DEVELOPMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Summer Ozone Season Begins June 1st
The monitoring period for summer ozone in El Paso County started June 1st.
During this period gasoline stations in El Paso will switch to Low Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) Gasoline. The monitoring period runs through Sept. 15.
The effort aims to help reduce hydrocarbon emissions from vehicles, which contribute to ozone pollution.
As part of the monitoring period, the Air Quality Program of the City of El Paso Environmental Services Department will collect and analyze gasoline samples from the gasoline stations. The monitoring ensures that the gasoline being dispensed meets the RVP requirement of 7.0 pounds per square inch, which is necessary to reduce outdoor ozone levels.
Ozone is a major health and environmental concern in the region during the summer because as temperatures increase so do ozone levels and the health risks associated with ozone pollution. At ground level, ozone pollution can be harmful to everyone, especially the young, the elderly and individuals with respiratory ailments.
Ground-level ozone pollution is formed when emissions from everyday items combine with other pollutants and “cook” in the heat and sunlight. Sources of such emissions include local industry, gasoline-powered vehicles and lawn equipment, and household paints, stains and solvents.
The highest ozone levels are usually recorded in summer months when temperatures reach the 90s and above and when the wind is stagnant or light. High levels of ozone pollution often affect healthy people who work or exercise outdoors and can cause breathing difficulties, eye irritation and reduced resistance to lung infections and colds with exposure for prolonged periods.
By taking a few small steps local residents can help keep ground-level ozone in check, particularly on Ozone Action days, which is when weather conditions are ripe for producing ozone.
Drive less – walk when you can, group errands, take public transportation and carpool whenever possible.
Mow the lawn in the evening after 5 p.m. or use earth-friendly lawn equipment.
Refuel your vehicle in the evening after 5 p.m.
“Stop at the click” – do not overfill gas tanks when refueling.
Keep vehicles regularly maintained.
Tighten gas caps after refueling.
Avoid solvent-based products use water-based paint, stain and sealants.
Sign up for Ozone Action Day alerts at www.tceq.state.tx.us/compliance/monitoring/air/monops/ozone_email.html. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality provides free e-mail alters for ozone forecasts and ozone warnings.