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Wed, May 25, 2011

Ozone HPA in Effect

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is issuing an ozone High Pollution Advisory (HPA) for Friday, May 27.

Ozone concentrations in the Valley reached their highest levels of the season on Tuesday and elevated levels are expected to remain because of a continued warming trend under cloudless skies. On Thursday, air quality forecasters expect several Valley areas to possibly exceed the federal health standard for ozone.

As a result, the Maricopa County Air Quality Department is enforcing the mandatory “No Burn Day” restriction for Maricopa County from midnight to midnight Thursday. This restriction includes individuals and businesses that have burn permits for open burning.

“Outdoor activities are expected with the upcoming holiday weekend, so it’s a perfect time to think about air quality,” said David Boggs, Valley Metro executive director. “Reduce trips, ride transit and help reduce ozone-forming emissions to keep the air healthier for everyone.”

ADEQ recommends that children and adults with respiratory problems avoid outdoor activities on Thursday and suggests the general public limit outdoor activity throughout the day.

Valley Metro requests employers activate their HPA Plan. Residents and employers are asked to use these tips to help make the air healthier to breathe:

Eliminate wood burning in fireplaces, stoves, chimineas and outdoor fire pits.

Drive as little as possible: car pool, use public transit or telecommute. For information on transportation alternatives, visit Valley Metro: www.valleymetro.org
Avoid using leaf blowers.

Use low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) or water-based paints, stains, finishes and paint strippers.

Delay big painting projects until high-pollution advisories or health watches have passed.

Make sure containers of household cleaners, garage and yard chemicals and other solvents are sealed properly to prevent vapors from evaporating into the air.

To learn more about the air you’re breathing, visit: www.cleanairmakemore.com

OZONE BACKGROUND: Ground level ozone is formed by a chemical reaction that needs heat from sunlight, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds [VOCs] to form. The months of April through September make up our Valley’s longer-than-normal “ozone season.”

WHO’S WHO?

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) provides a daily forecast for air quality. When conditions exist, ADEQ will issue high pollution advisories or health watches. Please visit www.azdeq.gov/environ/air/ozone/ensemble.pdf or call (602) 771-2367. To receive the air quality forecast via email and/or text message please visit www.azdeq.gov/subscribe.html

CONTACT: Mark Shaffer – (602) 771-2215 desk / (480) 433-9551 cell

The Maricopa County Air Quality Department is a regulatory agency whose goal is to ensure federal clean air standards are achieved and maintained for the residents and visitors of Maricopa County. The department is governed by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and follows air quality standards set forth by the federal Clean Air Act. The department offers air quality information and resources on its Clean Air Make More website. Please visit www.cleanairmakemore.com to learn more.

CONTACT: Holly Ward – (602) 506-6713 desk / (602) 526-7307 cell

Valley Metro/RPTA provides eco-friendly public transit options to residents of greater Phoenix and Maricopa County, including a clean-fuel bus fleet, low-emissions light rail, online carpool matching and bus trip mapping, and bicycle and telework assistance. Funding is provided by local, state and federal revenues; and administered by a board of 16 governments working to improve and regionalize the public transit system. Please visit www.valleymetro.org to learn more.

CONTACT: Susan Tierney – (602) 523-6004 desk / (602) 292-4093 cell

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