclude, retain, or make adjustments to the data affected by exceptional events, including natural events, are made according to the requirements and process deadlines specified in §§ 50.1, 50.14 and 51.930 of this chapter.

(c) The terms used in this appendix are defined as follows:

Daily maximum 1-hour values for SO2 refers to the maximum 1-hour SO2 concentration values measured from midnight to midnight (local standard time) that are used in NAAQS computations.

Design values are the metrics (i.e., statistics) that are compared to the NAAQS levels to determine compliance, calculated as specified in section 5 of this appendix. The design value for the primary 1-hour NAAQS is the 3-year average of annual 99th percentile daily maximum 1-hour values for a monitoring site (referred to as the “1-hour primary standard design value”).

99th percentile daily maximum 1-hour value is the value below which nominally 99 percent of all daily maximum 1-hour concentration values fall, using the ranking and selection method specified in section 5 of this appendix.

Pollutant Occurrence Code (POC) refers to a numerical code (1, 2, 3, etc.) used to distinguish the data from two or more monitors for the same parameter at a single monitoring site.

Quarter refers to a calendar quarter.

Year refers to a calendar year.

(a) All valid FRM/FEM SO2 hourly data required to be submitted to EPA's Air Quality System (AQS), or otherwise available to EPA, meeting the requirements of part 58 of this chapter including appendices A, C, and E shall be used in design value calculations. Multi-hour average concentration values collected by wet chemistry methods shall not be used.

(b) Data from two or more monitors from the same year at the same site reported to EPA under distinct Pollutant Occurrence Codes shall not be combined in an attempt to meet data completeness requirements. The Administrator will combine annual 99th percentile daily maximum concentration values from different monitors in different years, selected as described here, for the purpose of developing a valid 1-hour primary standard design value. If more than one of the monitors meets the completeness requirement for all four quarters of a year, the steps specified in section 5(a) of this appendix shall be applied to the data from the monitor with the highest average of the four quarterly completeness values to derive a valid annual 99th percentile daily maximum concentration. If no monitor is complete for all four quarters in a year, the steps specified in section 3(c) and 5(a) of this appendix shall be applied to the data from the monitor with the highest average of the four quarterly completeness values in an attempt to derive a valid annual 99th percentile daily maximum concentration. This paragraph does not prohibit a monitoring agency from making a local designation of one physical monitor as the primary monitor for a Pollutant Occurrence Code and substituting the 1-hour data from a second physical monitor whenever a valid concentration value is not obtained from the primary monitor; if a monitoring agency substitutes data in this manner, each substituted value must be accompanied by an AQS qualifier code indicating that substitution with a value from a second physical monitor has taken place.

(c) Hourly SO2 measurement data shall be reported to AQS in units of parts per billion (ppb), to at most one place after the decimal, with additional digits to the right being truncated with no further rounding.

(a) The 1-hour primary SO2 NAAQS is met at an ambient air quality monitoring site when the valid 1-hour primary standard design value is less than or equal to 75 parts per billion (ppb).

(b) An SO2 1-hour primary standard design value is valid if it encompasses three consecutive calendar years of complete data. A year meets data completeness requirements when all 4 quarters are complete. A quarter is complete when at least 75 percent of the sampling days for each quarter have complete data. A sampling day has complete data if 75 percent of the hourly concentration values, including State-flagged data affected by exceptional events which have been approved for exclusion by the Administrator, are reported.

(c) In the case of one, two, or three years that do not meet the completeness requirements of section 3(b) of this appendix and thus would normally not be useable for the calculation of a valid 3-year 1-hour primary standard design value, the 3-year 1-hour primary standard design value shall nevertheless be considered valid if one of the following conditions is true.

(i) At least 75 percent of the days in each quarter of each of three consecutive years have at least one reported hourly value, and the design value calculated according to the procedures specified in section 5 is above the level of the primary 1-hour standard.

