The 2015 Ozone Season begins on Wednesday April 1. This is the time of year when the City of Wichita’s Air Quality section monitors and predicts high ozone days for south central Kansas. Ozone Alerts will be issued when high ozone days are expected. Ozone season runs from April 1 – October 31.
Ground-level ozone is a health and environmental concern for the people in south central Kansas. When emissions from automobiles, industrial machinery, lawn and garden equipment, paints and solvents are “baked” in intense sunlight ground-level ozone is formed.
While air pollution is unhealthy for everyone, some people are at an increased risk because of their age or existing health conditions. Sensitive groups include children, people with asthma, adults over 65 and persons with chronic respiratory disease. There are nearly 300,000 individuals who may be sensitive to elevated ozone levels in south central Kansas.
In addition to causing health problems, high ozone levels may cause the region to exceed the national ozone limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Exceeding the ozone limits could result in increased regulations and costs to businesses and the community.
When Ozone Alerts are issued, City of Wichita officials will adjust their operations and are asking that individuals and businesses also make changes to their daily routine that can impact ozone levels. Actions that can reduce ozone-forming emissions on Ozone Alert days include:
• Using Wichita Transit or other public transportation;
• Reducing energy use;
• Postponing errands, mowing, painting and solvent use; and
• Fueling up after the sun goes down instead of earlier in the day.
Throughout Ozone Season you can keep ozone levels at their lowest by driving, mowing and painting late in the day as the sun goes down. Without the sun to “bake” the emissions, ozone cannot form.
The community will be advised of Ozone Alert Days through local media outlets; the City’s web site (www.wichita.gov), Cox Cable Channel 7; the Intelligent Transportation System message boards located along major highways; Ozone Alert emails (sign up at www.wichita.gov/ozone) and by following beairaware on Instagram.
The City of Wichita in conjunction with the Air Quality Improvement Task Force are working to reduce ozone levels across south central Kansas in Sedgwick, Sumner, Harvey and Butler Counties. Local governments, businesses and nonprofits are working together to form partnerships, create action plans and implement projects that reduce ozone and improve air quality across the region.
For more information visit – www.wichita.gov/ozone .