October 5, 2010
Wichita's air quality status may soon violate the federal ozone standard if the Environmental Protection Agency lowers ozone limits.
City and county officials discussed the possible implications and costs if the Environmental Protection Agency lowers its current levels later this month.
"Our city council as well as our county commissioners need to understand that we will need an action plan to go forward. If we are recommended to go out of attainment there are some things that we will have to start doing," said Kay Johnson, Wichita Office of Environmental Initiatives Manager.
The current federal ozone standard is at 75 parts per billion. In January, the EPA announced it would set a new standard between the levels of 60-70 parts per billion. Wichita is currently at 71 parts per billion or 69 parts per billion without April, which accounts for the annual rangeland burning in the Flint Hills.
Officials estimate the cost of non-attainment to be approximately ten million dollars per year for at least ten years. Officials responded to the presentations.
"This is more impending then it has been. Hopefully there's going to be a public awareness that we're all going to be dealing with this. It’s going to affect everybody," said Tim Norton, Sedgwick County Commissioner.