(ii)

(A) A 1-hour primary standard design value that is equal to or below the level of the NAAQS can be validated if the substitution test in section 3(c)(ii)(B) results in a “test design value” that is below the level of the NAAQS. The test substitutes actual “high” reported daily maximum 1-hour values from the same site at about the same time of the year (specifically, in the same calendar quarter) for unknown values that were not successfully measured. Note that the test is merely diagnostic in nature, intended to confirm that there is a very high likelihood that the original design value (the one with less than 75 percent data capture of hours by day and of days by quarter) reflects the true under-NAAQS-level status for that 3-year period; the result of this data substitution test (the “test design value”, as defined in section 3(c)(ii)(B)) is not considered the actual design value. For this test, substitution is permitted only if there are at least 200 days across the three matching quarters of the three years under consideration (which is about 75 percent of all possible daily values in those three quarters) for which 75 percent of the hours in the day, including State-flagged data affected by exceptional events which have been approved for exclusion by the Administrator, have reported concentrations. However, maximum 1-hour values from days with less than 75 percent of the hours reported shall also be considered in identifying the high value to be used for substitution.

(B) The substitution test is as follows: Data substitution will be performed in all quarter periods that have less than 75 percent data capture but at least 50 percent data capture, including State-flagged data affected by exceptional events which have been approved for exclusion by the Administrator; if any quarter has less than 50 percent data capture then this substitution test cannot be used. Identify for each quarter (e.g., January-March) the highest reported daily maximum 1-hour value for that quarter, excluding State-flagged data affected by exceptional events which have been approved for exclusion by the Administrator, looking across those three months of all three years under consideration. All daily maximum 1-hour values from all days in the quarter period shall be considered when identifying this highest value, including days with less than 75 percent data capture. If after substituting the highest reported daily maximum 1-hour value for a quarter for as much of the missing daily data in the matching deficient quarter(s) as is needed to make them 100 percent complete, the procedure in section 5 yields a recalculated 3-year 1-hour standard “test design value” less than or equal to the level of the standard, then the 1-hour primary standard design value is deemed to have passed the diagnostic test and is valid, and the level of the standard is deemed to have been met in that 3-year period. As noted in section 3(c)(i), in such a case, the 3-year design value based on the data actually reported, not the “test design value”, shall be used as the valid design value.

(iii)

(A) A 1-hour primary standard design value that is above the level of the NAAQS can be validated if the substitution test in section 3(c)(iii)(B) results in a “test design value” that is above the level of the NAAQS. The test substitutes actual “low” reported daily maximum 1-hour values from the same site at about the same time of the year (specifically, in the same three months of the calendar) for unknown hourly values that were not successfully measured. Note that the test is merely diagnostic in nature, intended to confirm that there is a very high likelihood that the original design value (the one with less than 75 percent data capture of hours by day and of days by quarter) reflects the true above-NAAQS-level status for that 3-year period; the result of this data substitution test (the “test design value”, as defined in section 3(c)(iii)(B)) is not considered the actual design value. For this test, substitution is permitted only if there are a minimum number of available daily data points from which to identify the low quarter-specific daily maximum 1-hour values, specifically if there are at least 200 days across the three matching quarters of the three years under consideration (which is about 75 percent of all possible daily values in those three quarters) for which 75 percent of the hours in the day have reported concentrations. Only days with at least 75 percent of the hours reported shall be considered in identifying the low value to be used for substitution.

(B) The substitution test is as follows: Data substitution will be performed in all quarter periods that have less than 75 percent data capture. Identify for each quarter (e.g., January-March) the lowest reported daily maximum 1-hour value for that quarter, looking across those three months of all three years under consideration. All daily maximum 1-hour values from all days with at least 75 percent capture in the quarter period shall be considered when identifying this lowest value. If after substituting the lowest reported daily maximum 1-hour value for a quarter for as much of the missing daily data in the matching deficient quarter(s) as is needed to make them 75 percent complete, the procedure in section 5 yields a recalculated 3-year 1-hour standard “test design value” above the level of the standard, then the 1-hour primary standard design value is deemed to have passed the diagnostic test and is valid, and the level of the standard is deemed to have been exceeded in that 3-year period. As noted in section 3(c)(i), in such a case, the 3-year design value based on the data actually reported, not the “test design value”, shall be used as the valid design value.

