This report addresses two issues: (1) Are required Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air monitoring networks complete and are older monitors being identified and replaced? (2) How effective are EPA quality control measures in ensuring that national, state, and local air monitoring networks produce reliable data? Findings in brief are as follows: Although EPA regulations required EPA to have a national air monitoring network in place no later than July 1982, the network is still incomplete. According to EPA, insufficient funds at the federal, state, and local levels has been a major factor precluding the network from being completed. Because the population determines the required number of monitors, additional monitors are expected to be required after the 1990 census. Additionally, many monitors are old and need replacing. EPA estimates that 20% of the monitors need replacing immediately and about 50% will need replacing within 5 years. Additional funds are needed to complete the monitoring network and will continue to be needed to purchase additional monitors and replace aging equipment. While EPA and most states have had difficulties in funding the purchase of needed monitors, alternative funding sources, such as permit fees, are available and are being used by some state and local agencies. EPA quality control measures, such as bi-annual reviews of state and local monitoring programs, have not met their objective of assuring that national, state, and local air monitoring networks provide accurate and reliable data. In some cases quality controls do not meet EPA criteria for frequency or thoroughness. For example, EPA regions are not reviewing some state monitoring programs every 2 years as required, and site visits by EPA have not always identified improperly sited monitors. Further, EPA's testing of the accuracy of state and local air monitors is questionable since the agencies are allowed to select specific monitors to be tested.

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Tables;
  • Pagination: 50 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00493687
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO/RCED-90-15
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 30 1990 12:00AM