What is LRAPA?

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The Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA) is a local government agency that monitors and regulates air quality in Lane County, Oregon. LRAPA is able to achieve this through its seven air monitoring stations throughout the county. LRAPA was established in 1968 with the purpose of protecting public health, community well-being, and the environment. For the past 50 years, LRAPA has partnered with the cities, residents, and other public entities of Lane County to do just that. This local engagement make LRAPA unique, as the rest of the state's monitoring is conducted through the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). By staying local, LRAPA ensures that important decisions concerning air quality are made by people who live in Lane County. 
what does lrapa do

LRAPA maintains and improves air quality through various programs. Some of the agency's programs include:

outdoor burning
permitting
asbestos abatment
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Outdoor Burning: LRAPA monitors residential outdoor burning in Lane County. Residential outdoor burning is the burning of woody yard debris that was generated on the residential property. Residential outdoor burning is limited to the spring and fall burning seasons, which are determined by the Lane County Fire Defense Board. Outdoor burning regulations differ throughout the county, with some cities banning it all together. To find out the outdoor burning rules concerning your property, please call the outdoor burning advisory line at (541) 997-1757.



Permitting: LRAPA issues permits to many industries and businesses in Lane County, including all gas stations. LRAPA issues Air Contamination Discharge Permits (ACDPs) and Title V Permits. ACDPs are issued to all industries require by LRAPA rules to obtain a permit, while Title V Permits are issued to "major source" industries. An industrial source is classified as a major source if their emissions exceed a set criteria.  




Asbestos Abatement: LRAPA regulates the removal of asbestos during the demolition and renovation of all structures, buildings, and residential properties in Lane County. Asbestos is a naturally occurring material that is frequently used in construction. When asbestos is damaged or disturbed, like it is during demolitions or renovation, the fibers are released into the air and pose a health risk. Due to the risk posed, all buildings constructed after 2004 are required to complete an asbestos survey before any demolition or renovation can take place. 



Home Wood Heating: LRAPA's Home Wood Heating program helps minimize wood smoke, Lane County's main pollutant in the wintertime. Home Wood Heating season runs from October 1st through May 31st, during which a mandatory burning advisory is posted daily. The daily advisory indicates the quality of the air and tell residents if burning is allowed, discouraged, or if a smoke ban is issued for that day. Economic exemptions for smoke ban days are available for those in need.
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LRAPA has seven air monitoring stations throughout Lane County, three of which are in Eugene. The air monitoring stations collect air samples and report the data from their respective locations. Information from these stations is used to assess levels of air pollution, identify air quality trends, and support the implementation of air pollution prevention strategies. You can view LRAPA's data, which is updated hourly, by clicking here.

Some of the measurements that the air monitoring stations record include:

Particulate Matter 2.5: Particulate Matter 2.5, also called PM 2.5, are extremely fine particles. One PM 2.5 particle is 30 times smaller than the diameter of a single human hair. These tiny particles are small enough to enter the bloodstream, which can cause serious health problems like heart and lung disease, strokes, and even premature death. The majority of particulate matter comes from wood smoke, making it a problem in the winter when many people in Lane County burn wood.

Particulate Matter 10: Particulate Matter 10, also called PM 10, is slightly bigger than PM 2.5 but still significantly smaller than a single hair Similar to PM 2.5, PM 10 is small enough to be inhaled by humans. If inhaled, the particles can become lodged in the lungs, where they can lead to irritation, decreased lung function, and lung disease. 

Ozone: Ozone is a colorless gas that occurs when two pollutants (VOCs and NOx) react in sunlight. These pollutants come from gas-powered vehicles, industries, power plants, and aerosols. Because ozone is formed in sunlight, it is primarily a summer-time problem. Ozone can be good or bad depending on where it is; when ozone is high up in the stratosphere, it protects the Earth from the sun's harmful UV rays. However, ground-level ozone is harmful for humans to breathe. For more information on ozone, please click here.

Carbon Monoxide: Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odor-less gas that is released when something is burned. CO comes from cars, trucks, and other machinery that burns fossil fuels. Breathing in large quantities of CO can reduce the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream.

Air Toxics: While PM 2.5, PM 10, Ozone, and Carbon Monoxide are consider "criteria pollutants", Air Toxics are a different category of air pollution. Air Toxics, or Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs), are pollutants that have been known or suspected to cause serious health risks. These include benzene, which is found in gasoline; perchloroethylene, which is emitted from some dry cleaning facilities; methylene chloride, which is used as a solvent and paint stripper by a number of industries. 

Temperature and Humidity: Temperature, humidity, and air pressure all affect how long air pollution hangs around and how severe it is.

 For more information on which monitor stations measure what metrics, please click here.

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LRAPA is made up of 15 staff members, the agency director, the Board of Directors, and the Citizen Advisory Committee.

The Board of Directors is composed of nine members who are appointed by their respective city councils and the Lane County Board of Commissioners. Current membership includes four representatives from the City of Eugene, one from Lane County, one from the City of Springfield, one from either the City of Cottage Grove or City of Oakridge, and two at-large members, one of which is a resident of an area of the county outside the city limits of any of the partner cities and the other a resident of Springfield. The Board appoints the Director of the Agency, who has the authority to hire and direct LRAPA staff. LRAPA's current Director is Merlyn Hough, a professional environmental and civil engineer, with B.S. and M.S. degrees from Oregon State University and the University of Portland. Mr. Hough, the Board, and other LRAPA staff are advised on rules and policies by the Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC). The CAC is made up of residents of Lane County that represent specific areas of interest, including agriculture, fire suppression, industry, public health, and community planning.