By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont counties are going on the list. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to identify counties that are not in compliance with new smog standards, which measure the average amount of ozone created during an eight-hour period every day, as opposed to the current method of measuring ozone for one hour daily.
In April, the U.S. EPA will publish the list of counties that are out of compliance with the new standard. Ohio and the counties will then have three years to develop a plan to come into compliance.
Ozone is a lung irritant that is generated when air pollution mixes with stagnant air, sunlight and hot weather. The main contributors to ozone-producing air pollution are gasoline-burning engines and coal-fired power plants. Older people, young children and anyone who spends a great deal of time outdoors are vulnerable to high ozone.
Cory Chadwick, director of Hamilton County Environmental Services which also is responsible for monitoring ozone in Butler, Warren and Clermont counties, said the new standard will be a positive step. He said all four counties are just barely in noncompliance. He said programs such as new equipment for power plants and new emission control equipment on cars - will help the counties.
Ohio EPA officials are accepting public comment on the issue through Friday. Written comments can be directed to Bill Spires, Ohio EPA, Division of Air Pollution Control, P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, OH 43215.
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