City officials say Wichita is prepared for the stricter ozone levels set by the federal government last week. The new standard for ground-level ozone was reduced from 75 parts per billion to 70.
The city has been working with EPA officials and regional governments and businesses to address ground-level ozone and improve public health. An Ozone Action Plan was adopted last year aimed at reducing emissions.
Compliance Manager Laura Quick says in 2014 Wichita’s three-year average ozone was 73 parts per billion.
"It’s coming down and this year, so far, in 2015 our three-year rolling average is down to 67, so our ozone levels have actually been improving over time with the standard now being set at 70 parts per billion, we hope to stay under that level," she says.
Quick says Wichita's ozone levels need to stay low through 2016 to remain in compliance with the standard.
The ozone season, when the city closely monitors high levels of pollutants, ends Oct. 31 but will start up again March 1. Quick says the ozone season is the most critical to make air-friendly decisions like carpooling, fueling up in the evenings and reducing vehicle idle time.
Carla Eckels is assistant news director and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.
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