Increased ozone may push city of Waco to regulations

POSTED: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 - 5:52pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am

You can't see it and you can't feel it but there's something in the air that can harm you without you even knowing it.

"The end of the summer, in August and September, we see an uptick in ozone readings. It's not just temperature but also still winds, and sunlight that cause that higher ozone," said Megan Henderson, Director of Regional Services of Heart of Texas Council of Governments.

Chris Evilia, a member of the Waco Air Quality group, said ozone is a pollutant formed when nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds are exposed to sunlight and in a hot summer Central Texans are more vulnerable to the health risks it can cause to the respiratory system.

"Folks who have, some type of lung disease, any type of heart disease, and for children its especially a problem because their respiratory systems are still developing," said Evilia.

Anything that releases emissions, such as cars, lawn-mower's, and power plants, all contribute to higher ozone levels.

Everyday things like filling up your car with gasoline, even the time of day in which you fill-up can affect the emissions that are released which contribute to the poor air quality.

"If we can refuel our vehicles, after six p.m. that allows any type of fumes to be able to be dissipated over night, before the sun can come up and cook these chemicals," said Evilia.

And if Waco reaches a nonattainment level over air quality standards Central Texas living may be altered.

"it would cause us to regulate development, it would cause us to have to adopt policies that might cost consumers money, um, and we might have to say no to projects that we would otherwise want."

With the current air quality standard being 70, Waco's design value of 69 has officials fearing this summer's emissions will trigger these regulations.
 

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