Thursday, June 28, 2012
Wichita city leaders are trying to clear the air after it sends out an ozone alert and then is caught violating its own recommendations.
Anybody driving along highways in Wichita will see signs reading "Ozone Alert." The city is asking us to avoid using gas-powered mowing equipment and to fuel up in the evening. But KAKE News found city workers violating both.
City contract workers spent the morning mowing and trimming the lawn around the Wichita Art Museum using gas-powered equipment; a "no-no" when it comes to keeping dangerous ozone levels down.
"It's unfortunate," said Wichita resident Jay Crayton. "I don't know if they are supposed to be or have to be. If they don't have to be, I don't think they should because it affects all of us and the city as well."
Ironically, it's the city asking Wichita residents to use precautions like mowing early in the morning and fueling up in the evening to bring ozone levels back to allowable levels.
"It does surprise me that they say something like that then go and do it," said Tanea Randolf of Wichita.
It was 11:30 a.m. when KAKE News found a Wichita employee fueling up his tractor at the city maintenance yard. Again, going against the city's own recommendations.
City Manager Robert Layton says city crews will immediately stop mowing and trimming during daytime hours. He says the ozone alerts are a serious situation and the city needs to take the same precautions it is asking residents to take.
The city also says staff are refueling vehicles in the evening when possible, but there will be times they will have to refuel during the day in order to provide mandatory services.
Ozone levels exceeded acceptable levels Monday and Tuesday.