The “Ozone Season” (April 1-Oct. 31) is a crucial time for air quality standards in San Marcos and Hays County. Ozone levels monitored at this time determine whether the area will meet federal standards for ground-level ozone.
Regional air quality partners have initiated “The Big Push” to encourage citizens and businesses to reduce ozone-forming emissions during September, which is, historically, the worst month for ozone levels in Central Texas.
San Marcos city officials warn that the area will be designated a “non-attainment” area if ozone levels do not meet federal standards. This could result in restrictions on business development and delays in transportation projects.
Based on the readings taken so far, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has recommended to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that central Texas be designated as a non-attainment area. If ozone levels could be lowered for October and the remainder of September, the area could still meet federal standards and qualify for the attainment designation.
The city is recommending a few steps citizens can take:
* Become educated on when ozone watches and warnings occur by signing up for free email alerts at www.cleanairforce.org.
* Carpool, ride the bus, telecommute, ride your bike or simply avoid peak driving times, especially on ozone action days.
* Delay running errands, refueling vehicles and mowing/landscaping until after 6:00 p.m.
* Don’t top off your gas tank when refueling.
* Keep your vehicle properly tuned to reduce exhaust levels.
* Turn off your vehicle instead of letting it idle. Try not to use the drive-through when purchasing fast food.
* Bring your lunch to work to reduce driving. If it is possible, try walking to lunch and back again. It’s better for your digestion, too.
* Turn off lights when not in use. Try to use compact fluorescent light bulbs. They may seem expensive but they are extremely long lasting.
* Store paints, fuel and lighter fluid in sealed containers inside a garage or shed. If you no longer need them, consider taking them to the next city-sponsored hazardous material disposal day.
* Use more efficient equipment or alternative/additive fuels for less/cleaner emissions.
For more information on air quality and ground-level ozone visit the EPA website at epa.gov/air/ozonepollution/or the TCEQ website at tceq.state.tx.us/nav/main/air_main.html, or contact the city of San Marcos at (512) 393-8310.Email | Print