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Air Quality

What is an O​zone Alert?

Ozone Alerts are a proactive measure to keep ozone levels low in Wichita and surrounding areas.

Ozone Alerts are intended to inform Wichita and the surrounding Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) of potentially high ozone so they can:

  • Plan "everyday actions" that can reduce ozone-forming emissions; and avoid high ozone levels; and
  • Take precautions to avoid potential harmful effects of ozone.

Ozone Alerts are circulated through multiple channels including:

  • Email distribution
  • 10am City of Wichita Public Safety Briefing;
  • City of Wichita social media sites at Facebook and Twitter; and
  • BeAirAwareKS Twitter and Instagram.

Ozone Alerts are issued when meteorological and environmental conditions indicate ozone levels could be high the following day. Conditions that can cause high ozone levels include:

  • High temperatures;
  • Increased amounts of ozone on preceding days;
  • High ozone upwind; and
  • High-wind conditions.

Ozone Alerts should encourage the community to plan Everyday Actions to eliminate ozone forming emissions and reduce the possibility for ozone levels to be high.

Encouraging community members to sign up for Ozone Alerts and reinforcing the list of Everyday Actions are invaluable ways to help.

Ozone Aler​​t Days

When weather and environmental conditions indicate Ozone levels could be high, an Ozone Alert will be issued. Ozone Alerts will be issued the day before the Ozone Alert Day, so that you can plan Everyday Actions for the next day to keep ozone levels low.

Sign up for Ozone Alert ​​Emails

Sign up to receive Ozone Alert emails for the Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area which includes all of Sedgwick, Butler, Harvey and Sumner Counties.

Subscribe to Ozone Info & Alerts

Everyday Actions

What to do on an Ozone Alert Day to keep Ozone Levels low:

  • Share a ride, walk or bike
  • Take the bus
  • Refuel in the evening
  • Drive less - postpone errands and take your lunch to work
  • Do lawn and garden chores gasoline-free
  • Turn your key, be idle free
  • Walk-in, avoid the drive-thru
  • Conserve energy
  • Postpone projects that use products that produce fumes - solvents, varnishes, paints, and some cleaners.​​​​​​​​

Monitoring Network

The Air Quality section monitors ambient air for criteria pollutants (carbon monoxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, lead, and particulate matter) in accordance with regulations set forth in the federal Clean Air Act. Lead and sulfur dioxide are no longer monitored on a continuous basis. Long-term monitoring data shows that ambient levels of these two air pollutants have dropped significantly since the 1970's.

Wichita has been in compliance with all six criteria air pollutants since 1989. Background levels of approximately 60 other air toxic compounds commonly found in urban air have also been measured since 1988, and a radiation monitor has been operating since 2008.

The criteria pollutants are the only ones for which National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) have been established by EPA. Based on recent scientific heath effects studies, EPA last revised the ozone standard in 2008 and the particulate matter standard in 1997. These changes effectively lowered allowable concentrations of these two pollutants. Ambient air measurements show that Wichita is closer to exceeding the new ozone standard but we are currently in attainment with both the ozone and particulate matter standards.

The Wichita-Sedgwick County air monitoring network consists of continuous monitors for ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and particulates.

The pollutants in urban air come from many sources. The major contributors are:

  • Mobile sources (automobiles, trucks, buses, and trains)
  • Area sources (smaller sources such as boilers, dry cleaners and citizen activities)
  • Stationary (industrial), and natural sources (background) are also contributors.

Over the past three and half decades, since authorization of the first federal Clean Air Act, the U.S. has made substantial progress in reducing air pollution, while at the same time, experiencing strong economic growth. In fact, since 1970, Gross Domestic Product has increased by 176 percent, energy consumption by 45 percent, vehicle miles traveled by 155 percent and the U.S. population by 39 percent. Notwithstanding this progress, our nation continues to face significant public health and environmental problems as a result of emissions into our air.

More information

Get up-to-date local air quality data.

Air Quality for Kansas AirNow​​​

​N​ational Am​​bient Air Quality Standards (AAQS)​​​

View the NAAQS Table

Indoor Air

Did you know that the air in your home, office, or school may be more polluted than the air outside?

Since the average person spends about 90 percent of their time indoors, indoor air pollution can have significant effects on our health. In an effort to conserve energy, buildings are tightly sealed and ventilation rates are reduced. As a result, indoor air pollutants can become trapped inside and build up to levels that may make some people sick. The people who are most susceptible are children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people who are chronically ill. An important indicator that you may have an indoor quality problem is the onset of symptoms while in a certain room or building, and relief from those symptoms shortly after leaving.

