The mission of the Akron Regional Air Quality Management District (ARAQMD) is to protect the public from the adverse health impacts of air pollutants and to educate the public about air quality issues.
ARAQMD began as a division of the Akron Health Department (AHD) on January 1, 1965. In 1971, we became a multi-jurisdictional agency, by signing agreements with all the local health departments in Summit, Medina and Portage Counties. Towards the end of 1971, ARAQMD became a local affiliate of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA), charged with enforcing the state air pollution rules and regulations. ARAQMD continued as a part of the AHD until the city health department merged with Summit County Public Health (SCPH) on January 1, 2011. ARAQMD now operates as a service of Summit County Public Health enforcing OEPA’s rules and regulations in the tri-county region. We work toward protecting public health and the environment from hazards related to air pollution.
ARAQMD has three primary strategies that work together towards our goal of protecting public health and the environment: engineering, enforcement, and monitoring.
The engineering staff regulates industrial and commercial air pollution sources by coordinating with the facilities to draft permit language which describes what types of pollution reducing technology they must use and necessary efficiency of that technology. The staff members inspect air pollution sources to evaluate the compliance of the facility. By drafting good permits plus documenting and pursuing violations if they occur, we can ensure that the pollutants being emitted by industry are limited and are kept below levels that harm public health and the environment, while making sure our local industry can operate and thrive.
The enforcement staff of ARAQMD responds to complaints of odors, dust, asbestos and open burning activities. Any violations identified are documented and, if deemed significant enough, are forwarded to Ohio EPA for enforcement. As we identify those who are breaking Ohio’s air pollution laws, and work with OEPA to help offenders return to compliance, we are helping to protect public health and the environment.
Monitoring of air quality is the third major responsibility of ARAQMD. Our monitoring staff collects air pollutant levels across the three counties to determine how our air quality measures up to the NAAQS. We currently monitor for three of the six criteria air pollutants: ozone, sulfur dioxide and fine particulate matter. With these measurements, we generate an Air Quality Index (AQI) to help the public understand the quality of the air at that time. During the pollen season (March - September), we sample pollen and report that number along with the AQI on the web, at our information line (330-375-2545) and on our Facebook page.