Coweta re-designated as 'nonattainment' for air pollution

From Staff Reports
news@newnan.com
The U.S. Environmental Protection Division has re-designated Coweta, and 14 other Georgia counties, as “reviewed” areas for ground level ozone pollution.
The re-designation comes just a few short months after the region was officially declared “in attainment” of the ozone air quality standard.
Previously, the 1997 standard of 0.8 parts per billion was used to determine whether or not areas were considered in attainment or nonattainment of air quality standards.
As of Tuesday, the EPA now uses the 2008 standard of 0.75 parts per billion. The EPA released a long list of counties throughout the country that are nonattainment for ozone.
The Georgia counties are considered “marginal” when it comes to nonattainment. Some counties in other states are listed as moderate, severe, or, in the case of Los Angeles and California’s San Joaquin Valley, extreme.
“This more stringent standard better protects public health,” said Chris Glazier, spokesman for Georgia’s The Clean Air Campaign.
All of the nonattainment counties are in the metro-Atlanta area.
The metro-Atlanta area officially reached attainment early this year, said Brian Carr, communications director for The Clean Air Campaign. Not all metro-counties failed under the new standard.
“There are some places that have cause to celebrate,” Carr said. “Where as it is 15 counties today, in the past it would have been greater than 20.”

“Progress is being made,” Carr said.

The ozone standard is set to be revisited in 2013. Under the Clean Air Act, the standard has to be reviewed every five years, Carr said.

Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division has already been using the 2008 ozone standard in forecasting Smog Alerts and reporting when areas in the state have bad air days, “so no significant increase in Smog Alerts or ozone violations is expected,” Glazier said.

“We still have work to do to clean our air,” Glazier said. “In metro-Atlanta, vehicle emissions account for almost 50 percent of smog-forming emissions.

“Since this is also Air Quality Awareness Week in Georgia, now is the perfect time for commuters and employers to consider finding a better way to work,” Glazier said.

The Clean Air Campaign works with Georgia employers, commuters, and schools to encourage “clean commuting” and other air-friendly actions. The organization also distributes smog alerts.

The announcement coincides with the start of “smog season,” which began May 1. That is also when the annual burn ban went into effect.

Most outdoor burning is prohibited during the burn ban. Only recreational fires, such as camp fires, are allowed.

There are also some exceptions for specific agricultural burning, such as burning stubble off of fields.



More Local

Cheek to head state school facilities association

Coweta County School System Director of Facilities Ronnie Cheek has been named president of the Georgia Association of School Facility Admin ... Read More


Bullying in Coweta County: A victim’s story

Twelve-year-old Jennifer Jarvis knows first-hand the effects of bullying. Jarvis claims she has been bullied since the first days of element ... Read More


US citizenship requires test...and a long wait

US citizenship requirements include testing, and a long wait By Sarah Fay Campbell sarah@newnan.com On Nov. 14, more than 50 immigrants bec ... Read More


Video series depicts Battle of Brown’s Mill

Visitor’s to the Brown’s Mill Battlefield, and those around the world interested in the battle, can now view seven videos about ... Read More


Veterans to be honored at Christmas parade

Newnan’s hometown heroes will be grand marshals for this year’s Christmas parade. The parade will be Saturday, Dec. 13, beginnin ... Read More

WASA to issue up to $19.4 million in bonds

The Coweta County Water and Sewer Authority will be issuing some $19.4 million in bonds, which will be used to pay off bonds that were issue ... Read More