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Handbook of Environmental Engineering by Myer Kutz

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15Air Pollution Control Engineering

Kumar Ganesan1 and Louis Theodore2

1Department of Environmental Engineering, Montana Tech, Butte, MT, USA

2Manhattan College, New York, NY, USA

15.1 Overview of Air Quality

The Industrial Revolution changed the landscape of lifestyle and along came the pollution problems. Smoke control ordinance was in place even around 1881 in large cities like Chicago. Coal was used as the main source of energy. Switching from coal to oil and gas in the 1950s significantly reduced the air pollution problem. However, after World War II, industrial growth increased the fossil fuel use, and therefore air pollution problems were getting severe. In late 1940, a California Professor, Haagen‐Smit, indicated that photochemical reactions of pollutants in the atmosphere are the cause of severe smog problems in the Los Angeles area. In 1948, Donora, Pennsylvania, experienced an air pollution episode, resulting in 20 deaths, and about 7000 people got sick. In 1952, the London smog caused 4000 deaths related to air pollution, and it disproportionally affected the younger and the elderly population.

The United States took notice of the growing air pollution problem, and the Air Pollution Control Act was formulated in 1955 by the Congress, making the way to fund federal agencies to conduct research in air pollution. In 1963 the Clean Air Act replaced the 1955 Act and added funding and grants to nonfederal agencies. The Air Quality Act of 1967 articulated that the federal ...

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