• Please join us for the CAB Community Meeting, usually held on the first Thursday of every month at 7:00PM. Please check Posts for speaker information, time, and location.

    Community meetings are generally held at Second Presbyterian Church, 528 Garland Drive, Carlisle, PA

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EPA’s ozone health standard – what it means for us

On October 1, the Environmental Protection Agency changed its  National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone to 70 parts per billion (ppb), based on extensive scientific evidence about ozone’s effects on public health and welfare. The new standards are intended improve public health protection, particularly for at-risk groups including children, older adults, people of all ages who have lung diseases such as asthma.

The Clean Air Board actively participated in the EPA rule setting process, providing comments and testimony.  Learn how the new standard will be implemented in central Pennsylvania, and what we should do next.

 Join us at our community meeting at Second Presbyterian Church, 528 Garland Drive, Carlisle, PA, Nov. 5, 7 pm.

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Clean Air Board heard on WITF’s Smart Talk

The American Lung Association’s “State of the Air” report for 2015 concluded the Harrisburg-York-Lebanon region has the 12th worst air in the nation for year-round particle pollution.  The region actually lost ground finishing 33rd in 2014.

The drop in rankings doesn’t mean the region’s air quality is worse, but is still a reason to be concerned.

How did it get that way and maybe the better question is what can be done to improve the region’s air quality?

Appearing on Monday’s Smart Talk to answer those questions and others are Margaret Parsons, the Healthy Air Campaign Coordinator with the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic and Thomas Au, President of the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania.

Listen to the broadcast: WITF Smart Talk

Clean Air Board comments on EPA’s proposed ozone standard

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required by law to review and adjust its public health standards for critical air pollutants every five years.  This review is based on the latest scientific and medical information.  Last November, EPA proposed to move to an 8-hour exposure standard for ozone between 60 and 70 ppb (parts per billion) in the ambient air.

The current public health standard is 75 ppb.  If a new standard is adopted, the public would alerted to more “bad air” days — days during which the air quality is worse than the ozone standard.  These air quality action days would occur during the warmer months, when pollutants bake in the atmosphere to form ground level ozone.

Our members include many people who suffer ailments from breathing polluted air.  The Cumberland Valley is at the receiving end of an ozone transport corridor which originates hundreds of miles away.  Even on days when an ozone alert has not been declared, people can and do suffer respiratory problems due to ozone.

In our letter to EPA, we highlighted some of the more recent scientific and medical studies supporting a more stringent ozone standard. Many of these studies have identified strong links between long-term and short-term exposure to ozone to specific health ailments; other studies have linked air pollution to death rates in certain areas, or have begun to assess the negative impact of air pollution on health care costs and economic productivity.

We support a more stringent 8-hour ozone exposure standard which would better protect our health.

To view CAB’s comments to EPA, click here CAB comment ozone 2015

For more information from EPA, go to http://www.epa.gov/groundlevelozone/actions.html

DEP has declared an AIR QUALITY ACTION DAY for the SUSQUEHANNA VALLEY on Tuesday, March 10

Air Quality Action Day has been declared for Susquehanna Valley on Mar 10
Tomorrow’s Forecast
Tuesday, Mar 10: 105 AQI Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups Particle Pollution (2.5 microns)

Extended Forecast
Wednesday, Mar 11: 81 AQI Moderate Particle Pollution (2.5 microns)
Current Conditions: Our weather pattern has finally changed into something that more resembles March. High pressure is providing plenty of sunshine and milder air this Monday afternoon. Temperatures in many areas have moved past the 50 degree mark for the first time all year. Light winds with added warmth pushed fine particulate levels well into the moderate range this morning, but these concentrations are falling this afternoon with increasing winds. Overall, we will remain in the moderate range on average for today. Clear this evening, then clouds will increase and thicken later on tonight. Limited mixing and moisture advection will mean fine particulate levels rise into the code ORANGE range overnight. Low temperatures falling only into the lower 30s. ***Tuesday’s forecast: An Air Quality Action Day will be declared for Tuesday for elevated fine particulate concentrations. With plenty of low level moisture and near calm winds, concentrations should remain at code ORANGE levels through the day. Upper level flow from the southwest will send moisture our way in the form of rain later Tuesday afternoon and night. A little cooler than Monday with highs reaching into the lower to middle 40s. A shift in flow direction will turn the rain off later on Tuesday night, with fine particulate perhaps dropping some into the upper moderate zone.

