SUBLETTE COUNTY – As the winter ozone season gets under way in the Upper Green River Basin, the state’s Air Quality Division wants to let the public know about its new developments.
The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality’s AQD staff had a virtual meeting announcing the winter ozone updates that are now in place.
“We were pleased to have a number of folks from the general public, environmental groups, and industry who attended the meeting,” AQD Administrator Nancy Vehr said.
“We hope it was an informative session for everyone who attended and that we were able to introduce some of the new planning elements for 2021, in addition to covering the ongoing work the AQD has been undertaking in previous years.”
The mobile monitoring station on Paradise Road will continue to monitor air quality outside of the AQD’s long-term monitoring stations in the Upper Green that can be viewed at wyvisnet.com. There, AQD has added an almost real-time air quality conditions for the public and more access to historic air-quality conditions.
Also new this winter are a series of three YouTube videos introducing watchers to the DEQ-AQD’s Compliance Program. Also, the air emissions model developed from years of condensate pond studies will be implemented.
Continuing this season as in past years are ozone forecasts, engine maintenance assurance inspections, site visits and permitting measures to reduce ozone-forming precursors of volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxide.
Winter ground-level ozone – not a natural part of the atmosphere – was first detected in 2005 by AQD in the Upper Green River Basin, formed by emissions from human-caused combustion that released the precursors. It was learned that certain weather conditions caused emissions of VOCs and NOx to “cook” them and create ozone, which can have serious health effects on certain populations.
Equipment leaks have also been shown to release emissions that contribute to ground-level ozone.
Ozone eight-hour standards are set by the Environmental Protection Agency and have dropped several times since 2005, with AQD, scientists, operators and the public working to research and reduce winter ozone levels.
To learn more about the Upper Green River Basin, history of winter ozone and how to receive alerts, go to www.winterozone.org. To see current and historical air-quality monitoring stations’ data, visit wyvisnet.com.