Iowa DNR's Twitter Iowa DNR's Flicker Iowa DNR's YouTube Iowa DNR's Pinterest Iowa DNR's Facebook | Iowa Outdoors Magazine | News | Contact Us

Site Search  search button

Articles Detail

NO2 Background Concentrations for Rural Areas Developed
Posted: 12/31/2013

In 2012 the statewide default background concentrations for use in dispersion modeling analyses were updated. At that time, the only two nitrogen dioxide (NO2) monitoring sites in Iowa were used to calculate an average NO2 background. Both of these sites are located in urban areas, where NO2 concentrations are generally higher. As such, the default NO2 background concentrations represent a conservative estimate for many portions of rural Iowa. In order to provide a more accurate estimate of the NO2 background levels in rural areas, the DNR has developed the following rural NO2 background concentrations. The current default concentrations will remain in place for urban areas of the state, and are also listed below for comparison.





34 µg/m3 (18 ppb)

75 µg/m3 (40 ppb)


5 µg/m3 (3 ppb)

15 µg/m3 (8 ppb

By default, modeling analyses conducted in Clinton, Linn, Polk, Pottawattamie, Scott, and Woodbury counties will use the existing urban background and all other areas of the state will use the rural background. However, portions of the “urban” counties that are separated from the urban core by a large enough distance will be allowed to use the rural background. A Google Earth file is provided on the DNR’s background concentration webpage that depicts a more detailed division between urban and rural areas in these counties. A technical support document describing the methodology used to determine the proposed background concentrations is also available on the same page.


Please contact Brad Ashton at, or by phone at (515) 725-9527, with any questions.

This announcement is targeted to air quality regulated public and consultants and contains
timely regulatory news, program updates and technical guidance.