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Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency is expanding the tools for citizen science! Citizen science is the practice of public participation and collaboration in scientific research to increase scientific knowledge. Through citizen science, people share and contribute to data monitoring and collection programs. The Agency recently added a few new monitoring tools to expand the citizen science offerings in Southwest Ohio. The new monitors are “Purple Air” devices that provide an accurate and low-cost way to measure smoke, dust, and other particulate air pollution and then collect and report data in real-time via the internet. Take a look for yourself! The Agency plans to locate the monitors at high interest locations and hope to use as an education tool in classrooms settings in the future.  

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The Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency also operates an extensive 18-site monitoring network throughout the region in cooperation with U.S. and Ohio EPA.

Posted by joy.landry  On Aug 03, 2021 at 3:48 PM
  

This Friday is National Bike to Work Day. If you are considering bicycle commuting this year, congratulations on reducing vehicle emissions. Every little bit helps. Before you make that first bicycling commute, it's important to be prepared. Here are a few tips.

1.     Know the rules of the road! For your safety, and others, be sure you understand the rules of road for cyclists here in Ohio.

2.     Select a safe route. You may want to drive your route, during non-peak times, to be sure your route is safe. Look for wide berms. Anticipate busy intersections and understand the traffic light cycles, especially for multi-lane intersections with right and left turn only lanes and signals. Avoid construction zones.bike commuter

3.     Map your route: you can use this easy online tool to determine the distance of your route from home to your worksite: https://www.gmap-pedometer.com/

4.     Since we’re talking safety, it’s a good idea to have your bike tuned up before you begin riding each season. A tune-up and safety check includes tire wear and inflation; brake pad wear; the strength and lubrication of the chain; and the effectiveness of the gear shifters and corresponding chainrings and crank. In addition, a thorough bike tune-up will ensure that your rims are “true”, that is, perfectly circular, with no bends or weak spokes.

5.     Ok, last safety tip: be sure to wear a well-fitting helmet. Helmets are lightweight and comfortable, while designed to protect your head. This handy guide lists top rated helmets by Consumer Reports.

Happy cycling!

Posted by joy.landry  On May 18, 2021 at 10:15 AM
  

March is the official start of ozone season. The Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency is required by U.S. EPA to monitor and report ozone concentrations each year from March 1 through October 31.

Ozone is a secondary air pollutant which means it is a combination of other air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds. These pollutants come predominantly from vehicle exhaust and industrial emissions. In the presence of sunlight and warmer temperatures, nitrogen oxides and VOCs combine to form ozone.
ozone

Ozone can be harmful to people’s lungs, especially those who have asthma or other respiratory illnesses. When ozone concentrations exceed good or moderate levels, the Agency issues an Air Quality Alert, a public message designed to raise awareness of elevated air pollution.

Our region typically experiences Air Quality Alerts from May through August, when summer weather conditions are ideal for higher ozone concentrations. Be prepared now by signing up for Enviroflash, a free service that emails or texts you when an Air Quality Alert is issued.

Posted by joy.landry  On Mar 02, 2021 at 1:52 PM
  

COVID-19 has limited our staff’s ability to conduct in-person facility inspections. However, Ohio and federal air regulations compliance must be maintained. One of our offices’ responsibilities is to oversee any demolition or renovation projects that include the removal of asbestos.

Our team works with contractors who remove asbestos by conducting virtual inspections. Contractors are required to follow specific procedures when removing asbestos. They are required to complete a safety checklist and demonstrate that they are complying with Ohio EPA rules and regulations for asbestos removal. Our staff observes asbestos removal and bagging virtually.

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To learn more about asbestos, visit our website at SouthwestOhioAir.org.

Posted by joy.landry  On Nov 17, 2020 at 11:41 AM 4 Comments
  
Stack test observations are the responsibility of the Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency. These tests are performed to determine the types and amounts of air pollutants emitted from industrial sources. Stack tests consist of taking quantitative air samples from exhaust stacks and analyzing these samples to determine pollutant concentrations and mass emission rates. The pollutant emission rate established by a source test must be less than the allowable rate specified in the facility's permit to operate.

 When COVID-19 shut down the State of Ohio, the Agency took advantage of digital technology and made use of Zoom to conduct virtual stack tests. The Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency was the first local air agency in the state to implement this procedure. Since June, the Agency has observed 44 stack tests, helping to ensure that industries are minimizing their air emissions.

To learn more about stack testing, visit our website at southwestohioair.org.

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Posted by joy.landry  On Oct 08, 2020 at 11:00 AM
  
Many residents are making the best of the Stay at Home order by doing yard work and cleaning out garages and sheds. Unfortunately, the Agency is seeing a rise in open burning, perhaps because residents cannot properly dispose of yard trimmings. Please, do not burn yard trimmings and other materials at this time. Burning woods and other organic materials releases particles in the air that are harmful to everyone's respiratory systems, and especially those with asthma. 
It's important for residents to know the regulations for open burning:
  • It is illegal to burn garbage, rubber, plastic, and oil-based materials, and dead animals. 
  • Recreational fires made only of clean, seasoned firewood are permitted. They may not exceed 3 feet wide by 2 feet high.
  • Any fire larger than a recreational fire, such as agricultural burns, requires a permit from the Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency.
  • Some communities require a permit from its fire department. Learn before you burn and consult with your local fire department
fire pit

For additional information and resources, please visit our website. If you are concerned about Open Burning in your neighborhood, contact the Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency. Be a good neighbor and refrain from outdoor fires. 

