Accession Number:



Evaluation of the Digital Opacity Compliance System in High Mountain Desert Environments

Descriptive Note:

Final technical rept.

Corporate Author:


Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



The digital opacity compliance system DOCS has been proposed as an alternative to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Reference Method 9 Visual Determination of the Opacity of Emissions for Stationary Sources. The DOCS, which employs standard digital photography to estimate the opacity of visible emissions, was evaluated in a high mountain desert environment located in Weber County, Utah. The DOCS recorded an average opacity deviation of 5.28 when applied to black smoke plumes having true opacities in the range of 0-100, an error rate that was found to be significantly less than 7.5 allowable error rate for attaining certification under Method 9. In contrast, results from estimating the opacity of white smoke plumes indicated that the accuracy of the DOCS was less that the Method 9 error rate only in the opacity range of 0-60, over which the DOCS average opacity deviation was determined to be 6.7. For the 0-40 opacity range, the DOCS recorded an average opacity deviation of 5.44 and 5.9 for black and white plumes, respectively. Results from the present study suggest that the DOCS has the potential to quantify visible opacity with an error rate that is significantly less that the Method 9 permissible error rate. Although encouraging, it is unclear to what extent the DOCS is affected by climatic conditions other than those encountered in a dry desert environment. Future studies should focus on evaluating the performance of the DOCS under variable weather conditions.

Subject Categories:

  • Optics
  • Air Pollution and Control

Distribution Statement: