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Air Program - Frequently Asked Questions


What is the difference between demolishing a facility and renovating it?

  • Demolition and renovation are defined in the regulation.  You demolish a facility when you remove or wreck any load-supporting structural member of that facility or perform any related operations; you also demolish a facility when you burn it.  A facility is renovated when you alter any part of that facility in any other manner.  Renovation includes stripping or removing asbestos from the facility.


How do I know if I have asbestos in my building?

  • An asbestos survey is required before any renovation or demolition activity begins.  Asbestos surveys must be performed by a State Licensed asbestos consultant or an accredited building surveyor (inspector) under the direction of a State Licensed asbestos consultant.


What asbestos projects are exempt?

  • Certain demolitions of individual single family residential home or apartment buildings with four (4) dwellings or may be exempt from notification. Residential structures that are being demolished as part of a reuse project are not exempt from notification. Examples of reuse projects that are not exempt include: clearing of highway right of ways, extension of airport runway clear zones, redevelopment of residential property for commercial or industrial purposes. 


What is asbestos notification?

  • A notification is a written notice of intent to renovate or demolish.  It is required prior to contractors engaging in the demolition of a building.  It is also required for renovations if there is asbestos containing materials being removed that are greater than or equal to 260 linear feet on pipes, 160 feet on other building components, or 35 cubic feet off building components where the length or area could not be measured previously.  The required notification must be mailed ten (10) working days prior to the start of any regulated project. The form can be accessed at http://www.dep.state.fl.us/air/rules/forms/asbestos.htm. Questions can be addressed to the asbestos coordinator Rusty Richards at (561) 681-6624 or via e-mail at Rusty.Richards@dep.state.fl.us  


Do I need an air pollution permit?

  • Please call our office to assist you in making this determination.  You can contact Eric Dunkelberger at (561) 681-6623 or via e-mail at Eric.Dunkelberger@dep.state.fl.us


What can I do about indoor air quality concerns with mold, lead, volatile organic compounds, etc.?

  • Since the FDEP has no regulatory authority over indoor air quality in homes and businesses, please contact your county health department.  Agencies and addresses can be found here.  Also, the EPA has a Web site specifically for mold issues at http://www.epa.gov/airindoormold.html.  You may also contact the American Lung Association at http://www.lungfla.org.  The ALA may be able to provide free information on indoor air quality.


I have witnessed the release of air conditioner unit gases (Freon) into the atmosphere.  Who do I contact?


How do I report noise pollution?

  • The FDEP has no regulatory authority over sources of noise pollution.  State rules governing decibel levels emitted by motor vehicles are enforced by appropriate law enforcement.  To voice your concerns, please start by contacting the code enforcement section of your county, town or city of residence.


How do I report dust and odor concerns?

  • The FDEP and its delegated local programs enforce state rules that prohibit the discharge of non-permitted air pollutants.  Please contact the DEP Southeast District Air Program at (561) 681-6659 if your concern is within St. Lucie, Martin or Okeechobee counties.  If your concern is within Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade counties, please contact the respective county agency.


Palm Beach County Health Department

Palm Beach County Daily Air Quality Update, call (561) 355-3962 (recording)

Permitting and Compliance, (561) 355-3136.


Broward County Environmental Protection Department

Broward County Daily Air Quality Update, call (954) 519-1280 (recording)

Compliance, (954) 519-1220

Permitting and Planning, (954) 519-1220


Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management

Miami-Dade County Daily Air Quality Update, call (305) 372-6925 (operator)

Permitting and Compliance (305) 372-6925



What is ozone?

  • Ozone is a gas made up of three atoms of oxygen (O3).  It can occur naturally in the stratosphere or at ground level from manmade air pollutants.   It is the same chemical in both places but performs different tasks depending where it is located.


Is ozone a good or bad thing?

  • Both!  Think of ozone as "good up high, bad nearby". The naturally occurring ozone in the stratosphere provides a protective layer that shields us from too much ultraviolet sunlight.  However, at ground level, ozone can cause problems.


How is the ground-level ozone problem in Florida?

  • Ground level ozone, the main ingredient of smog, is formed when the pollutant oxides of nitrogen combine with another pollutant hydrocarbon in the presence of sunlight.  When we breathe in air contaminated with ozone the very reactive ozone will get deep in our lungs and could cause tissue damage that will interfere with breathing and lung capacity.


What is air monitoring?

  • The sampling for and the measuring of pollutants present in the atmosphere.  The SED Air Program uses vacuum devices and filters to capture pollutants in our air and then we measure them to see how much is there.


What is the Air Quality Index (AQI)?

  • The AQI takes the worst pollutant of the day and records it as a percentage of the standard.  The higher the number the worse the air quality.


What is the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)?

  •  NAAQS was created to adequately address health concerns from air pollution.  The federal and state governments have set safe standards for various air pollutants.  The NAAQS levels are not to be exceeded.


What are emission standards?

  • The maximum amount of a pollutant that is allowed be discharged from a polluting source such as an automobile or smokestack.  These permitted standards are much less then the NAAQS.


What is opacity?

  • A measurement of the amount of light that is blocked by particulate matter like smoke. Higher opacity indicates that more particulate matter or pollution is present.


What are the air pollutants monitored in Florida?

  • The six criteria, or most important, air pollutants are measured: carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulate matter and sulfur dioxide.


What can I do when I see a vehicle emitting smoke?

  • It is against the law for a motor vehicle to put out over five (5) seconds of smoke from the tail pipe while the vehicle is idling or at constant speed.  Record the make and model of vehicle, date, time and location and report it to your local county air programs or the FDEP SED office at (561) 681-6659.


How good is the air quality in Southeast Florida?

  • Our air quality is good.  Florida is one of only three states east of the Mississippi River that is currently meeting all federal standards for air pollution.  However, with our increasing population we all need to work at keeping our air healthy.


What can I do to make our air better?

  • The best thing you can do is drive smarter and decrease the number of vehicle trips you make.  About half of our air pollution in Southeast Florida comes from transportation.  Consider the following suggestions.

    • Consolidate your trips.  Pick up the dry cleaning while out grocery shopping. 

    • Carpool to work.  Check with South Florida Commuter Services for a free information or visit http://www.1800234ride.com.

    • Walk, bike or take public transit see Tri-Rail�s web site for scheduling http://www.tri-rail.com.





Last updated: March 07, 2016
  Southeast District ~ 3301 Gun Club Road, MSC 7210-1, West Palm Beach, Florida 33406   (561) 681-6600 (phone) / (561) 681-6755 (fax)
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