DEP Issues Code Orange Air Quality Action Day for Jan 31

DEP Issues a Code Orange Air Quality Action Day Forecast for January 31, 2016 for Eight Counties in South-central PA

HARRISBURG, PA — The Department of Environmental Protection and its regional air quality partnerships have forecast a Code Orange air quality action day for particle pollution on Sunday, January 31, 2016 for Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Northampton, and York Counties.

On air quality action days, young children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems, such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis, are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and should limit outdoor activities.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standardized air quality index uses colors to report daily air quality. Green signifies good; yellow means moderate; orange represents unhealthy pollution levels for sensitive people; and red warns of unhealthy pollution levels for all.

Over the weekend, with a ridge of high pressure building in the south-central region of Pennsylvania from the southeastern US, warmer air will begin to build in over the commonwealth. On Sunday, the clear skies during the early morning hours coupled with the thick snowpack across eastern PA will allow for the formation of a strong surface inversion. The inversion will help to limit mixing near the ground, forcing an increase in particle pollution concentrations. Particle levels are expected to remain elevated during the afternoon as the winds remain light as they turn more out of the southeast. Overall, the daily average concentration of particle pollution should peak in the Code ORANGE range.

To help keep the air healthy, residents and business are encouraged to voluntarily restrict certain pollution-producing activities by:

• Limiting the use of wood stoves in the overnight hours;
• Setting thermostats to a lower temperature
• Carpooling or using public transportation; and
• Combining errands to reduce trips.

These forecasts are provided in conjunction with the Lehigh Valley-Berks Air Quality Partnership and the Susquehanna Valley Air Quality Partnership.

For more information, click here or visit

DEP extends air quality alert to Saturday and Sunday

A(n) Air Quality Action Day has been declared for Susquehanna Valley, PA, on Saturday, Dec 12
Tomorrow’s Forecast
Saturday, Dec 12: 105 AQI Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups Particle Pollution (2.5 microns)

Extended Forecast
Sunday, Dec 13: 104 AQI Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups Particle Pollution (2.5 microns)
Monday, Dec 14: 60 AQI Moderate Particle Pollution (2.5 microns)
Tuesday, Dec 15: 50 AQI Good Particle Pollution (2.5 microns)
*** Saturday’s Forecast: If conditions over the past few days had to be summarized using three words, a good choice would be to use foggy, hazy, and mild. All three of those will be the story for the weather again on Saturday. Temperatures have the potential to climb into the 60s, which is well above normal for almost the middle of December. Light surface winds and increasing moisture as warmer air moves in aloft ahead of the next approaching system may limit just how high these temperatures peak for the day as the fog will continue and should be tough to break under mostly cloudy conditions. Based on the light winds, warmer air moving in aloft, continually increasing moisture near the surface, and PM-2.5 concentrations already elevated in the high moderate range for some locations on Friday, it is expected that there will be at least a few scattered Code Orange readings across the region. There is a possibility that the fog becomes so thick that it seems as if a light rain is falling, which we sometimes see helps to clear out the air somewhat. This precipitating fog scenario likely would not occur across the entire area, perhaps more situational due to terrain/etc., so a continuation of expecting Code Orange PM-2.5 concentrations will continue. *** Sunday’s Forecast: Similar conditions as Saturday will occur on Sunday with the fog, haze, and above normal temperatures continuing. Moisture levels will continue to rise with the peak of the warm air aloft moving in overhead by late in the day. Temperatures are again expected to reach the 60s, but thick fog and mostly cloudy skies will yet again have a say in that. Unless concentrations fall across the region over the course of the day on Saturday, PM-2.5 should once again remain at levels high in the moderate range to low Code Orange range. *** Monday’s Forecast: The best chance for precipitation over this forecast period will be on Monday, but with the mild temperatures will be in the form of rain showers. Monday will see an interesting transition from the fog and haze from over the weekend to windy and wet. On average for the day, PM-2.5 concentrations will likely end up in the moderate range. The first few hours of the day could see concentrations continue at Code Orange levels that will fall over the course of the day as the winds increase and precipitation later arrives. Some locations could very well fall to the good range by the end of the day. If the fog struggles to lift over both days of the weekend, the increasing winds mixing the warmer air aloft down to the surface could result in the highest temperature over these three days occurring briefly on Monday. The precipitation will move out by late evening.

