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Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Ambient Air Quality Surveillance, EPA ICR Number 0940-18, OMB Control Number 2060-0084

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).




In compliance with the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), this document announces that EPA is planning to submit a request to renew an existing approved Information Collection Request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This ICR is scheduled to expire on June 30, 2006. Before submitting the ICR to OMB for review and approval, EPA is soliciting comments on specific aspects of the proposed information collection as described below.


Comments must be submitted on or before February 3, 2006.


Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID number OAR-2002-0091, by one of the following methods:

  • Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
  • E-mail:
  • Fax: (202) 566-1741
  • Mail: Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), Air and Radiation Docket, Mail Code 6102T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20460.

Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2002-0091. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change and may be made available online at, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through or e-mail. The Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an e-mail comment directly to EPA without going through your e-mail address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses. For additional information about EPA's public docket visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at​epahome/​dockets.htm.

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David Lutz, Emissions, Monitoring and Analysis Division (D243-02), Environmental Protection Agency; telephone number (919) 541-5476; fax number: 919-541-1903; e-mail address:

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How Can I Access the Docket and/or Submit Comments?

EPA has established a public docket for this ICR under Docket ID No. EPA-OAR-2002-0091, which is available for online viewing at, or in person viewing at the Air and Radiation Docket in the EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), EPA West, Room B102, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC. The EPA/DC Public Reading Room is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number for the Reading Room is 202-566-1744, and the telephone number for the Air and Radiation Docket is (202) 566-1742.

Use to obtain a copy of the draft collection of information, submit or view public comments, access the index listing of the contents of the docket, and to access those documents in the public docket that are available electronically. Once in the system, select “search,” then key in the docket ID number identified in this document.

What Information Is EPA Particularly Interested in?

Pursuant to section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA, EPA specifically solicits comments and information to enable it to:

(i) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

(ii) Evaluate the accuracy of the Agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

(iii) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

(iv) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. In particular, EPA is requesting comments from very small businesses (those that employ less than 25) on examples of specific additional efforts that EPA could make to reduce the paperwork burden for very small businesses affected by this collection.

What Should I Consider When I Prepare My Comments for EPA?

You may find the following suggestions helpful for preparing your comments:

1. Explain your views as clearly as possible and provide specific examples.

2. Describe any assumptions that you used.

3. Provide copies of any technical information and/or data you used that support your views.

4. If you estimate potential burden or costs, explain how you arrived at the estimate that you provide. Start Printed Page 334

5. Offer alternative ways to improve the collection activity.

6. Make sure to submit your comments by the deadline identified under DATES.

7. To ensure proper receipt by EPA, be sure to identify the docket ID number assigned to this action in the subject line on the first page of your response. You may also provide the name, date, and Federal Register citation.

What Information Collection Activity or ICR Does This Apply to?

Affected entities: Entities potentially affected by this action are those State, local air pollution control agencies, and tribal entities which collect and report ambient air quality data for the criteria pollutants to EPA as well as other supporting measurements.

Title: Ambient Air Quality Surveillance.

ICR numbers: EPA ICR No. 0941-18, OMB Control No. 2060-0084.

ICR status: This ICR is currently scheduled to expire on June 30, 2006. An Agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information, unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. The OMB control numbers for EPA's regulations in title 40 of the CFR, after appearing in the Federal Register when approved, are listed in 40 CFR part 9, are displayed either by publication in the Federal Register or by other appropriate means, such as on the related collection instrument or form, if applicable. The display of OMB control numbers in certain EPA regulations is consolidated in 40 CFR part 9.

Abstract: This Information Collection Request (ICR) includes ambient air monitoring data and other supporting measurements reporting and recordkeeping activities associated with the 40 CFR part 58 Ambient Air Quality Surveillance rule. These data and information are collected by various State and local air quality management agencies and reported to the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards within the Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. EPA.

This ICR reflects revisions of the previous ICR update of 2002, and it covers the period of 2007-2009. The number of monitoring stations, sampling parameters and frequency of data collection and submittal is expected to remain stable for 2007-2009.

