Summer Ozone Season: Tips about how to reduce air pollution as the Valley heats up

Spring has sprung and April 1 marks the beginning of summer ozone season in Maricopa County. As the community works to reduce air pollution in the valley, it’s important to recognize the distinctions between summer ozone and winter pollution seasons. The summer brings warmer temperatures and a higher risk of ground-level ozone, which creates the need to reduce harmful emissions.

One way to cut down on ozone is by refueling your car after the sun goes down. Kick start the weekend with a clean conscience and commit to ‘Fuel After Dark Friday.’ Maricopa County Air Quality Department is asking all residents to help reduce ground-level ozone by refueling their vehicles once the sun sets, in the cooler evening hours. This one simple act will have a positive impact in improving Phoenix air quality during the summer months.

As part of our ‘Commit to One Day’ program, we’ve provided easy to follow tips for each day of the week so residents can do their part in reducing Phoenix air pollution.

  • Bike:
    Ride your bicycle to places you would normally drive your car. Get some fresh air and save some gas.
  • Ride Public Transit:
    Utilize alternate modes of transportation. Consider taking the light rail, bus or vanpool. For information on transportation alternatives, visit Valley Metro: www.ShareTheRide.com
  • Carpool:
    Carpool to as many locations as possible. Riding together decreases the amount of dust and emissions in the air.
  • Walk:
    Walk to nearby locations instead of driving. Increasing the number of steps you take will improve your health.
  • Avoid Idling:
    Avoid the drive-thru and go inside to order your food, coffee or prescriptions. By doing this you will reduce exhaust emissions.
  • Fuel After Dark:
    Hot temperatures and gasoline fumes create ground-level ozone. Reduce the effect and refuel your vehicle at night time.
  • Sweep It Up:
    Sweep your driveway, patio, deck, etc. instead of using a leaf blower. Get some exercise and breathe in fresh air while you burn a few calories.

Earth Day is April 22, and we want to remind you that everyone should have the earth in mind each day. Every valley resident has a role in improving air quality in Phoenix and Maricopa County. With the aforementioned tips, the Clean Air Make More app and information provided on this website, residents have access to a number of valuable tools and resources.

Are you part of the solution? Tell us about your commitment to clean air on Twitter and Facebook.

Southwest Valley Mulch Fire

The mulch fire located at 8750 N Dysart Rd has no visible flames, but some isolated smoldering/hot patches are still being worked. No visible smoke was observed leaving the boundary of the facility.

This will be the last update unless there are unanticipated negative developments.

Updated June 24, 2016 at 4:30pm


 

There is currently a mulch fire in the Southwest valley. The mulch fire is located at 8750 N Dysart Rd, between Dysart Rd and W. Butler Drive. The Maricopa County Air Quality Department has staff on-site.

If smoke seems to be affecting you or your family please consider some of the following actions:

  • If you smell smoke and/or are beginning to experience symptoms, consider temporarily locating to another area as long as it is safe for you to do so.
  • Move indoors and stay there with doors and windows closed.
  • Run the air conditioning, the fan feature on your home heating system with the heat turned off. The filtration systems on home systems can provide some benefit.
  • Run room air filtration units.
  • Reduce your physical activity level. Do not exercise.

For more health information, visit the Maricopa County Department of Public Health Smoke Safety website

This message will be updated as new information is received.

Updated June 22, 2016 at 11:30am

2015 ‘No Burn Day’ Campaign Kicks Off

Logo header_no burn kickoff

 

 

 

‘No Burn Day’ Campaign Kicks Off

PHOENIX (Dec. 9, 2015) – Officials from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and the Maricopa County Air Quality Department (MCAQD) announced the kickoff of their annual Maricopa County ‘No Burn Day’ campaign.

Smoke from wood-burning fireplaces and chimineas during winter months poses a serious health threat to children with asthma, the elderly and those with respiratory issues. Smoke, which contains soot particles, can be absorbed into the blood stream and lessen lung function, exacerbate bronchitis and asthma and increase chances for heart attacks and premature death.

