Environmental Health & Safety Air Quality (Outdoor Emissions)

The EH&S Outdoor Air Quality Program monitors WSU’s compliance with the laws and regulations as promulgated in the Federal Clean Air Act.  EH&S works with the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) and Environmental Protection Agency to help ensure that all applicable federal, state and local regulations regarding stationary air emission sources are met on WSU property.

Air Operating Permit

WSU has an Air Operating Permit issued by the WA Department of Ecology that regulates stationary air emissions sources on the WSU Pullman campus.  EH&S oversees the permit, and ensures that the University is in compliance with recordkeeping, reporting, training, emission testing and other compliance issues.  The stationary air emission sources include the Grimes Way and College Ave Steam Plants, Medical Waste Incinerator, Feed Plant, Seed Plant, Compost Facility, Recycling Center, four large emergency generators, and fugitive dusts generated during construction and other activities.  To learn more go to WSU’s Air Operating Permit.

Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change

Greenhouse gases contribute to the warming of Earth’s atmosphere by reflecting radiation (heat) from the Earth’s surface back to the Earth’s surface.  In 2007 WSU pledged to work towards net climate neutrality by reducing greenhouse gas emissions with President Elson Floyd signing the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment.
Greenhouse Gas Effect Diagram

Greenhouse gases are comprised of:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Methane
  • Nitrous oxide
  • Hydrofluorocarbons
  • Perfluorocarbons
  • Sulfur hexafluoride

To learn more go to Greenhouse Gases.

Refrigerant Management and Ozone Depletion

Refrigerants are chemical substances used in equipment such as refrigerators, freezers, air conditioning units, etc. that lower temperatures when they undergo a change in phase (for example from a liquid to a gas).  When released to the atmosphere many refrigerants can damage the ozone layer.  The ozone layer protects the earth’s surface from damaging UV light radiation from the sun.

At WSU Pullman EH&S oversee the Refrigerant Management program by helping to ensure that WSU departments maintain their refrigerant containing equipment properly, fix leaks in a timely manner, and recaptures and recycles refrigerants from equipment as required.

Some examples of refrigerants are:

  • Ammonia
  • Sulfur dioxide
  • CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons)
  • HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons)
  • HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons)
  • Butane (R–600)

To learn more go to Refrigerant Management and Ozone Depletion.

Wildfire Smoke

Smoke from wildfires and other sources is a mixture of gases and fine particulates that can be harmful to your health. For more information on what you can do to protect yourself go to Wildfire Smoke.

Complaints, Questions or Concerns

If you have a complaint, question or concern about outdoor air quality please contact EH&S at 509-335-3041.

Washington State University