2011 Aug. 23: CA Fresno: Strict limits on winter fireplace use have helped reduce pollution (particulates)
Air quality officials in one of the nation’s most polluted basins are appealing to residents’ sense of civic responsibility to try to save the region from an extension of a federal fine for ozone pollution.
The San Joaquin air basin in California’s Central Valley became the first in the nation to be fined last year for failing to meet the federal deadline for reducing ozone pollution.
(The Central Valley) Its trough-like shape means that pollution from northern areas is sucked south, where most of the violations historically have been recorded.
The mountains have been increasingly more visible over the last several years as cutbacks in agricultural burning and dust went into effect along with school bus retrofitting, farm diesel engine upgrades, and strict limits on winter fireplace use.
“The challenge that we have is these mountains,” said district spokeswoman Jaime Holt. “We get these inversion levels and it’s perfect for creating and trapping pollution. We are not polluting as much as other areas, but it has no place to go.”
The 2010 violations that triggered the fine occurred during back-to-school week after eight months of no problems, Holt said.
Tuesday was the first day of the alert, and officials said it was unclear yet whether drivers were heeding the warnings. Though the ozone rate recorded in North Fresno, one of the stations with the highest violations, moved from 16 ppb at 8 a.m. Monday to 23 ppb at the same school commute time Tuesday, inversion layers trapping pollution could be contributing to the buildup.
The highest rate recorded in Fresno on Monday was 70 ppb at 4 p.m. If it exceeds 125 ppb for any one-hour period the region will be in violation and have to start over in 2012, which means the fine will remain for at least four years.
There is an upside to the fine. All of the money comes back to the air district to use for other pollution-reducing programs, such as a popular electric-for-gasoline lawnmower exchange.
California Central Valley air board asks for regional cooperation …
… reductions in both ozone and particulate pollution over the past 15 years. … Tuesday was the first day of the alert, and officials said it was unclear …
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