For more information, go to http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.local_city&cityid=165 

Please comment on the smog plan

Your comments on the DEP proposal can be submitted directly to the Environmental Quality Board by June 30, 2014. Read CAB’s comments below.

Online Comments

Comments, including the one page summary, may be submitted to the EQB by accessing the EQB’s Online Public Comment System at:

http://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/RegComments

Note regarding the online system: If an acknowledgement of comments submitted online is not received by the sender within two business days, the comments should be re-sent to the EQB to ensure receipt.

Written Comments

Written comments and summaries can also be mailed to Environmental Quality Board, P.O. Box 8477, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8477.

All comments must be received by the EQB on or before the close of the public comment period, Monday, June 30, 2014

Air Quality Action Day declared for June 4

A(n) Air Quality Action Day has been declared for Susquehanna Valley, PA, on Friday, Jun 4
Tomorrow’s Forecast
Friday, Jun 4: 103 AQI Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups Ozone

Extended Forecast
Saturday, Jun 5: 78 AQI Moderate Ozone
Current Conditions: After a sunny, warm and dry afternoon across much of Pennsylvania yesterday, summertime humidity and the chance for showers and thunderstorms will make their return Thursday. Southwest flow around a departing ridge to our east will enhance the hazy, hot and humid conditions as the afternoon progresses. A weak trough to our north will slide across the state, igniting showers and thunderstorms in the moist and unstable airmass by evening. Some of these storms could be severe, with a few damaging wind gusts possible. Fortunately, these thunderstorms will quickly begin to dissipate after sunset. Ozone levels will be elevated due to the sunshine and stagnant airmass in place over the state, rising through the Moderate range before clouds and showers move through. Any rain we see this evening will temporarily reduce both Ozone and Particulate Matter levels to the lower Moderate range by Friday morning. *** Friday’s forecast: The trough moving into the region on Thursday will have a tough time advancing much farther south on Friday. Therefore, warm and muggy air with partly sunny skies will linger throughout much of the day. These factors, combined with an extremely stagnant airmass already in place over the region for the past few days, will result in Code Orange Ozone levels late Friday afternoon. This will be our first forecast Ozone Action Day of the season. Particulate Matter will be elevated into the Moderate range across the region as well. High temperatures will once again be much above normal for this time of year, reaching into the upper 80s by evening. *** Extended forecast: This weekend appears unsettled as two systems make a run at our region. On Saturday, expect fair skies and continued warm and muggy conditions for much of the afternoon. An area of low pressure will pass to our north later in the day, dragging scattered showers and thunderstorms through the region towards evening. Ozone levels could once again reach Unhealthy levels if the clouds and precipitation hold off till later in the day. On Sunday, a much stronger storm system will move into the region from the west. Potent upper level energy will push this low pressure and an associated cold front all the way through Pennsylvania by Sunday night. Expect mostly cloudy skies on Sunday with frequent showers and perhaps even some steadier rainfall. Air quality levels will drop overnight Saturday into the lower Moderate range for Sunday. A fresh, clean airmass will move into Pennsylvania following the departure of this storm system on Monday. Sunny skies and cool, dry conditions will finally return to the area for the first part of the work week. —Charnick—
Here are some Air Quality Action Day tips you can follow to help reduce pollution:

Days when ozone levels are expected to be high:

* Conserve electricity and set your air conditioner at a higher temperature.
* Choose a cleaner commute—share a ride to work or use public transportation. Bicycle or walk to errands when possible.
* Refuel cars and trucks after dusk.
* Combine errands and reduce trips.
* Limit engine idling.
* Use household, workshop, and garden chemicals in ways that keep evaporation to a minimum, or try to delay using them when poor air quality is forecast.

Days when particle pollution levels are expected to be high:

* Reduce or eliminate fireplace and wood stove use.
* Avoid using gas-powered lawn and garden equipment.
* Avoid burning leaves, trash and other materials.

from Susquehanna Air Quality Partnership