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Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Ambient Air Quality Surveillance

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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 the 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 will also incorporate the following ICRs which were approved under separate rulemaking actions:

ICR# 2358 (OMB# 2060-0638) Nitrogen Oxides Ambient MonitoringStart Printed Page 12053

ICR# 2370 (OMB# 2060-0642) Sulfur Dioxides Ambient Monitoring

ICR# 0940 (OMB# 2060-0084) PM2.5 Ambient Monitoring

This over-arching ICR is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2014. Before submitting the ICR to the OMB for review and approval, the EPA is soliciting comments on specific aspects of the proposed information collection as described below.


Comments must be submitted on or before April 22, 2013.


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.
  • Email:
  • 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. The 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 email. The Web site is an “anonymous access” system, which means the EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an email comment directly to the EPA without going through, your email 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, the 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 the EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, the 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 the EPA's public docket, visit the EPA Docket Center homepage at​epahome/​dockets.htm.

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Laurie Trinca, Air Quality Assessment Division, Environmental Protection Agency; telephone number (919) 541-0520; fax number: (919) 541-1903; email address:

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How can I access the docket and/or submit comments?

The 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 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 the EPA particularly interested in?

Pursuant to section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA, the 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, the EPA is requesting comments from very small businesses (those that employ less than 25) on examples of specific additional efforts that the 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 the 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.

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 the 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 the EPA as well as other supporting measurements.

Title: Ambient Air Quality Surveillance.

ICR numbers: EPA ICR No. 0940-27 OMB Control No. 2060-0084.

ICR status: This ICR is currently scheduled to expire on December 31, 2014. 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 the EPA's regulations in title 40 of the CFR, after appearing in the Federal Register when approved, are listed in 40 CFR part 9, and 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 ICR includes ambient air monitoring data and other Start Printed Page 12054supporting measurements reporting and recordkeeping activities associated with the 40 CFR 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 2011, and it covers the period of 2013-2015. The number of monitoring stations, sampling parameters, and frequency of data collection and submittal is expected to remain relatively stable for 2013-2015, with minor increases and decreases expected for several ambient air monitoring networks as air monitoring agencies review their monitoring networks.

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 PM10), 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 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 in accordance with 40 CFR 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 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 $194,490,047 (total capital, and labor and non-labor operation and maintenance) plus a total burden of 1,790,021 hours. The labor costs associated with the hours is $126,733,274. Included in the total are other costs of non-labor operations and maintenance of $13,090,237 and equipment and contract costs of $54,666,536. In addition to the costs at the state and local air pollution control agencies and tribal entities, there is a burden to the EPA of 192,769 hours and $11,014,728.

Burden Statement: The annual public reporting and recordkeeping burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 6,742 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: 1,790,021 hours.

Estimated total annual costs: $194,490,047. This includes an estimated labor burden cost of $126,733,274 and an estimated cost of $54,666,536 for equipment and contract costs.

Are there changes in the estimates from the last approval?

Yes. There is a decrease of 289,469 hours in the total estimated respondent burden compared with that identified in the ICR currently approved by OMB. This decrease reflects the EPA's consolidation of monitors into fewer sites, termination of unnecessary monitors, and more efficient procedures for measuring and reporting data.

What is the next step in the process for this ICR?

The EPA will consider the comments received and amend the ICR as appropriate. The final ICR package will then be submitted to the OMB for review and approval pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.12. At that time, the EPA will issue another Federal Register notice pursuant to 5 CFR 1320.5(a)(1)(iv) to announce the submission of the ICR to the OMB and the opportunity to submit additional comments to the 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: February 14, 2013.

Mary E. Henigin,

Acting Director, Air Quality Assessment Division.

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[FR Doc. 2013-04008 Filed 2-20-13; 8:45 am]