Shelby air quality meets ozone attainment status

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 23, 2006


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has upgraded Jefferson and Shelby counties to attainment status for ozone levels.

According to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management the upgrade of the area&8217;s air quality designation by the U.S.

Environmental Protection Agency signified that the area and the state of Alabama have met criteria for attainment set forth in the Clean Air Act.

&8220;This is very good news,&8221; said ADEM Director Trey Glenn. &8220;Years of hard work by our staff along with the Jefferson County Health Department, the Alabama Partners for Clean Air and other stakeholders have made this possible.&8221; He said it culminates close to 30 years of regulatory efforts.

The EPA ruling is based on the three most recent years of monitoring dates and states that ADEM has demonstrated that the Birmingham area &8220;has met the criteria for re-designation to attainment.&8221;

In Jefferson and Shelby counties over the last three years, several factors contributed to reduced levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic chemicals (VOC) emissions that have helped achieve attainment for ozone.

– Since 1999, the two-county area has been required to use clean-burning gasoline from June 1 through Sept. 15 to reduce precursor emissions that form ozone.

– Since 2003 regulations have been in place to lower emissions from May 1 to Sept. 30 at two Alabama Power Company plants.

– ADEM&8217;s efforts to inform the public.

– Voluntary efforts and teamwork.

– Alabama&8217;s statewide Nox Reduction Plan requirements for the reduction of ozone precursors from large industrial sources such as boilers, turbines, and electric generating units.

– EPA&8217;s national vehicle programs and standards