(d) A 1-hour primary standard design value based on data that do not meet the completeness criteria stated in 3(b) and also do not satisfy section 3(c), may also be considered valid with the approval of, or at the initiative of, the Administrator, who may consider factors such as monitoring site closures/moves, monitoring diligence, the consistency and levels of the valid concentration measurements that are available, and nearby concentrations in determining whether to use such data.

(e) The procedures for calculating the 1-hour primary standard design values are given in section 5 of this appendix.

(a) Hourly SO2 measurement data shall be reported to AQS in units of parts per billion (ppb), to at most one place after the decimal, with additional digits to the right being truncated with no further rounding.

(b) Daily maximum 1-hour values and therefore the annual 99th percentile of those daily values are not rounded.

(c) The 1-hour primary standard design value is calculated pursuant to section 5 and then rounded to the nearest whole number or 1 ppb (decimals 0.5 and greater are rounded up to the nearest whole number, and any decimal lower than 0.5 is rounded down to the nearest whole number).

(a)Procedure for identifying annual 99th percentile values. When the data for a particular ambient air quality monitoring site and year meet the data completeness requirements in section 3(b), or if one of the conditions of section 3(c) is met, or if the Administrator exercises the discretionary authority in section 3(d), identification of annual 99th percentile value is accomplished as follows.

(i) The annual 99th percentile value for a year is the higher of the two values resulting from the following two procedures.

(1)Procedure 1. For the year, determine the number of days with at least 75 percent of the hourly values reported.

(A) For the year, determine the number of days with at least 75 percent of the hourly values reported including State-flagged data affected by exceptional events which have been approved for exclusion by the Administrator.

(B) For the year, from only the days with at least 75 percent of the hourly values reported, select from each day the maximum hourly value excluding State-flagged data affected by exceptional events which have been approved for exclusion by the Administrator.

(C) Sort all these daily maximum hourly values from a particular site and year by descending value. (For example: (x[1], x[2], x[3], * * *, x[n]). In this case, x[1] is the largest number and x[n] is the smallest value.) The 99th percentile is determined from this sorted series of daily values which is ordered from the highest to the lowest number. Using the left column of Table 1, determine the appropriate range (i.e., row) for the annual number of days with valid data for year y (cny). The corresponding “n” value in the right column identifies the rank of the annual 99th percentile value in the descending sorted list of daily site values for year y. Thus, P0.99, y = the nth largest value.

(2)Procedure 2. For the year, determine the number of days with at least one hourly value reported.

(A) For the year, determine the number of days with at least one hourly value reported including State-flagged data affected by exceptional events which have been approved for exclusion by the Administrator.

(B) For the year, from all the days with at least one hourly value reported, select from each day the maximum hourly value excluding State-flagged data affected by exceptional events which have been approved for exclusion by the Administrator.

(C) Sort all these daily maximum values from a particular site and year by descending value. (For example: (x[1], x[2], x[3], * * *, x[n]). In this case, x[1] is the largest number and x[n] is the smallest value.) The 99th percentile is determined from this sorted series of daily values which is ordered from the highest to the lowest number. Using the left column of Table 1, determine the appropriate range (i.e., row) for the annual number of days with valid data for year y (cny). The corresponding “n” value in the right column identifies the rank of the annual 99th percentile value in the descending sorted list of daily site values for year y. Thus, P0.99,y = the nth largest value.

(b) The 1-hour primary standard design value for an ambient air quality monitoring site is mean of the three annual 99th percentile values, rounded according to the conventions in section 4.

Table 1

Annual number of days with valid data for year “y” (cny) | P0.99,y is the nth
maximum value of the year, where n is the listed number |
---|---|

1-100 | 1 |

101-200 | 2 |

201-300 | 3 |

301-366 | 4 |