|The primary goal of the Air Quality Program is to keep air pollution at low levels
and maintain good air quality in Nebraska by developing and enforcing air quality laws and regulations.
The Nebraska air regulations are primarily based on
regulations developed by the
Environmental Protection Agency
) to address
the Clean Air Act
requirements. The Clean Air Act gives the EPA authority to
ambient air quality standards
Ambient air is defined as the air humans have access to outdoors and
doesn't include air on private property.
The pollutants covered by NAAQS are termed criteria pollutants because their standards are
based on specific criteria on how each pollutant effects on our health and environment. Currently
there are NAAQS for particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter (PM10),
particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide (NOx),
carbon monoxide (CO), ozone, and lead.
The EPA also has the authority to regulate toxic or
hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) not covered by NAAQS. EPA has
established national emission standards for hazardous
air pollutants. These standards establish emission
limits or control technology requirements for specific
source categories or industries.
Before Nebraska can implement and enforce EPA’s regulations,
air quality requirements must be developed for the state.
Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy's (NDEE)
authority to develop regulations comes from the
Clean Air Act and the Nebraska Environmental Protection
Act (NEPA). Nebraska may develop and enforce rules that
are more stringent than federal laws and regulations, but
cannot make rules that are less stringent. Nebraska air
quality regulations are found in Title 129 of the
Nebraska Administrative Code.
The Air Quality Program’s goal is to maintain the
ambient air quality standards, to protect the quality of
the air in Nebraksa and to implement air quality rules and
regulations. By fulfilling these objectives, NDEE is confident
that public health and the environment will be adequately protected.
The Air Quality Program fulfills these objectives
through implementing various programs. NDEE operates an
extensive ambient air monitoring program to measure the
ambient air quality and determine if we are achieving
and maintaining the NAAQS.
The Legal Services Division along with the Air Quality Program
develops and proposes new and revised regulations to the Environmental
Quality Council (EQC). Title 129 is updated regularly to keep up
with ever changing federal regulations. The current version of Title 129
is available on the agency's Rules and Regulations Page. Those permitted under the former version of Title 129 may want to
understand where the previous Title references in their permits can
now be found in the current version of Title 129. As such, a
crosswalk and a Powerpoint describing revisions and the superseded
version of Title 129 (to be used for reference purposes) are available
on the Title 129 - Nebraska Air Quality Regulations Update and Crosswalk webpage.
Air quality permits are the primary tool we use to
implement the air quality regulations. Before businesses
can construct a unit that emits regulated pollutants, they
need to determine if the potential emissions from that
unit will exceed the permitting thresholds in the Nebraska air
quality regulations. If they do, then they’ll need a
construction permit prior to constructing the unit.
NDEE also issues operating permits based on a source’s
level of emissions. An operating permit will incorporate
all of a source’s requirements into one permit,
including all construction permit limitations and
federal regulations. Operating permits usually require
additional monitoring, emissions testing, reporting, and
The Compliance and Inspection Division's Air Compliance
Section ensure compliance with air permits and regulations
by conducting inspections, providing assistance and outreach,
responding to complaints, gathering actual emissions data
annually, and, when necessary, carrying out enforcement actions.
Headquarters and Regional field offices
NDEE is headquartered in Lincoln and has three regional
field offices. Our field offices provide better public
access to NDEE, reduce response time to citizen complaints,
and allow the agency to have a better understanding of local issues.
Our field office staff conduct compliance inspections,
complaint investigations, sampling, monitoring, and
outreach activities for almost all of our regulatory
The Compliance and Inspection Division's Air Compliance Section
have staff in the Norfolk and North Platte areas. They
participate in the same training, meetings, and other
compliance program activities as the Lincoln-based Air
Three local agencies -- the Lincoln/Lancaster County
Health Department, the Omaha Air Quality Control, and
the Douglas County Health Department, have accepted
through contract with the NDEE, responsibility for
various facets of the program. These responsibilities
include air quality monitoring, planning, permitting and
enforcement within their areas of jurisdiction.
If you would like more information about the local air
programs, you can visit their websites or contact them
The Lancaster County Health Department’s website *
and the phone number is (402) 441-8040. The City of
and their air program’s phone number is (402) 444-6015.
For information about the Douglas county ambient air
monitoring, you can contact them at (402) 444-6162.