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Air Quality

Air Pollutants and Monitoring

Sources of Air Pollution

Air pollution can take many forms, all of which can cause harm to our health and our environment. The Bureau of Air Quality is tasked with monitoring air pollution in South Carolina, and part of that process involves identifying the sources of pollution in the air we breathe.

About 75 percent of air pollution originates from human-made (or anthropogenic) sources, and their emissions are controlled through the Clean Air Act and individual state laws and regulations. The remaining 25 percent comes from natural sources.

To assist in organizing air pollution controls and their reductions, air pollutants are organized into three 'source' categories; Mobile, Nonpoint, and Point. Learn more about the three recognized sources of air pollution by using the links below.

Nonpoint Sources

Nonpoint Sources include small pollution sources like dry cleaners, gas stations, and auto body paint shops. They also include sources like heating and cooling units, fire places, paints and coatings in buildings, and even your neighborhood's barbecue grills. Waste disposal in the form of open burning, landfills, and wastewater treatment are significant area sources. There are few nonpoint source specific regulations other than those covering hazardous air pollutant sources.

Though emissions from individual nonpoint sources are relatively small, collectively their emissions can be of concern - particularly where large numbers of sources are located in heavily populated areas. Nonpoint sources contribute to over 50% of all particulate matter (PM) emissions, which is higher than point or mobile sources. They also emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) (also known as hydrcarbons) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions, which contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone.

Related Links

Documents linked below are in pdf format.

For more information please contact the Bureau of Air Quality at (803) 898-4123 or by email.