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New Year’s weekend air quality exceeds health standard

Air pollution data shows levels 2 ½ times the limit New Year’s Day

 

January 3, 2012 [MARICOPA COUNTY] - Despite woodburning restrictions and enforcement by Air Quality Department inspectors, Maricopa County’s air quality failed to meet health standards for fine particulate matter over New Year’s weekend. 

 

The Air Quality Department issued No Burn Day, woodburning, restrictions Saturday and Sunday based on the air quality forecast and rising fine particulate pollution levels.  The purpose of the No Burn Day is to avoid adding pollution to our air when the forecast suggests air quality will approach or exceed the federal health standard.

 

Air monitoring data shows the 24-hour average of fine particulate pollution reached 61.3µg/m³ on New Year’s Eve and then peaked to 89.2 µg/m³; well above the federal health standard of 35 µg/m³.

 

Woodburning restrictions are governed by Maricopa County Rule 314 and Ordinance P-26; residential woodburning.  While the regulations restrict general fireplace use and outdoor fires, there are exemptions to the rule including sole source of heat, gas powered fires, grilling or food preparation and fireworks displays. 

 

The key to improving air quality on No Burn Days is to improve public awareness of the impact of burning on air quality and the realization of a shift in public attitudes toward woodburning when conditions indicate the impact of air quality will be severe. 

 

There are several ways you can learn about No Burn Day restrictions:

  • Log on to www.CleanAirMakeMore.com to find out if today is a No Burn Day.
  • Sign up to receive email alerts or text messages when a No Burn Day is issued at www.CleanAirMakeMore.com and click “Make the Commitment.”
  • Download the Clean Air Make More Desktop Widget which automatically updates with the current air quality forecast and restrictions.  Find step-by-step instructions for the download on our website here: www.CleanAirMakeMore.com/widget.html.
  • Call the Maricopa County Burn Line at (602) 506-6400 for a recorded message in English and Spanish.

 

 

BACKGROUND:

Maricopa County Ordinance P-26: Residential Woodburning Restriction http://www.maricopa.gov/aq/divisions/planning_analysis/rules/docs/P26-0803.pdf

Rule 314: Open Outdoor Fires and Indoor Fireplaces at Commercial and Institutional Establishments http://www.maricopa.gov/aq/divisions/planning_analysis/rules/docs/314-0803.pdf

 

PARTICULATE MATTER BACKGROUND: State and county agencies measure PM-10 and PM-2.5 which are extremely small solid particles and liquid droplets found circulating in the air. PM, or particulate matter, comes from either combustion (cars, industry, woodburning) or dust stirred up into the air. High levels of PM are typically created when the air is especially stagnant or especially windy.

 

PM-10 stands for particulate matter measuring 10 microns or less. PM-2.5 stands for particulate matter measuring 2.5 microns or less. To put this in perspective, one strand of human hair is 70-100 microns in size.

 

 

About Maricopa County Air Quality Department

 

The Maricopa County Air Quality Department is a regulatory agency whose goal is to ensure federal clean air standards are achieved and maintained for the residents and visitors of Maricopa County. The department is governed by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and follows air quality standards set forth by the federal Clean Air Act.

 

The department offers air quality information and resources on its Clean Air Make More website.  Visit www.CleanAirMakeMore.com to learn more.

 

Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/cleanairmakemor   

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