The Air Quality Section offers a service of helping people identify and resolve possible indoor air quality problems. In most cases, information can be provided over the phone or mailed to interested persons. Some situations, however, may need an on-site visit to evaluate the indoor air quality. Usually the most effective way to improve indoor air quality is through source control-reduce or eliminate the sources of air pollutants. Ventilation improvements, using exhaust fans and bringing in fresh air, can also be beneficial. Filtering the air may reduce some pollutants, but should not be relied on exclusively. We do not recommend the use of certain "air cleaners" such as ionizers or ozone generators for most situations because these devices may do more harm than good.​​

More ​Information​

Contact Environmental Health

P: (316) 268-8351​

Inspection Programs

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reviews applications and issues all permits to sources of air emissions in Sedgwick County. These permits restrict the way a facility is constructed and operated, thus ensuring that emissions from the facility will have minimal impact on the surrounding population and the environment.

The local Air Quality Section assists local businesses, KDHE, and citizens who have questions or comments about the applications and permits. The Air Quality Section also helps inform regulated emission sources about local, state, and federal air quality laws that affect their facilities.

Annual facility inspections of air pollution sources in Sedgwick County are conducted by the Air Quality Section to determine compliance with air regulations and permit conditions. Appropriate air pollution control equipment, as specified in the permit, must be in place and operating properly. Surveillance observations and routine inspections are also regularly conducted. These routine compliance audits help insure that sources in Wichita and Sedgwick County maintain compliance over time.

As of December 2004, there are 247 facilities in Wichita and Sedgwick County that are required to maintain air pollution permits. Of these, 207 were inspected during the calendar year. These inspections were required annual inspections plus evaluation inspections of new or modified sources. The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 require complex inspections of many of these sources. Consequently, inspections are more thorough and take longer to complete than in the past. There are 21 large facilities that have Class I permits and 40 facilities that have Class II permits. All of these are inspected annually. In addition, there are also 186 smaller facilities (B sources) that are inspected on a rotating basis. Air Quality staff conducted 131 inspections for asbestos containing materials at demolition sites in the City. Citizen complaints regarding major and minor sources are also investigated by the Air Quality Section.

Who to Contact​

For more information about air permits and inspections, contact Randy Owen.

P: (316) 268-8353
Email Randy Owen

Open Burning

Depending on the type and location of the burn, state approval and/or a local burn permit may be required.

State app​roval process

The Kansas Department of Health & Environment, Bureau of Air has delegated authority for implementation of the Kansas Air Quality Regulations in Sedgwick County to the City of Wichita Environmental Health. All applications for approval to conduct an open burning operation within the boundaries of Sedgwick County that is not otherwise exempt from the prohibition on open burning imposed by Kansas Administrative Regulation (K.A.R.) 28-19-645 should be directed to this office.

Open Burn Approval Application

Local burn per​​mits

Communities served by Fire District 1 should refer to the guidance and application on the Sedgwick County website. Communities not served by Fire District 1 should contact their local fire department for burn permits.​​

Sedgwick County Burn Permit Application

Hazardous Response

Environmental Health provides technical guidance regarding cleanup and personal protection following a spill or release of a hazardous material. We assist industries and the HazMat Teams from local fire departments with identifying and quantifying toxic chemical spills and releases, sometimes using our specialized gas, liquid, and solids sampling equipment.

Spills, discharges, and emergency releases can cause serious harm to public health and the environment. Federal and state laws require federal and/or state agencies to be notified in the event of an accidental spillage of any materials that may pollute water, air, or soil. The State of Kansas has created a single hotline for Spill and Hazard reporting. This number is to be used for reporting all spills and hazards. Depending on the nature of the spill or hazard, the call will automatically be forwarded to the appropriate state agency.

Report​ spills

Kansas Department of Health & Environment (KDHE)

P: (785) 291-3333
Email KDHE Spill Hotline Visit Kansas Spill Response Program

Air Quality Improvement Task Force (AQITF)

The Air Quality Improvement Task Force (AQITF) represents the four counties in the Wichita Metropolitan Statistical Area (Butler, Harvey, Sedgwick and Sumner Counties). The AQITF provides guidance and technical assistance to local governments and businesses in order to maintain compliance with ambient air quality standards. The AQITF develops, maintains and tracks progress on educational efforts, policies and programs listed in the Wichita MSA Ozone Advance Path Forward that decrease pollution and improve air quality.

More information

If you would like to become a AQITF member or receive meeting notifications and agendas, contact Baylee Cunningham.

P: (316) 268-8351
Email Baylee Cunningham