Friday, May 16, 2014

Victoria, TX High Ozone Examined

I'm working on a lengthy ozone blog in regard to the potential lowering of the 8 hour ozone standard by the EPA from 75 ppb. to 55 ppb. which will send nearly 100% of our cities (small and large) and many National Parks into "non-attainment" status. As some of you know, I sit on the AACOG (Alamo Area Council of Governments) Air Advisory Committee, and as such, I get to review air quality models and discuss these important issues. By July, AACOG hopes to complete many new model runs that will be very informative, including one that shows how much ozone readings would be reduced on a high ozone day, if everyone in Bexar County turned off their electricity, didn't drive, or go to work.
This graphic is from a recent model run from a high ozone episode in June of 2006 in the Victoria, TX area. This model includes emissions from 7 counties and as you can see on the graphic, only on two days, did ozone from the emissions go over 10 ppb. The rest of the ozone was produced by "Other Sources". Even so, if the EPA gets their way, Victoria would go into "non-attainment". BTW, Victoria only has a population of 65,000 people.
I am a proponent for changing the entire system and rewarding cities for lowering their emissions, regardless of what the ozone readings are, since ozone is primarily controlled by weather, which is uncontrollable. As it stands now, southern states are greatly penalized for being in areas that have more warm and sunny days than those in the higher latitudes.