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EPA Sets New Standards for Ground Level Ozone

Springfield's ground level ozone numbers slightly exceed the new standards set this week by the EPA. Michele Skalicky has more.

In a follow-up to a story we brought you earlier this week, the EPA has set new standards for ground level ozone. The new numbers are .075 parts per million or 75 parts per billion for both primary and secondary.

Doug Neidigh (NYE-dig) is air quality control program coordinator for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. He says the previous standards for primary and secondary were set at 84 parts per billion. According to Neidigh, they weren't too surprised by the new standards.

The EPA standard for ground level ozone is required to be reviewed every five years. Neidigh says the standard was changed because of new health data that shows that people exposed to ground level ozone at lower concentrations were experiencing adverse health affects.

Current ground level ozone levels in Springfield are at 77 parts per billion—just above the newly set standards. Work continues to lower that even further. In '07, the Ozarks Clean Air Alliance was formed thru the Community Partnership of the Ozarks. More than 35 organizations throughout SW MO are participating in that initiative. The Alliance is studying ways to further reduce air pollution in SW MO.

In January, they began developing a clean air action plan aimed at reducing ground level ozone. It's a set of voluntary strategies that local governments, businesses, organizations and the general public can implement to reduce ground level ozone.

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