City of Wichita officials on Wednesday said residents may have helped the area avoid exceeding federal air quality levels.
Due to strong winds and range burning in the Flint Hills on Tuesday, ozone levels peaked well above recommended federal standards, but the recorded eight-hour level for April 11 was 70 parts per billion (ppb) – just in compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone.
“If we would have had an average of 71, we would have exceeded the standard for the day,” said Baylee Cunningham, with the Environmental Division on Public Works & Utilities. “We believe advising the community of the Ozone Alert Day on Monday and residents’ participation, collectively made the difference in avoiding an exceedance day.”
City officials issued the Ozone Alert notice after range burning and atmospheric conditions indicated high ozone levels were possible. Late Tuesday, winds shifted from south to east and gusts increased to 15 miles per hour. The conditions caused smoke to travel into the Wichita area, a recipe for negative air quality impacts.
Officials asked areas residents to continue following recommended tips to keep area air quality healthy for residents, especially those from sensitive groups. Following are Ozone Alert Day tips:
• Refuel when it’s cool – after 6PM or even better, after dark;
• Walk or ride your bike to work;
• Delay mowing;
• Stop fueling at the sound of the click;
• Take your lunch to work to avoid driving during the hottest part of the day;
• Turn off your car - don’t idle more than 30 seconds;
• Postpone errands; and
• Delay painting projects.
For more information on air quality tips, please visit www.wichita.gov/ozone, the City’s Facebook page and @BeAirAwareKS on Twitter and Instagram.