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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: March 6, 2018
CONTACT: Jim Martin, (603) 271-3710

NHDES Releases Air Pollution Status Report

State of New Hampshire Air Quality 2017:
Air Pollution Trends, Effects and Regulations

Concord, NH – "Concentrations of the most common air pollutants in New Hampshire are down between 70% and 90% from 1990 levels," according to an annual State of New Hampshire Air Quality report released today by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES). The comprehensive report notes the significant improvements in air quality, ongoing challenges, and how the state plans to maintain the progress made to date.

NHDES Commissioner Robert Scott said; "This report documents that NHDES' approach to implementing cost effective air pollution emission reductions can improve air quality, protect public health in New Hampshire and can be consistent with economic growth within the state."  Air Resources Division Director Craig Wright added; "The air in New Hampshire is now cleaner than it has been in decades, but we still are challenged to maintain this progress, eliminate our remaining Air Quality Action Days and advance the state's investment in clean energy."

In 2017, the largest air pollution source categories in New Hampshire included emissions from mobile sources (highway vehicles, off-road vehicles, and small engine devices such as lawnmowers, leaf blowers and snowmobiles); residential heating with wood; electric generation; industrial processes; and emissions from gasoline, solvents and coatings. Air pollution concentrations tend to be highest near an emission source and dissipate with increasing distance from the source, but in some cases wind patterns and chemical reactions among pollutants can cause higher pollution concentrations farther away from emission sources.  

Report highlights:

  • Ambient air concentrations of the most common air pollutants in New Hampshire, referred to as the air pollutants of primary concern, are down between 70% and 90% from 1990 levels.
  • Despite lower air pollution levels, portions of the state still exceed federal health thresholds for ozone and approach those levels for winter fine particle pollution (wood smoke).
  • New Hampshire is in compliance with all federal outdoor air pollution exposure standards.
  • A recent modeling analysis estimates recent air pollution concentrations in New Hampshire caused over $3 billion per year in health-related costs, mostly from fine particle pollution (including wood smoke).
  • Deposition, including acid rain, mercury, and nitrogen has also improved significantly and environmental recovery is under way.
  • Indicators of climate change have been observed and measured throughout New Hampshire, including warmer average temperatures, increased precipitation, higher frequencies of severe weather, earlier "ice-out" on Lake Winnipesaukee, earlier maple sap flows and longer plant growing seasons.

The report and an executive edition are available on the NHDES website at https://www.des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/pip/publications/documents/r-ard-17-01.pdf  and https://www.des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/pip/publications/documents/r-ard-17-01-e.pdf

Daily air quality forecasts and current air pollution levels in New Hampshire are also provided by calling 1-800-935-SMOG or visiting www.airquality.nh.gov.




NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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