For more information, go to DEP news release

Centers for Disease Control and EPA announce Air Quality Awareness Week

Air Quality Awareness Week — April 27–May 1, 2015

Air quality awareness week infographic

April 24, 2015 / 64(15);425

CDC is collaborating with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to urge persons to learn how air quality affects health during Air Quality Awareness Week, April 27–May 1, 2015.

Although outdoor air quality has improved since the 1990s, many challenges remain. Ground-level ozone, the primary component of smog, and particle pollution are just two of the many factors that decrease air quality and might affect health. Particle pollution can cause eye, lung, and throat irritation and can cause a heart attack among persons with heart disease (1). Ozone exposure can worsen symptoms of asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema and can cause coughing and pain when taking a deep breath, lung and throat irritation, and wheezing and trouble breathing during exercise or outdoor activities (2).

EPA’s Air Quality Index (AQI) (3) predicts the level of pollution in the air each day and provides advice on healthy physical activity. The AQI is available on the internet, on many local TV weather forecasts, or as free e-mail tools and apps (4). The AQI includes information about the five major air pollutants in the United States that are regulated by EPA, including ozone and particle pollution.

Join experts from CDC, EPA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the National Park Service on Thursday, April 30, at 1:00 pm Eastern for a TwitterChat about air quality, physical activity, and health. Use the hashtag #AirQualityChat in chat messages to join the conversation.

Additional air quality and health information is available at and Web Site Icon.


  1. CDC. Particle pollution. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2014. Available at
  2. CDC. Ozone and your health. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2014. Available at
  3. Environmental Protection Agency. AirNow. Air quality index. Washington, DC: Environmental Protection Agency. Available at http://www.airnow.govExternal Web Site Icon.
  4. Environmental Protection Agency. AirNow. Air quality notifications. Washington, DC: Environmental Protection Agency. Available athttp://www.enviroflash.infoExternal Web Site Icon.

Getting Pennsylvania on board EPA’s plan to reduce Power Plant Carbon Emissions

EPA recently held public hearings on reducing the nation’s carbon emission from power plants by 30% by 2030. The Clean Air Board is sponsoring a forum to discuss the issues raised the EPA plan. Professor Michael Heiman (Dickinson College) will discuss the merits of the plan, followed by a panel discussion and questions and answers.

The talk will cover: How to Balance Effectiveness, Efficiency, and Equity. Why the Obama Administration Choose Direct Regulation to Address Carbon Emissions. What are Pennsylvania’s Options for Meeting the EPA’s Mandate? Professor Heiman will address the historic and current challenge in reducing carbon emissions to combat climate change. A panel of local experts will address the options Pennsylvania has to meet EPA’s targets.

Sept. 4, 7 pm. Dickinson College – Stafford Auditorium (Rector Science Complex), 301 W. Louther Street, Carlisle, PA
The community is invited. Parking is available across Louther Street by the Library.

To comment on the EPA rule, please follow this link:

State of the Air – 2014

The American Lung Association has released its State of the Air report for 2014. To see the full report, go to  Enter the zip code for your area for fine particulate measurements.  Cumberland Co. does not have an ozone monitor, so you will have to rely on the data from Dauphin Co.

Clean Air Board talks to AAUW

On March 25, 2014, Clean Air Board member Justina Wasicek talked to AAUW, Carlisle Branch, about local air quality.  See and hear the talk. Air Quality 2014

Support clean burning wood-heaters

Less wood smoke means healthier air

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed new limits on harmful air pollution from new wood-burning devices. These devices, such as boilers, furnaces, and stoves, can subject a neighborhood to dangerous air pollution. Wood smoke, which contains soot, carbon monoxide, and other toxic air pollutants, can trigger asthma attacks, cause cancer, and even cut short lives.

Wood smoke can pollute a neighborhood and can travel miles away. That means people who live nearby and far away can suffer from inhaling wood smoke. Strong standards will help ensure that new wood burning devices are much cleaner and do not further pollute our air. EPA needs to adopt these long-overdue standards to protect our health and our neighborhoods from harmful wood smoke-related air pollutants.

To send a comment to EPA, click on the American Lung Association link: