Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is forecasting the multi-day ozone event of June 10-12 will continue through June 13 and air quality along Connecticut’s coastline will reach as high as Unhealthy for all segments of the population on Tuesday.
The hot air mass in place for the past several days will continue into Tuesday with highs in the 90s. The sunny, hot weather will enable additional transported and homegrown emissions to mix into the secondary pollutant of ozone contributing to the poor air quality. On Tuesday evening, a cold front will move into the state from the Northwest enabling cooler temperatures and limiting the poorest of air quality to the southeastern portion of the state.
Health Effects of Air Pollution and What You Should Do
When air quality is in the Unhealthy category, there is a greater likelihood that certain populations will experience respiratory symptoms and breathing discomfort. Children and people with asthma or other respiratory disease are most at risk for experiencing symptoms.
“During heat waves and multi-day ozone episodes,” Deep Commissioner Rob Klee said, “parents of active children, active adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion and pay close attention to how they feel while outside. Peak ozone levels are predicted to occur between 2 through 8 p.m., so make sure you get your activity in either before or after this window to minimize your exposure to surface level ozone.”
What You Can Do to Help
When air pollution levels are predicted to be “unhealthy for sensitive groups” DEEP recommends:
· Conserving electricity by setting air conditioners to 78o;
· “Wait ‘til 8” to use energy intensive appliances like washing machines, dryers and dishwashers;
· Refueling your lawn mower and cutting the grass before noon;
· Driving less by carpooling, vanpooling or using public transit;
· Telecommuting if possible;
· Refueling your vehicle after dusk and never idling a vehicle unnecessarily; and
· Refraining from recreational wood burning.
We also need long term actions to get to the root of our air pollution problem in Connecticut. DEEP recommends you also consider these long-term energy reducing strategies:
Make your home or business as energy efficient as possible – this drives down air pollution and puts money back in your pocket;
Cars and trucks cause over half our air pollution, so consider driving an electric vehicle; and
Consider investing in renewable energy like solar electric.
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 1 through September 30 each year and for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) each day of the year. On April 28, 2017, 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.