Now is great opportunity to start a backyard compost pile - it's easy. Learn how with guidance from Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District
Posted by joy.landry  On Apr 16, 2020 at 1:47 PM 5 Comments
  

The air quality industry sure loves its acronyms. AQI, PM, NAAQS – what does it all mean?

Here are some common industry terms that will have you talking air quality jargon like a pro!

AQI: Air Quality Index, the industry standard for informing the public about air quality for any given city or region in the United States.

CTG: Control techniques guidelines are EPA documents designed to assist state and local air quality agencies to achieve and maintain air quality standards for specific sources. 

U.S. EPA: United States Environmental Protection Agency, an independent federal agency responsible for maintaining and enforcing national standards for clean air and water. The EPA was founded on July 9, 1970.

NAAQS: National Ambient Air Quality Standards: these are ambient air pollution limitations  enforced across the country for six air pollutants that the U.S. EPA has identified as being harmful to public health. They are ozone, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, and particulate matter.

NCore: a multi-pollutant ambient air monitoring station that is part of a national core network of similar sites across the country. The Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency’s NCore site is located at its main offices in Corryville.

NOx: Nitrogen oxides, are collectively referred to as “nocks”. Nitrogen oxides can be found in vehicle and industrial emissions. They aggravate breathing, especially for those who respiratory illnesses such as asthma.

ppb: Parts per billion, the unit of measurement for some gaseous pollutant concentrations. One part per billion means one molecule out of one billion total molecules.
For example, the EPA standard for sulfur dioxide is 75 ppb. Concentrations that surpass 75 ppb as a one-hour average are considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.

PM: Particulate matter, also known as particle pollution. PM is measured in two size fractions: PM10 and PM2.5, referring to the microns in diameter of the particles. 

VOC: volatile organic compounds, are gases emitted from certain liquids and solids that may contribute to the formation of ozone. Examples of common products that include VOCs are oil-based paints and gasoline.

Want to learn more? The EPA has 1,987 terms and acronyms in its online glossary!

Posted by joy.landry  On Mar 11, 2020 at 9:55 AM
  

The Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency (Agency) is gearing up for pollen and mold season. The Agency will begin counting and posting pollen and mold data on Tuesday, February 18, weather permitting. While it may seem early to begin counting, cedar and elm trees typically begin to pollinate in February.  The results are posted on the Agency’s website and social media platforms.

pollen countingThe Agency provides pollen and mold counts as a public service each year from February through November. Counts are performed Monday through Friday. The sampler is located at the Agency’s office and it captures a sample one minute in each ten minutes for a 24-hour period. Residents who suffer from allergies may find the counts helpful for tracking symptoms that correspond with the prevalent allergens of that day.

Posted by joy.landry  On Feb 13, 2020 at 3:00 PM 1 Comment
  

The Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency would like to share with you a U.S. EPA grant opportunity to reduce diesel emissions. Public services/works departments, county park systems, county engineers, and other public organizations that manage fleets may wish to apply. Eligible diesel vehicles include Class 5 – Class 8 heavy duty highway vehicles and non-road engines, equipment or vehicles used in construction. 

Applications are due on February 26. For more information and to access the Request for Applications, visit www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/clean-diesel-national-grants.

The Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency is your regional resource for air quality monitoring, permitting, and regulations. Visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Posted by joy.landry  On Jan 16, 2020 at 3:13 PM
  

Congratulations to Paul Tedtman who is calling it a career!

 

Paul

Paul served in the Army as a weather observer in White Sands, New Mexico where the military conducted testing and evaluation of new equipment, including rockets. After his service, Paul earned his BS in Meteorology at Penn State. The meteorology field was very saturated at the time and Paul accepted a job with Environmental Services in 1980. He pursued his Master’s Degree in Environmental Science at the University of Cincinnati. Beginning in 1985, Paul worked as an air quality consultant in private industry, returning to the Agency in 2003. Paul served as an Area Supervisor in the Agency's Permitting and Enforcement Division.

Paul liked the opportunity to see and learn different industrial operations. He enjoyed the variety of his work and learning new things. “Of course, I would remiss if I did not say that I thoroughly enjoyed working with my great co-workers at DOES!” says Paul.

 

“The Agency will be losing 43 years of air quality experience with Paul’s retirement. Paul was the Agency expert in air quality modeling and New Source Review,” states Assistant Director Brad Miller. “He will be greatly missed and we wish him well in retirement.”

Posted by joy.landry  On Nov 15, 2019 at 1:04 PM 4 Comments
  
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