DEEP Forecasts Elevated Levels of Ozone on Wednesday
(HARTFORD)—Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is expecting very warm weather on Wednesday, which will contribute to elevated ozone levels across western Connecticut. These levels may approach or exceed Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (USG) levels for parts of Connecticut on July 27, 2022.
“Last week’s heat wave has largely subsided and many people are outdoors for all types of gatherings and recreational activities,” said DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes. “However, we are in the middle of our “ozone season” and we are expecting elevated ozone levels in western Connecticut tomorrow, including all of Litchfield and Fairfield Counties.”
“Vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly and those with respiratory diseases, and even healthy adults who spend prolonged periods outdoors working or exercising should take care to recognize the effects of both air pollution and heat and be prepared to curtail strenuous activity,” said Dykes.
Health Effects of Air Pollution
When air quality is forecasted to be USG, there is an increased likelihood individuals in sensitive groups will develop respiratory symptoms and may experience shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Children and people with asthma or other lung disease are most at risk for experiencing these symptoms. Active children and adults, and people with impaired lung function or cardiovascular disease should limit prolonged outdoor exertion. Peak ozone levels generally occur between 2-8 PM EDT, so make sure you get your activity or exercise in before or after these times to minimize adverse health effects.
After a brief reprieve from the extreme heat and humidity on Tuesday, temperatures will rise into the upper 80s on Wednesday. High pressure will continue to build into the Northeast as a cold front slowly approaches from the Great Lakes region. This front will push high pressure offshore as the day progresses. Mostly sunny skies are expected with calm winds in the morning becoming southwest around noon before shifting south in the late afternoon.
What You Can Do to Help
While ozone levels in the northeast have improved significantly over the last 30 years, Connecticut continues to struggle to meet both the 2008 and the 2015 federal health-based standards for ozone, which are necessary to protect families and children from unhealthy air pollution.
Our state has made great strides to reduce air pollution, including recently passed legislation such as Public Act 22-25, which includes Gov. Lamont’s proposal to adopt California’s emissions standards for medium and heavy-duty vehicles, and establishes several new programs and initiatives concerning electric vehicle use and reduction of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. DEEP continues to pursue tools and strategies to address stationary and mobile sources of ozone, and will continue to demand that EPA and upwind states reduce regional air pollution transported into Connecticut.
Additionally, there are steps that we can all take to reduce our contribution to local air pollution. DEEP recommends simple, common-sense steps to reduce air pollution and may even help save you some money at the same time!
- Drive Clean –consider purchasing or leasing an electric vehicle. Learn more by visiting: www.driveelectricus.com and CHEAPR - Home (ct.gov);
- Drive Less - consider carpooling, vanpooling, using public transit or even telecommuting;
- Reduce or Shift Energy Demand – purchase energy efficient products like ENERGY STAR® LED lights and ENERGY STAR® air conditioning, use programmable thermostats set to 78o or higher when no one is home, and use energy intensive appliances like washing machines, dryers and dishwashers later in the day;
- Be Aware of Your Air -Understand the Air Quality Index and sign up to receive alerts so you will know when air quality is predicted to be unhealthy; and
- Small changes add up - When you know there will be an unhealthy air day-make small changes to your routine:
- Refuel your vehicle after dusk and stop refueling when the nozzle clicks off,
- Avoid idling your vehicle unnecessarily and keep tire pressures at their recommended level,
- Delay mowing your lawn or using other lawn and garden equipment,
- Limit your outdoor activity in the heat of the day,
- Refrain from recreational wood burning;
- Remember that knowledge is power! Ask your school if they participate in the School Flag Program, EPA’s Air Quality awareness tool that uses colored flags based on the AQI to notify teachers, students, administrators and the local community of air quality conditions.
Stay connected and access the daily AQI forecast and real-time air quality data
- Follow us on Twitter
- Sign up to get Air-Quality alerts through Enviroflash
- Visit DEEP’s AQI webpage or call 800-249-1234
- Go to EPA’s AIRNow web page
- Download EPA’s AIRnow app for your phone
Ozone Monitoring Season
DEEP monitors, tracks and forecasts daily air quality levels across Connecticut for ozone from May 1st through September 30th each year and for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) each day of the year. On April 30, 2022, DEEP began informing Connecticut’s regulated community and the general public of the ozone season via the State of Connecticut E-mail list serve and posting air quality forecasts on the DEEP web page, available here.
DEEP encourages daycare providers, summer camps and elder/senior centers to subscribe to the Air Quality Index (AQI). Subscribing to the AQI is fast and easy and will provide you with important information each day about Connecticut’s air quality through the spring and summer. The AQI link provides facts and information regarding ground-level ozone, its’ health effects, what today on high ozone day, and most importantly what you can do to help reduce ground level ozone in your backyard.