2010 Feb. 12: IA Quad Cities: Despite alerts, Q-C air quality probably OK

2010 Feb. 12: IA Quad Cities: Despite alerts, Q-C air quality probably OK

Kurt Allemeier | Posted: Friday, February 12, 2010 10:54 pm | No Comments Posted

Despite recent air-quality alerts, the Quad-Cities is likely to remain in compliance with federal standards.
Friday, the fine particulate level in Davenport was 36 parts per billion, just above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency threshold of 35. Last week, an air-quality alert issued by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources showed the fine particulate level in Davenport at 44 parts per billion.
Moist, calm air, which was prevalent in the Quad-City area late last week, can contribute to poor air quality, according to a University of Iowa report.
The air-quality statistics will be made official in April, and the Quad-Cities likely will remain below the EPA threshold, Gena McCullough, a planner for the Bi-State Regional Commission, said Friday, citing the University of Iowa report.
Bi-State’s air-quality task force met Friday and discussed the U.S. EPA’s revised ozone standards. The task force is comprised of public officials, business representatives and residents.
The Quad-Cities has two ozone monitoring sites, at Scott County Park and on Rock Island Arsenal. The Iowa Quad-Cities measured 66 parts per billion, while the Arsenal site measured 62, below the 75 parts per billion threshold. The EPA is considering lowering the threshold to 70 or even 60 parts per billion.
"If the standard is set at 60, the Iowa Quad-Cities would be in nonattainment," McCullough told the task force.
The new standard is expected to be approved in August, followed by attainment requirements by December 2013.
Tim Daugherty, of the Scott County Health Department, was the only member of the task force to comment on the revised standard, saying from a health standpoint, his agency would lean toward the lower revised standard.
"We are always going to adhere to the lower standard for health reasons, but we can understand the economic issues," he said. "Where is the happy middle ground?"
If an area fails to meet the EPA standards, it can face "transportation conformity" that would require transportation projects receiving federal money to be studied first to determine its effect on air quality.
When the Quad-Cities reached attainment of the federal air-quality standards last year, the purchase of more hybrid vehicles and more fuel-efficient vehicles, as well as bans of leaf burning, were cited as steps that were necessary to get the fine particulate measurements below the standard.

Posted in Government-and-politics, Local, Health-med-fit, Health on Friday, February 12, 2010 10:54 pm Updated: 10:52 am. | Tags: Air Quality, U.s. Environmental Protection Agency, Iowa Department Of Natural Resources, Gena Mccullough, Bi-state Regional Commission, University Of Iowa, Scott County Park, Rock Island Arsenal, Tim Daugherty, Scott County Health Department,

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