Left uncorrected, high levels of Particulate Matter-2.5 (PM 2.5) or smoke could cause Maricopa County to exceed the federal health standards, leading to more burdensome and costly federal regulation.

This is the third year of the No Burn campaign and this past winter season was the campaigns most successful. For the first time in 11 years, Maricopa County residents benefited from no exceedances of the state and federal annual 24-hour health standard for PM 2.5, on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. Because of the lower smoke concentrations, Maricopa County also met the annual federal health standard for PM 2.5.

“We want to thank the residents of Maricopa County for supporting last year’s ‘No Burn Day’ campaign, which allowed everyone to enjoy cleaner air,” Maricopa County Air Quality Director Philip McNeely said. “We must remain vigilant, however, because without voluntary compliance, there could be stricter regulations and stronger fines.”

This season, ADEQ and MCAQD are joined by nearly 100 partners and stakeholders including several cities, towns and county agencies, Bashas’ Family of Stores, Arizona Rock Products Association, and the Arizona Chapter Associated General Contractors, all involved since the very beginning. This year, several new partners including the Arizona Association of Community Managers, the Better Business Bureau, Tonto National Forrest, and Lyft also are contributing to this worthy cause.

ADEQ Air Quality Division Director Eric Massey said, “Building on last year’s successful ‘No Burn Day’ campaign, the focus for 2015 is strengthening and expanding our partners and leveraging technology to reach more Maricopa County residents than ever before using innovative and cost-effective ways.”

MCAQD issues no burn days throughout the winter season and asks county residents to refrain from lighting wood-burning fires on those designated days. To find out if it is a no burn day, visit CleanAirMakeMore.com, download the Clean Air Make More mobile app or call (602) 506-6400.

For more information, call Caroline Oppleman with ADEQ at (602) 771-2215 or Bob Huhn with MCAQD at (602) 506-6713.

 

 

May is National Asthma & Allergy Awareness Month

April Showers Bring May Flowers, Allergens and Ozone Pollution

Flowers in bloom throughout the Valley tell us that springtime is in full swing – and with it comes allergens in the air that make it difficult for those who suffer from seasonal and outdoor allergies. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has declared May to be National Asthma & Allergy Awareness Month, as it is the peak season for asthma and allergy sufferers who struggle with symptoms.

If you suffer from asthma or allergies, you’re among millions of people at higher risk from particulate pollution and ozone. Particulate pollution can travel deep into your lungs and irritate existing lung disease, triggering asthma attacks and bronchitis, and increasing susceptibility to respiratory infections. Ozone can inflame airways, reduce lung function and cause people to be more sensitive to allergens, which can be very troublesome for those suffering from asthma and allergies.

Fortunately, resources are available through a number of organizations, such as the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), the Arizona Asthma Coalition and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). All three provide valuable information that enable communities to spread awareness about the diseases, raise funds for research, attend events throughout the month of May, and find news and educational resources to help spread awareness. Below are some resources for more information and ways to get involved:

AAFA

May is National Asthma & Allergy Awareness Month
Asthma Facts and Figures
Allergy Facts and Figures

Arizona Asthma Coalition

Identify and avoid triggers
Asthma in Arizona

EPA

Asthma & Outdoor Air Pollution
Triggers of Asthma
AIRNow – Air Quality Awareness Week

The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology provides a nationwide asthma screening program to help people find free asthma and allergy screening locations.

With springtime allergens in the air, it’s important for Valley residents to reduce the air pollution we can control. Learn more about how you can improve air quality in Maricopa County: become part of the solution at www.CleanAirMakeMore.com, and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter!

Sweep It Up Saturday: Maricopa County and Phoenix, air pollution get the brush-off

Saturdays are the days that many people look forward to. It is the start of the weekend and an opportunity to enjoy fun, family activities. But what if Saturdays were also dedicated to learning how to reduce air pollution? Participate in Sweep It Up Saturday by ditching the leaf blower and pulling out the broom or rake to clean up your yard, sidewalks and driveway. Did you know that leaf blowers raise large amounts of dust, making them one of the primary air pollution causes of course particulate matter or PM10? By eliminating leaf blower use, you are decreasing air pollution.

