The city of Wichita is implementing a new plan for the 2013 ozone season in an effort to reduce the impact on area ozone levels.
Tonya Bronleewe, an air quality specialist for Wichita, says predictions will be based on weather and ozone conditions in the region.
“This year we are going to try to forecast potentially high ozone days," says Bronleewe. "One of those days would look like hot, sunny and windless.”
“That’s when the emissions that come out of our cars and our lawn mowers combined with the heat and sun and create ozone. So those hot windless sunny days, these are the conditions that are just right for high ozone.”
Bronleewe says if conditions predict a high-ozone day, an alert will be issued.
“We’ll email all of the city departments," she says. "We’ll get an alert put up on the message boards on the highways. We’ll let the media know, so you might find out in a news story or through the weather report.”
Ozone alerts will give city departments an opportunity to make adjustments before the next work day.
Ground crews could delay mowing or in-person meetings could be changed to conference calls.
Brownleewe says waiting a day to fill your car with gas or rethinking your route and transportation could help.
“Really think ahead and make as shortest trip as possible or think about, do you really need to drive to your errand? You could walk or bike, anything that reduces the amounts of energy that you use,” she says.
Bronleewe says when ozone is formed in the air that we breathe; it can affect our health.
“It harms our lungs and so that’s the ground- level ozone is what we’re concerned about,” said Bronleewe.
The ozone seasons run April 1 through October 31, 2013.
More information about ozone levels, effects and consequences: