West Louisville Air Toxics Study

Between April 2000 and December 2005, the APCD, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Kentucky Division for Air Quality, and the University of Louisville worked with the West Jefferson County Community Task Force to conduct an air monitoring study of a substantial number of toxic air pollutants at separate locations in the west Louisville. 

Referred to as the West Louisville Air Toxics Study (WLATS), the study was in response to other studies and longstanding resident concerns regarding emissions from Rubbertown, an industrial complex in west Louisville. The goal of the study was to determine if residents of the area were being exposed to toxic air pollutants that may pose unacceptable risks to human health. There were 12 monitoring sites in Study 1 and 6 monitoring sites in Study 2 that were a subset of the first study.

Monitoring took place between April 2000 and April 2001 (Study 1), and November 2001 and December 2005 (Study 2). There were 12 monitoring sites in Study 1 and 6 monitoring sites in Study 2 that were a subset of the first study.

The West Louisville Air Toxics Study Risk Management Plan, Part 1: Process and Framework was issued in April 2003. The Risk Management Plan established the process to identify the sources of the chemicals that were above target risk levels, the options that were to be evaluated to lower their ambient concentrations of those chemicals, and the elements of a risk communication plan and process to best inform the community on relevant issues and activities.

Sciences International, Inc. conducted a risk assessment of the air monitoring data collected in the study. The West Louisville Air Toxics Risk Assessment Report (2003), completed in October 2003, details the methods and findings of Study 1. West Louisville Air Toxics Risk Assessment Report (2006) details the methods and findings of Study 2.

The assessment reports found that Louisville's air had unacceptably high levels of toxic air pollutants. Following the release of the report, the APCD began the process of developing a comprehensive regulatory package to address Louisville's toxic air pollution.

In September 2004, the APCD proposed the Strategic Toxic Air Reduction (STAR) Program for public review and comment. On June 21, 2005, the STAR Program was officially implemented through a set of regulations adopted by the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control Board. The STAR Program provides a framework for assessing and addressing toxic air pollution in Louisville Metro, referred to in the regulations as toxic air contaminants (TACs). 

Since the program's inception, emissions of Category 1 TACs (monitored during WLATS at a concentration representative of a cancer risk greater than 1 in one million or a non-cancer Hazard Quotient (HQ) greater than 1.0.) have decreased by about 96%. Emissions of all categories of TACS have dropped almost 80%. 

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