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CAO Guide for Communities​

The Cleaner Air Oregon program is focused on understanding and regulating heath risk, which means looking at what comes out of facilities and if those emissions can cause harm. CAO uses a “polluter pays model” meaning that polluting facilities are required to develop all documents and work. DEQ’s role is to review and approve each step in the program’s process to protect health.  

Report air toxic emissions

CAO-icons1.pngIt all starts by working with facilities to understand what harmful chemicals might come from their building(s). It is then the facility’s job to demonstrate through a work plan and modeling what they are emitting into the air and what people (workers, neighbors, etc.) and communities (preschools, hospitals, etc.) are breathing because of their emissions.

Assess risk

CAO-icons2.pngThese emissions are reported to CAO as an emissions inventory. CAO staff reviews this information and may ask for more details as part of their approval process. A risk assessment then calculates the risk those emissions have for causing cancer and other health impacts. If the risk levels are over a certain level, then the facility must reduce risk. Strategies for reducing, or mitigation, include using different chemicals, putting on filters, increasing the height of stacks, etc.  

Regulate to reduce risk

CAO-icons3.pngDEQ uses the risk assessment information to ensure there are requirements to maintain and sustain the health protective levels included in a facilities’ permit, referred to as permit conditions. Once these requirements are in a permit, they are enforceable and ensure compliance to keep risk low.  

At any time during this process, DEQ can require a facility to update, revise or include additional information to have the most representative and accurate assessment possible at the time of the risk assessment.  

For more information on individual steps, definition of terms and what the requirements are for facilities please click on links below to learn more. 

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