New Standard Could Jeopardize Columbus Air Quality

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - The air you breathe affects your health, quality of life and economics. Air quality is a hot topic for the Environmental Protection Agency and Columbus.

Representatives from both entities attended an Air Quality Update at the Columbus Trade Center Thursday morning.

"Right now Columbus is doing well with regard to particulate matter and other areas of compliance like lead.  With ozone, were not sure what the new standard will be," says Lynorae Benjamin, Chief of Regulatory Division, EPA.

That's because a new EPA administrator is considering changing the existing standard by 2011 and depending on the changes, Columbus may or may not meet the standard.  But it has one year to make some adjustments.

Director of Planning, Rick Jones, says it's a job that will take help from everyone. "Carpool, have more than one person. I'm guilty of that myself; you have more than one person riding in that vehicle. How you operate equipment, lawn mowers, weed eaters, when you fuel your car."

Of course, mother nature affects the quality of air.  Meteorologist Betty Davis from the Weather Channel tossed up some tips. "Even on the days that look like they are the most beautiful days without rain, days filled with sunshine, there's a danger there so you really should be paying more attention to whether it's an ozone action day, paying attention to what the air quality is for that day because it could affect you in a huge way."

So for now, the Air Quality Alliance of the Chattahoochee Valley will continue educating the public on ways to minimize pollutants in the environment in hopes of making the grade when the new EPA standards are released.