Washington state plans to submit a draft recommendation to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency saying that Washington generally meets new tougher federal air quality standards for ozone, but lacks information on Benton, Franklin and Walla Walla counties.
The three Mid-Columbia counties would be considered “unclassified” until at least three years of ozone data is collected.
“We’ve monitored ozone in the Tri-Cities for only one year,” said atmospheric scientist Ranil Dhammapala of the Washington State Department of Ecology.
The Department of Ecology is conducting a study on ozone levels in the Tri-Cities to pinpoint the origin of Tri-City ozone levels that appear to reach high levels on occasion.
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High ozone levels near the ground can harm delicate tissues in respiratory systems, particularly if people are elderly, very young or have chronic respiratory or heart conditions.
Ecology is taking comments on its draft filing through Sept. 16 at AQComments@ecy.wa.gov or by mailing Joanna Ekrem, Department of Ecology, PO Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600.
More information is available at bit.ly/2cuW5Ln.