Air Quality

The State of Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) air quality program information can be found here. Maine DEP programs ensure that sources comply with the federal Clean Air Act.

Clean Air Act

The Clean Air Act (CAA) was passed by Congress in 1963 in response to fatal air pollution events in the U.S. and Great Britain. Amended and strengthened 1970 and 1990, clean air legislation combined with strong enforcement of air rules by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have improved air quality in the U.S.

Regulated activities include all equipment and activities that emit materials designated as pollutants under the CAA. An air pollutant is potentially anything other than ambient air. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Combustion gases: carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur oxides.
  • Dusts, fumes, and mists from grain handling, grinding, welding, cement mixing, and casting.
  • Organic vapors from fuel, chemicals used in research, art and design and maintenance.
  • Any priority pollutant: SOX, NOX, COX, Ozone, particulate matter, and lead
  • Chemicals designated as Greenhouse Gases: refrigerants, carbon dioxide, and halogenated hydrocarbons
  • Materials listed as Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPS)

Purpose and Scope

Bates College is defined as a major source of air pollution under the CAA, stemming from the central heating plant and heating oil tanks local to various houses. Bates EHS administers regulations for the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

The goals of EHS are to:

  • Identify sources of emissions on the Bates Campus and at outlying facilities
  • Reduce to the fullest extent possible the emissions of pollutants from campus emission points
  • Ensure regulatory compliance.

The protection of the quality of the air is the responsibility of all Bates College personnel. In addition, state and local rules restrict most open burning, and federal agencies require proper management of ozone-depleting refrigerants.


An air pollutant is potentially anything other than ambient air, and any equipment that emits an air pollutant, including but not limited to:

  • Fume hoods
  • Stationary equipment combusting natural gas, coal, wood, fuel oil, diesel fuel, gasoline, or other fuels
  • Woodshop dust collection and venting equipment, above ground and underground storage tanks
  • Research equipment emitting fine particles, fumes, smoke, or vapors.

Open Burning

Open burning of brush, debris, trash, refuse, or any other items is not allowed on Bates College property. Fires used for ceremonies or emergency response training are not considered open burning, but must be controlled and under observation at all times. Fires used for recreational purposes, such as bonfires, the permit must be approved by EHS and the Lewiston Fire Department. Tires, furniture, and appliances must not be burned at any time for any reason.