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About Smoke School

What is Smoke School?

Smoke school is the process of being trained and certified to observe the opacity of visible emissions. Using a custom smoke generator, students are shown various opacities of black and white smoke and tested on their observational accuracy. Smoke school is also known as EPA Method 9 Certification, Visible Emissions Training and Opacity Training. Smoke school consists of two parts; lecture and the field certification test.

Lecture AeroMets Online Lecture Program
Recommended every 3 years. Covers observation and documentation procedures for making visible emissions observations.
Field Test AeroMets Field Test
Required every 6 months. Trains and tests you on your ability to read the opacity of visible emissions.

What are Visible Emissions?

Power Plant Emissions
A visible emission is the visible particulate matter that occurs as the result of a process. Smoke exiting a stack at a power plant is a visible emission
Road Emissions
Dust produced from driving down a gravel road is a visible emission
House Emissions
Smoke from the chimney of your fireplace is a visible emission

What is Opacity?

When you’re talking about visible emissions, opacity is the degree to which light is blocked by the emissions. When you are observing emissions there is always a background behind the smoke plume. This background can be anything, but ideally it should contrast with the emissions you are observing.

Opacity with Trees as Background
Tree as a background
Opacity with Sky as Background
Sky as a background
Opacity with Bricks as Background
Building as a background

Who Attends Smoke School?

Industrial & Commercial Sources +
Environmental Consultants +
Regulatory Inspectors & Enforcement Agents +
Community Watch Groups +

The Certification Process

Lecture Screenshot
Step 1:Review Online Lecture Program

Our online lecture program will cover everything you need to know about observing visible emissions and properly documenting your readings. Info about our lecture program can be found here

Attend a Smoke School Field Event
Step 2: Register for a Smoke School Field Event.

AeroMet has an extensive schedule of public smoke schools throughout the U.S. Public smoke schools are open to anyone and are held every 6 months to ensure your certification doesn’t expire. Our full schedule can be found here

Attend a Smoke School Field Event
Step 3: Attend a Smoke School Field Event.

During the field event, our instructors will demonstrate various levels of opacity using a custom smoke generator. After your eyes have been calibrated, they will run practice tests until everyone is ready to take the certification test. AeroMet will run certification tests until everyone passes.

Step 4:Re-Certification

To maintain your certification, you must pass the field certification test every 6 months. This is why we return to each field event location every 6 months.

View Smoke School Schedule & Get Registered