Washington Dept. of Ecology seeking comment on EPA filling showing compliance with new ozone standards
The recommendation, which is available for public comment through Sept. 16, asserts that Washington’s counties meet the stricter ozone standards established by the EPA last year. States must provide information about the counties and regions under their jurisdiction by Oct. 1. While Ecology’s recommendation asserts that the state meets the standards on a comprehensive level, the department has had to earmark Benton, Franklin and Walla Walla counties as “unclassified” due to a lack of data.
“Being marked as unclassified means that we haven’t collected enough data to make a recommendation,” Ecology Atmospheric Scientist Ranil Dhammapala said. “We’ve monitored ozone in the Tri-Cities for only one year and the EPA standard requires three years of monitoring data.”
Ozone is a beneficial gas when found in the upper atmosphere, where it filters radiation from sunlight, but at a ground level it can be damaging to human respiratory systems, especially those of young children, the elderly and people with chest or heart conditions.