Air Quality Education & Information

Pollution Prevention Partnership (P3)

The Pollution Prevention Partnership provides public education and outreach regarding local air quality. P3 informs the community about their local air quality and how they can make a

difference including ozone action day information and recommendations.

According to local air quality studies, individuals make about 35% of the pollutants that make ozone, either by driving or the use of other combustion engines like lawnmowers and boats. Ozone can threaten our health and jeopardize Corpus Christi's attainment status of air quality standards.e including ozone action day information and recommendations.

Air quality in Corpus Christi is usually quite good.

In fact, Corpus Christi can be proud of the fact that we are the only industrial based city in the United States that is still in attainment of air quality standards established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

 

Questions & Answers:  Ozone and Air Quality

What is ozone?

Ozone is the result of a chemical reaction that happens when vapors (called VOCs) are released into the air and mix with pollutants from engines (called NOX or nitrous oxide) in the presence of sunlight. The vapors, or VOCs, come from things like gasoline, paints, paint thinner, etc. The pollutants called NOX come from engine combustion in power plants, compressors, and vehicles.


Is ozone good or bad?

Actually, ozone can be either good or bad, depending on where it is located. Stratospheric ozone is ozone that is high in the sky and located from about 10 miles high in the sky to about 30 miles high in the sky. This ozone is good ozone. It protects us from the sun's harmful ultra violet rays. Tropospheric ozone or ground level ozone is ozone that is located from the ground up to about 10 miles high in the sky. It is also known as smog. This smog or ozone is bad ozone because it is a pollutant and we breathe it. It can cause lung damage as well as damage to crops and vegetation. Although animal life is effected by toxic ozone levels it seems that plants are more sensitive to ozone than animals. VOC emissions result in toxic ozone levels during the prime growing season.


I hear a lot about ozone numbers and ozone levels. What do the numbers mean?

Just remember ... "good up high - bad nearby."Ozone levels are measured continuously by two TCEQ monitors located in our area. These levels are measured in parts per billion and this is the number that is reported. Detailed information on the monitors including location and data collections can be found at the TCEQ Website. The most current ozone readings for the Corpus Christi area can be found here.

Levels of ozone or numbers of 0-50 are good and should not be a concern. Levels of 51-100 may affect sensitive people such as asthmatics, children, and the elderly. Levels of 101-150 are unhealthy for these sensitive groups. Levels of 151 and above are very unhealthy for all people.


What is an attainment area?

Attainment means an area is "attaining" an air quality standard that is within acceptable standards established by the EPA. Corpus Christi is considered by the EPA to be an "attainment" area. By being in attainment, that means our area's ozone numbers fall below 70 ppb over a three-year period.

What is a non-attainment area?

A non-attainment area is an area that does not have good air quality and is not within EPA standards. Their ozone numbers are above 70 ppb over a three-year period. Once an area is declared to be non-attainment, strict rules may be placed on the area, much like what Houston is experiencing. These rules may include costly vehicle inspections, losing money to build highways, businesses not being allowed to expand, restricted hours for construction activities, etc.


What is an Ozone Action Day?

Ozone Action Days are days that are called by TCEQ. TCEQ meteorologists predict the possibility of an ozone action day, much like local weather personnel predict upcoming weather conditions. Weather conditions that are indications of an ozone action day are high temperatures and light winds. On ozone action days, we all need to take precautions to reduce the possibility of high levels of ozone.


What Should I do on an Ozone Action Day?

  • Limit driving - Rideshare, car pool, take the bus, walk, or ride a bike - Remember, cars and trucks make about 35% of our air pollution.
  • Wait to fuel up your vehicle until after 6:00 p.m. That way, the vapors you make do not cook like they do in the morning.
  • Keep your vehicle well-maintained. A poorly-maintained vehicle can pollute as much as 25 times more than a well-maintained vehicle. It costs a lot more to drive too.
  • Wait until after 6:00 p.m. or the next day to do yard chores. Many types of equipment, run for just a couple of hours, makes as much pollution as driving hundreds of miles.
  • Use cruise control on the highway.
  • Obey the speed limit.
  • Combine your errands into one trip.
  • Don't top off at the gas pumps.
  • Replace your car's air filter.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated.

How can Boaters Prevent Pollution?

Even with the new technology, the cooperation of individual boaters is essential in the effort to improve air quality and prevent pollution. Boaters can make a difference that will help protect the environment now and in the future by adopting the following
practices:

  • Limit engine operation at full throttle.
  • Eliminate unnecessary idling.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.
  • Prepare engines properly for winter storage.
  • Buy new, cleaner marine engines.

For boats designed for refueling with portable fuel containers, the following steps can help prevent fuel spills:

  • Pour slowly and smoothly.
  • Use a spout with an automatic stop device for better control.
  • Close the vent on the portable fuel containers for storage.
  • Transport and store gasoline out of direct sunlight in a cool, dry place.
  • Use caution when pumping gasoline into a container at the gas station.
  • Measure carefully if you mix gasoline and oil.


To request an air quality presentation to your group or exhibit at your event, please contact us.

Do you make a difference?