Winter temperatures in Maricopa County are mild, but the season still causes trees to drop leaves, and winter rains can wash soil and other debris on to driveways and pool decks. When tackling that clean up on Saturdays (or any other day of the week), consider the advantages of using a broom or rake instead of a leaf blower: Using a rake also eliminates the risk to the leaf blower operator and people in the area of being exposed to dangerous particles.

  • Get some exercise –
    Sweeping and raking require more energy than holding a leaf blower. So sweep away some of those holiday calories while actively participating in efforts to create more clean air.
  • Save some money –
    Leaf blowers are an expensive investment, from the time of purchase and continuing operating costs. Not only are brooms less expensive than leaf blowers, they are also often made of more sustainable materials like wood and straw.
  • Clear the area more thoroughly and effectively –
    Don’t risk leaves and sand falling into your pool or kicking up dust that will just end up settling in the same place on your driveway. Use a broom or rake to reach those small nooks and tricky pool corners, and save yourself from sweeping up what the leaf blower leaves behind, or pulling leaves from your pool filter.

Be responsible with how you dispose of your yard waste. Open burning is not allowed without a permit from Maricopa County. For further details on burning activities and possible restrictions in Maricopa County go to: https://www.maricopa.gov/1830/Burning-Activities.

Sweep It Up Saturday is part of Clean Air Make More’s Commit to One Day initiative, providing residents and visitors with simple ways to improve air quality in Maricopa County. Participate seven days a week with Cycle Sunday, Alt Mode Monday, Ride Together Tuesday, Walk Somewhere Wednesday, No Drive-Thru Thursday, Fire Free Friday and Sweep it up Saturday. Learn more about the Commit to One Day initiative at www.cleanairmakemore.com and download the Clean Air Make More app for air quality forecasts and No Burn Day advisories, as well as other important air quality information. Connect with the Maricopa County Air Quality Department on Facebook and Twitter.

Fire Free Friday: A Lesson in How to Reduce Air Pollution

Winter brings a lot of hustle and bustle to the Valley of the Sun. Temperatures drop below 100 degrees and people spend more time outdoors, visitors come from colder climates, and holidays inspire many to get into the spirit of the season with family and friends. What many don’t realize, though, is that the change in weather also means a change in air pollution. Residents need to be aware of this change, and take action to help improve the quality of our air.

Oct. 1 marked the beginning of winter pollution season in Maricopa County, including Phoenix. Air pollution levels are on the rise and weather conditions create dry, stagnant conditions. To protect residents and visitors, the Maricopa County Air Quality Department issues “No Burn Day” advisories when the air quality forecast suggests air quality will approach or exceed the federal health standard. Making an effort to reduce burning throughout the winter pollution season is an easy, impactful way to actively participate in improving air quality – and can be done anytime, regardless of whether there is a No Burn Day advisory issued.

As part of the new Commit to One Day initiative, Maricopa County residents are encouraged to commit to clean air one day a week through easy lifestyle choices. On Fridays, residents can participate in Fire Free Friday, avoiding woodburning in fireplaces and chimineas. If gathering around a glowing fire is an activity you don’t want to give up, consider some great alternatives that still gather family and friends for quality time together.

  • Friday Family Move Night —

Turn the thermostat down, grab some blankets and pop in a DVD for the whole family to watch. With everyone in the household gathered in one place, only one room needs to have lighting, decreasing energy usage throughout the entire home. Staying at home instead of going to the movies saves gas money, too.

  • Bike or Hike —

Enjoy the beautiful desert landscape the great state of Arizona has to offer and bike or hike with family or friends. Carpool to a trail, bring plenty of water and protective gear, and get some exercise.

  • Stargazing —

Breathe in fresh air that’s not polluted by smoke and brush up on your astronomy with family or friends. Whether in your backyard or at a park, all it takes is a blanket and a fellow stargazer to appreciate the night sky.

