Ozone exceeding EPA's standards
BY ALTHEA PETERSON World Staff Writer
Thursday, July 12, 2012
7/12/12 at 7:44 AM
Several Tulsa-area monitoring sites now exceed the Environmental Protection Agency's National Ambient Air Quality Standard, but all of Oklahoma is still considered in attainment.
This is because the EPA continues to use data from a three-year period - 2008 through 2010 - for the Tulsa area, said EPA spokesman Dave Bary. That was the last three-year period to have all Tulsa-area sites under the current ozone standard of 0.075 parts per million.
"As of right now, the agency does not intend to redesignate any areas," Bary said.
This means that the Tulsa area will have time to become compliant with the standard without being designated by the EPA as a nonattainment area, said Nancy Graham, the air-quality program manager for the Indian Nations Council of Governments.
With a monitor site near Skiatook already exceeding the three-year standard last year, Graham said the target level to become compliant again by this year would have been "unrealistically low."
"People in the area need to be proactive," she said. "When Ozone Alerts are issued, think, 'What do I need to do to reduce emissions?'"
Bary said the EPA recommends that areas near the ozone standard limits take on programs aimed at reducing emissions voluntarily, such as the Ozone Alert program.
Ozone Alerts are initiated when projected weather conditions are conducive to the generation of ground-level ozone, which is formed when greenhouse gases are heated by the sun, and the wind is not likely to be strong enough to disperse the ozone.
On Ozone Alert days, people are asked to limit their use of gasoline-powered cars, boats and lawn equipment and to not fill their vehicles' fuel tanks until evening.
For more information, go online to tulsaworld.com/ozonealert
By the numbers
Tulsa area Ozone Alerts
9: Number of exceedance days, most recently on Wednesday
9: Number of alert days, including Thursday
0.077: Parts per million three-year ozone average at three Tulsa area sites
0.075: Parts per million, current EPA ozone standard
Source: Indian Nations Council of Governments
Althea Peterson 918-581-8361
A sign warns drivers on the Broken Arrow Expressway on Wednesday about Tulsa's Ozone Alert status for Thursday. Tuesday and Wednesday also were Ozone Alert days in the Tulsa area. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World