Air Quality

Tribal /EPA Approved Monitor Site located in Plummer Idaho
Field Burning on the Coeur D'Alene Reservation Tapered Element Oscillating Microbalance (TEOM) continuous PM2.5 Monitor
TEOM & Smoke Management Portable PM 2.5 Continuous Sampler E-BAM Portable PM 2.5 Continuous Sampler

Mission Statement

The Coeur d'Alene Tribe Air Quality Program is Dedicated to Protecting, Preserving, and Enhancing the Culture and Environmental Resources of our Tribal Lands.

Federal Air Rules for Reservations:


Lester Higgins CDA Tribe Air Quality
208.686.8101   fax:   208.686.8600

Summary of Air Quality Program 2004-2013

The Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe has sovereign authority on a reservation covering 345,000 acres of mountains, lakes, timber and farmland, spanning the western edge of the northern Rocky Mountains and the abundant Palouse country located in the panhandle of northern Idaho. Kootenai and Benewah Counties are located within the exterior boundaries of the tribal reservation and there are four main populated areas (Plummer, Worley, DeSmet, and St. Maries). There are a few unique local air quality concerns. One, which affects all areas but is seasonal, is the practice of agricultural burning and forestry prescribed (or slash) burning. Another is the emission from a co-generation plant located in Plummer and a lumber mill located in St. Maries. Some minor concerns are residential related, such as open burning and woodstove usage.

The Clean Air Act (CAA) and its amendments provide the framework for protecting air quality. It requires EPA to set national air quality standards for certain pollutants and it requires EPA to develop programs to address specific air quality problems. The CAA also establishes EPA’s enforcement authority and provides for air quality research. National air quality standards ensure that all Americans have the same basic health and environmental protections. The EPA established National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for six common air pollutants. These pollutants are carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), lead (Pb), particulate matter (PM), and ozone (O3). They are also referred to as criteria pollutants. Criteria pollutants can injure health, harm the environment, and cause property damage. Most pollutants regulated by the NAAQS have two limits, the primary standard and the secondary standard. Diverse factors can affect air quality on reservations and sources of air pollutants can vary. Some examples of sources are industrial boilers, transportation sources, fugitive dust, and burning including agricultural and forestry.

An air quality goal of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe is to maintain an air quality monitoring network. The Tribe’s ambient air quality monitoring network is located in an area where elevated pollutant concentrations are suspected, or known and public awareness is crucial for sensitive groups. Meteorological stations are often part of air quality monitoring networks and this is the case with the Tribe’s network. In 2003, the Coeur d’Alene Tribal Air Quality Program constructed a Campbell Scientific Model UT30 10 meter meteorological station for collecting weather data. The installation of two particulate matter (PM2.5) monitors – one continuous measurement method (TEOM) and one single stage filter-based unit is co-located at the site. After operating the filter-based monitor for a three year period, the data collected compared equally with the TEOM. Therefore, we were able to take that monitor off line in 2007 and rely on TEOM data only for our network. The program strives to protect and sustain air quality and to use any information acquired by the monitoring site to locate and address any air pollution sources that contribute to poor air quality on the reservation. The meteorological station and the PM2.5 monitors also aid the Tribal Smoke Management Program during the agricultural burning season. Ways to improve all programs involved with this activity is on-going and questions and comments from the public have contributed to the development of our program in the past as well as future needs.

The Coeur d’Alene Tribal Air Quality Program operates under an EPA approved Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) since January 28, 2004. The QAPP serves as a reference document for implementing the QA program and provides detailed operational procedures for measurement processes used by the tribe. Acceptable quality assurance procedures are necessary to provide data that meets the basic objectives and minimizes the loss of data. Data obtained are submitted to the EPA’s Aerometric Information Retrieval System-Air Quality System (AIRS-AQS). This database provides widespread access to accurate information. The Coeur d’Alene Tribal Air Quality Program has been submitting data to this database since August 24, 2004.

The Tribal Smoke Management Program relies on the expertise of the Tribal Air Quality Program regarding the practice of agricultural burning, which is commonplace within the boundaries of the reservation. It is the responsibility of the Tribal Air Quality Program to observe the air quality surrounding the burn decision and notify the Tribal Smoke Management Program if the burn decision is resulting in poor ventilation and less than desired air quality. During the burn season, the Tribal Air Quality Program will monitor the concentrations recorded at the Plummer data site, as well as levels recorded at surrounding IDEQ sites. If these levels become elevated, a burn ban will be issued. Besides the monitoring data recorded at the Plummer site, the Tribal Air Quality Program provides technical assistance with a Met One Instrument (E-BAM) portable continuous fine particle monitor and maintains access to the data logged.

During the FY2005 grant period, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe applied for a Partial Delegation of Administrative Authority with EPA. This was granted by EPA on August 26, 2008, this will allowing the Tribe to administer 40 CFR 49.9930 (b) Rule for limiting visible emissions, 40 CFR 49.9930 (g) General rule for open burning, and 40 CFR 49.9930 (i) Rule for air pollution episodes of the FARR rules on the reservation. This will not delegate any enforcement authority to the Tribe, as that will remain with EPA. This process will provide the Tribe with experience assisting EPA in implementing air quality regulations. And also provide valuable insight to the process and potential of developing its own regulatory program.

The CAA authorizes EPA “to treat Indian tribes in the same manner as states” and accordingly, the EPA issued the Tribal Authority Rule (TAR). The TAR outlines the eligibility criteria tribes must meet in order to be treated in the same manner as a state and defines the process by which EPA will approve tribal CAA programs. The Coeur d’Alene Tribal Air Quality Program was granted TAS by EPA on February 27, 2007 and met all eligibility criteria in the process of submitting a TAS or “treatment as state” application.

The Tribal Air Quality Program would like to continue to assist EPA Region 10 in the implementation of Federal Air Rules for Indian Reservations (FARR) on the Coeur d’Alene Tribal reservation. Currently, the Air Quality Manager is named as the Primary Liaison and has become a credential EPA inspector for all air related issues on the Reservation. Please contact our office with any questions or concerns
Coeur d'Alene Tribe HQ | p. 208.686.1800 | 850 A. Street, Plummer ID 83851