The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution District said ozone levels approached critical levels Wednesday, lingering “precariously near” the one-hour threshold for an exceedance and requiring Valley Air District officials to extend the current Air Alert another day.
Valley residents were saved a potential additional $12 penalty by avoiding an exceedance Wednesday and also so far this year, the district said in a news release. The latest and second episode of the summer was originally anticipated to end today, but ozone-formation conditions remain threatening, so the episode is being extended through Friday, Sept. 9. The highest preliminary reading Wednesday was in Fresno at 124 parts per billion (ppb). The one-hour ozone standard is exceeded at 125 ppb or higher.
Officials urged Valley residents and businesses to continue emission-minimizing practices.
Air Alerts are called when conditions may lead to ozone (smog) formation that results in exceeding the health-based standard of 125 ppb and triggering substantial federal monetary penalties.
Air Alerts are declared Valley-wide and include all of the counties in the air basin: Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and portions of Kern.
About 80 percent of the Valley’s ozone-forming emissions are produced by vehicle use. Residents can reduce smog-forming emissions by refraining from idling when dropping off or picking up students, carpooling or vanpooling, and refraining from using drive-through services.
Businesses and municipalities can reduce emissions by shifting operations to early morning or late evening, as in lawn care; offering flexible work schedules, and encouraging carpools and vanpools for employees. Businesses can also enroll at no cost in the Healthy Air Living Partner program.
For more information about Air Alerts: http://www.valleyair.org/AirAlert/AirAlert_Landing.htm.
To sign up for a free subscription to the Air Alert email notification system: http://www.valleyair.org/lists/list.htm.
To receive information about becoming a Healthy Air Living Partner: www.healthyairliving.com.--Sun-Star staff