The data collected through this information collection consist of ambient air concentration measurements for the seven air pollutants with National Ambient Air Quality Standards (i.e., ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, lead, carbon monoxide, PM2.5 and PM-10), ozone precursors, meteorological variables at a select number of sites and other supporting measurements. Accompanying the pollutant concentration data are quality assurance/quality control data and air monitoring network design information.

The U.S. EPA and others (e.g., State and local air quality management agencies, tribal entities, environmental groups, academic institutions, industrial groups) use the ambient air quality data for many purposes. Some of the more prominent uses include informing the public and other interested parties of an area's air quality, judging an area's (e.g., county, city, neighborhood) air quality in comparison with the established health or welfare standards (including both national and local standards), evaluating an air quality management agency's progress in achieving or maintaining air pollutant levels below the national and local standards, developing and revising State Implementation Plans (SIPs) in accordance with 40 CFR part 51, evaluating air pollutant control strategies, developing or revising national control policies, providing data for air quality model development and validation, supporting enforcement actions, documenting episodes and initiating episode controls, air quality trends assessment, and air pollution research.

The State and local agencies and tribal entities with responsibility for reporting ambient air quality data and information as requested in this ICR submit these data electronically to the U.S. EPA's Air Quality System (AQS) database. Quality assurance/quality control records and monitoring network documentation are also maintained by each State and local agency, in AQS electronic format where possible.

Although the State and local air pollution control agencies and tribal entities are responsible for the operation of the air monitoring networks, the EPA funds a portion of the total costs through federal grants. These grants generally require an appropriate level of contribution, or “match,” from the State/local agencies or tribal entities. The costs shown in this renewal are the total costs incurred for the monitoring program regardless of the source of the funding. This practice of using the total cost is consistent with prior ICR submittals and renewals.

This Information Collection is estimated to involve 168 respondents for a total cost of approximately $173,153,415 (total capital, and labor and non-labor operation and maintenance) plus a total burden of 2,105,714 hours. The labor costs associated with the hours is $111,019,923. Included in the total are other costs of non-labor operations and maintenance of $10,936,320 and equipment and contract costs of $51,197,172. In addition to the costs at the State and local air pollution control agencies and tribal entities, there is a burden to EPA of 135,793 hours and $11,695,453.

Burden Statement: The annual public reporting and recordkeeping burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 12,534 hours per respondent. Burden means the total time, effort, or financial resources expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, or disclose or provide information to or for a Federal agency. This includes the time needed to review instructions; develop, acquire, install, and utilize technology and systems for the purposes of collecting, validating, and verifying information, processing and maintaining information, and disclosing and providing information; adjust the existing ways to comply with any previously applicable instructions and requirements which have subsequently changed; train personnel to be able to respond to a collection of information; search data sources; complete and review the collection of information; and transmit or otherwise disclose the information.

The ICR provides a detailed explanation of the Agency's estimate, which is only briefly summarized here:

Estimated total number of potential respondents: 168.

Frequency of response: Data submissions are required quarterly, but may occur more frequently.

Estimated total annual burden hours: 2,105,714 hours.

Estimated total annual costs: $173,153,415. This includes an estimated labor burden cost of $111,019,923 and an estimated cost of $51,197,172 for equipment and contract costs.

Are There Changes in the Estimates From the Last Approval?

There is a decrease of 298,892 hours in the total estimated respondent burden compared with that identified in the ICR currently approved by OMB. This decrease reflects EPA's consolidation of monitors into fewer sites, termination of unnecessary monitors, and more efficient procedures for measuring and reporting data. Start Printed Page 335

What Is the Next Step in the Process for This ICR?

EPA will consider the comments received and amend the ICR as appropriate. The final ICR package will then be submitted to OMB for review and approval pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.12. At that time, EPA will issue another Federal Register notice pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.5(a)(1)(iv) to announce the submission of the ICR to OMB and the opportunity to submit additional comments to OMB. If you have any questions about this ICR or the approval process, please contact the technical person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

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Dated: December 20, 2005.

William Lamson,

Acting Director, Emissions Monitoring and Analysis Division.

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[FR Doc. E5-8269 Filed 1-3-06; 8:45 am]