Yesterday, the Keller ozone monitor recorded an 8-hour average of 90ppb. It became the monitor’s fourth-highest reading for the summer, and thus, its “design value” in TCEQ jargon – the reading that sticks and becomes the measuring stick for progress toward getting below the 1997 federal standard of 85 ppb. And we’re not doing so well right now.

Keller’s design value on Tuesday was in the high 70’s. On Wednesday it was 85ppb. On Thursday it was 90ppb. It’s been a good week for bad air in DFW.

As fate would have it, this new and bad design value, (the first in the 90’s range since 2009), occurred on “Clean Air Action Day,” the official local government and business-sponsored effort to encourage car pooling, biking and such during ozone season (raising hell with local governments and businesses to clean the air never seems to make their list). Despite “companies doing their share for cleaner air” DFW busted the 85ppb standard sooner than we have in years.

Seems like only yesterday officialdom was declaring that “July isn’t a traditional high ozone month.” Someone forgot to tell July.

A higher design value for 2011 makes it less likely that even a good showing in 2012 can save us from the three year average over 85ppb that will signal the failure of the TCEQ “do-over” SIP and the need for a third try.

2010’s design value was 85ppb. Even if 2012 saw a design value of 84ppb – something that has never happened – this year’s 90 ppb gives you a three-year average of 86.3. That’s just about back where we started when this air plan process began, and still in “non-attainment” with the Clean Air Act. We’re not “really close” to getting below 85ppb anymore, we getting further away.

The TCEQ isn’t predicting a high ozone day for Friday, despite a weather forecast containing many of the elements that would make it one. We could use a breather.

Update:
Oops. TCEQ is now predicting a high ozone day today. So take an oxygen tank with you when you go out and hope the design value doesn’t go up to 95ppb.

Is This the Day DFW Fails the 85 ppb Ozone Standard…Again? Yes it Was.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Yesterday, Keller recorded a 90ppb ozone reading, a violation of the 1997 85 ppb federal standard. That makes the July 5th high of 85 ppb recorded at Keller the fourth highest number for that site this year, and thus, Keller becomes the first DFW ozone monitoring site to record the 2011 official failure to reach the old standard. And there you have it, a nicely-wrapped present for the business-sponsored Clean Air Action Day! that occurring even as we speak today.

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