Fire Free Friday is just one way to commit to clean air. Participate seven days a week with Cycle Sunday, Alt Mode Monday, Ride Together Tuesday, Walk Somewhere Wednesday, No Drive-Thru Thursday, Fire Free Friday and Sweep it up Saturday. Learn more about the Commit to One Day initiative at www.cleanairmakemore.com and download the Clean Air Make More app to stay up-to-date on No Burn Day advisories and other important air quality information. Connect with the Maricopa County Air Quality Department on Facebook and Twitter.

Commit to One Day a Week and Learn How to Reduce Air Pollution

As residents eagerly wait for consistently cooler temperatures, winter pollution season is already in full effect. Maricopa County Air Quality Department is making it simple for Valley residents and visitors to participate in making more clean air, with easy tips for participating each day of the week. These simple actions give residents a manageable way to be a part of the solution, and to breathe easy, knowing they are committing to clean air all week long.

  • Cycle Sunday: Ride your bicycle to places you would normally drive your car. Get some fresh air and save some gas.
  • Alt Mode Monday: Utilize alternate modes of transportation. Consider taking the light rail, bus or vanpool.
  • Ride Together Tuesday: Carpool to as many locations as possible. Riding together decreases the amount of dust and exhaust in the air.
  • Walk Somewhere Wednesday: Walk to nearby locations instead of driving. Increase the number of steps on your pedometer and improve your health. 
  • No Drive-Thru Thursday: Avoid the drive-thru and go inside to order your food, coffee or prescriptions. You won’t have to wait in a long drive-thru line and you will reduce exhaust emissions. 
  • Fire-Free Friday: Don’t use your fireplace or chiminea on Friday. Burning wood creates air pollution and can cause health hazards for many, in particular those with respiratory issues.
  • Sweep It Up Saturday: Sweep your driveway, patio, deck, etc. instead of using a leaf blower. Get some exercise and breathe in fresh air while you burn a few calories.

These tips, along with the Clean Air Make More mobile app and information provided online, means Valley residents now have more resources than ever before to actively understand the quality of our air, and their roles in improving it.

Whether it’s taking the bus to work or walking to lunch, everyone can commit to cleaner air.

Are you interested in learning more about how you can improve air quality in Maricopa County? Become part of the solution at www.CleanAirMakeMore.com. Follow Clean Air Make More on Twitter, and “like” the Clean Air Make More page on Facebook.

Download the Clean Air Make More Mobile App

The Maricopa County Air Quality Department has launched the Clean Air Make More mobile application, which provides air quality forecasts, air quality restrictions, and the ability to report an air quality problem.  The app is free to download and is available in the Apple app store and Google Play, as well as at www.CleanAirMakeMore.com/app.

Recognizing that many Maricopa County residents typically spend more time on their smartphones and tablets than any other device – a 2012 Google study* found more consumers use a mobile phone than any other device – the Air Quality Department developed the Clean Air Make More app to provide a resource where residents could most readily access real-time information about the air they breathe.

Awareness of air quality restrictions and information is critical to Maricopa County residents, and this mobile app enhances the Air Quality Department’s ability to give residents the information they need to protect their health. Users have instantaneous access to the most up-to-date air quality forecast information, and can rely on the app for the most current air quality restrictions. The Clean Air Make More app is Maricopa County’s first mobile app, and a great way for all county citizens to educate themselves about the air they breathe.

The Clean Air Make More app allows users to have instantaneous access to the most up-to-date forecast information, while serving as a reliable resource on current air quality restrictions with three days of air quality forecasts, from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ); the same service that updates CleanAirMakeMore.com with daily air quality forecasts.

The Clean Air Make More app features:

  • Air quality forecast for three days, including ozone, carbon monoxide, PM-10 and PM 2.5 levels
  • Air quality index levels (good, moderate, unhealthy for sensitive groups, unhealthy, very unhealthy and hazardous) and definitions
  • Air quality restrictions (wood burning, leaf blower use, off-road vehicle use)
  • “Report a violation” option, similar to what is found on CleanAirMakeMore.com, where users can report an air quality violation or a smoking vehicle
  • Additional ways to stay in touch with the Air Quality Department for news, tips and other ways to improve air quality: www.CleanAirMakeMore.com, Facebook and Twitter

The Clean Air Make More app is free to download and use and is available for from iTunes for iPhone and iPad and from Google Play for Android. To learn more about the Maricopa County Air Quality Department and the Clean Air Make More initiative, visit www.CleanAirMakeMore.com

 

 

*2012 Google study data available at: http://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/insights/library/studies/trends-in-digital-device-and-internet-usage-2012/

Dump the Pump on June 21 – Save money, make more clean air

How would you like to contribute to reducing the country’s carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons, annually? You can, by using public transportation. Join others dedicated to making more clean air and use public transportation on June 21 for the 7th annual Dump the Pump Day. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA), in partnership with the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and public transportation systems across the U.S. have come together to raise awareness surrounding the environmental and economic advantages of using public transportation.

All you have to do is pledge to Dump the Pump and visit the Valley Metro website to plan your route, today: http://www.valleymetro.org.

Want to know more about the impact you can make by participating in Dump the Pump Day on June 21? Click here for more Dump the Pump Facts!

Follow Clean Air Make More on Twitter and Facebook to see what we’re doing to celebrate Dump the Pump Day – and what we’re doing every day to make more clean air.

Makeover your home, makeover your lungs

Spring has sprung, and as Valley residents brace themselves for triple digit temperatures, many are completing home improvement projects while the weather is still enjoyable. Whether it’s spring cleaning or ongoing upkeep, keeping it environmentally friendly often means cost savings—and Earth savings. Consider implementing the following tips and “spring” toward cleaner air!

  • Install only CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs in your home—Did you know that CFL bulbs have an extremely long life? Some users report CFL bulbs lasting for as long as five years! Take the time to install CFL bulbs in your home now, and say goodbye to dragging out the ladder every month to change that ceiling fixture bulb. Plus, CFL bulbs use less electricity and are often brighter than incandescent bulbs, resulting in lower bills and brighter lights. Some electric/energy companies even offer rebates for free CFL bulbs.
  • Install timers on outdoor lights and thermostats—Home is where the heart is, but for many hours throughout the work day and at night, home doesn’t need to be where the heat (or cool) is. By installing timers on lights and thermostats that turn off those features when they’re not needed, you can cut down on your electricity bill and minimize your energy output foot print.
  • Use low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) or water-based paints, stains, finishes and paint strippers—Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOC, contribute to ground-level ozone and are present in the vapors from many household chemicals/solutions, including paint, stains and strippers. Do your part to decrease air pollution by purchasing low-VOC or non-VOC paints, stains, finishes and strippers when taking on your next painting project. Many home improvement stores display environmentally friendly products together or with special signage, so they are quickly and easily located.
  • Purchase ENERGY STAR lighting and appliances—Products featuring the ENERGY STAR label have met the energy efficiency requirements set forth in ENERGY STAR product specifications, established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Since these products use less energy, they save you money, and help protect the environment. Additionally, some ENERGY STAR products qualify for federal tax credits. For complete information, visit http://www.energystar.gov.
  • Swap wood-burning chimineas and fire pits for gas or electric ones—Nothing is more comforting than the glow of a warm fire on the cool nights we are occasionally treated to in the desert. Unfortunately, the smoke resulting from those wood burning fires contribute significantly to particulate matter, which are tiny particles that can get stuck deep in the lungs and cause a number of health complications. Opt for a gas or electric powered fire pit that offers the same warmth and ambiance without the air pollution.

Home improvement projects are fun to undertake and even more fun to recognize as a job well done when completed. Give yourself an extra pat on the back the next time you complete a project in your home by keeping the environment in mind. Want to learn more about how you can improve air quality in Maricopa County? Become part of the solution at www.CleanAirMakeMore.com today!