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Smoke School 

It was a beautiful, clear morning on September 18. Good conditions for “Smoke School”. This semi-annual certification program challenges participants to accurately read the opacity of 50 different smoke percentages within 15%. Smoke opacity emitted from the testing equipment vary by five percent from zero to 100%. The first 25 emissions are “white smoke” and the last 25 are “black smoke.” The day begins when the contractor, Eastern Technical Associates, discharges a variety of smoke, revealing if the plume is 25%, 50% or 75% opacity so participants can establish a baseline. Weather conditions affect how the smoke may be viewed. For example, it can be more difficult to discern contrast on a sunny day because of the glare.

smoke school
Once participants have become acclimated to the conditions, the official test begins. The 50-smoke test run may take up to an hour; after the 25 white smoke emissions, ETA adjusts their equipment for the black smoke part of the test. When the test is completed, ETA reads out the correct answers and testers self-grade. Then their testing sheets are submitted to ETA for verification. 

Fall 2019 Smoke School had 12 representatives from the Agency, as well as air quality professionals from Dayton, northern Kentucky, and Ohio EPA, and industry representatives. If an individual does not pass the first run, they have four more opportunities that day to do so. Passing Smoke School certifies participants in U.S. EPA Reference Method Nine, established by U.S. EPA in 1974. This authorizes an air quality professional to make stack observations in the field, especially if there is a concern with a facility violating its air permit limitations 

Congratulations to all 12 of our Agency team members for successfully completing Smoke School this September.


Posted by joy.landry On 30 September, 2019 at 1:20 PM  

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