El Paso County Public Health has reinstated its Air Quality Control program, and will now issue open burn and construction activity permits and respond to air quality complaints from residents of El Paso County. This includes the cities and towns of Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Calhan, Fountain, Green Mountain Falls, Monument, Palmer Lake and Ramah. The program was reinstated July 1.
The regulation of air quality protects public health by reducing potentially harmful particulate emissions into the outdoor air.
The reinstatement was approved by the El Paso County Board of Health on May 14. El Paso County Public Health met with stakeholders in March to discuss the regulations and get feedback. Members of that group included commercial contractors, builders, land developers, as well as local city and county government representatives.
The Air Quality Control inspection program was suspended in 2008. Complaints were then handled by state inspectors with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). In 2008, Public Health investigated 42 complaints. The program will now be funded through permit fees and a contract with the CDPHE, which provides authority and funding to enforce state air quality regulations.
The program will have three major components:
1. Construction Activity Permits: Construction activities on land between 1 and 25 acres will be required to submit a dust control plan and apply for a six-month permit. (State regulations require activities greater than 25 acres to make applications with CDPHE.) This requirement became effective May 15. Construction activity permit fees are $209 per project for a maximum of six months.
2. Open Burning Permits: Except for most fire department training fires, prescribed burns, non-commercial cooking fires, recreational fires, and fires from emergency flares and metal-working, any person who intends to burn any flammable material is required to obtain an open burning permit. Applications for permits will be available at El Paso County Public Health and online for free at www.elpasocountyhealth.org. Applicants will be required to notify their local fire control office prior to the burn.
3. Respond to Air Quality Complaints: El Paso County Public Health will be responsible for addressing smoke, dust and odor complaints. The department will also conduct field surveillance as requested by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Air Pollution Control Division. To make a local complaint, call (719) 578-3199 or email email@example.com. For more information, visit www.elpasocountyhealth.org.