The mission of the Akron Regional Air Quality Management District (ARAQMD) is to protect the public from the adverse health impacts of air pollutants and to educate the public about air quality issues.
ARAQMD began as a division of the Akron Health Department on January 1, 1965. In January 1971, the operation of the department became county-wide after signing an agreement with the Summit County General Health District. This county-wide monitoring encompassed the counties of Summit, Medina, and Portage. Later in 1971, ARAQMD became a local affiliate of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) charged with enforcement of the air pollution control regulations for the state of Ohio.
ARAQMD has three primary air quality focal points: engineering, enforcement, and monitoring. The engineering section regulates industrial and commercial air pollution sources for compliance with applicable federal, state, and local regulations governing air emissions. It is this sectors responsibility to grant pollution permits related to installation and operations. Although permitting is a large focus of this sector it is also the duty of the engineering sector to inspect air pollution sources and facilities to evaluate and observe compliance or conduct stack testing of significant air pollution sources.
The enforcement aspect of ARAQMD is charged with responding to complaints of odor, dust, and open burning. It is also our responsibility to regulate gas dispensing facilities (GDFs) to ensure compliance with air quality standards. Routine patrols of Summit, Medina, and Portage counties are undertaken to assure both public and private sector air quality compliance. Any violation obtained via patrol or contact is documented for possible local and/or state enforcement.
Monitoring of air quality is another primary focus at ARAQMD. Our monitoring sector is charged with collecting continuous and intermittent air quality results through the use of various monitoring instruments. Air Quality is based off of the measurement of the ambient air concentrations for four U.S. EPA criteria pollutants: carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, and fine particulate matter (PM2.5). With these measurements an Air Quality Index (AQI) is created twice daily at 8am and 4pm. It is the responsibility of the monitoring sector to analyze not only ambient air quality related to AQI but also in relation to pollen counts. Another type of monitoring that occurs relates to select cases of indoor air quality (IAQ).Types of IAQ concerns relate to presence of mold, dust, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. House calls are rare and testing is done by individuals not ARAQMD. Before a representative from ARAQMD will follow up a complaint in the private sector it is first necessary to receive it from a chain of command, i.e. if there is mold in a school and a teacher is concerned, before ARAQMD will arrive to assess the situation a principal or higher staff needs to request it.