Monday, October 17, 2011

Air Time: Events focus on Pierce County air quality

By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Air Quality Program

In the next week, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency will host two events to talk about air quality problems in Pierce County and possible solutions.

A portion of Pierce County covering a large part of Tacoma and neighboring cities is designated as a “nonattainment area.” That means the air quality within the area failed to meet federal health-based standards for air pollution levels – in this case, levels of very tiny fine particles known as PM2.5.

The Fine Particle Problem

The particles are smaller than the diameter of a human hair, so they can be easily breathed in and cause health problems such as asthma and heart and lung disease. They also can cause death.

The primary sources of the particles in the nonattainment area are smoke from burning wood in wood stoves and fireplaces, and exhaust from motor vehicles.

Check here for a description of the nonattainment area's boundaries and a map.

Public Input Schedule

Puget Sound Clean Air is working with local residents and other stakeholders to recommend actions to Ecology.

In turn, Ecology will put together a plan to improve air quality, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will review.

Here is more information on nonattainment and the related process.

Puget Sound Clean Air is holding two open house events in coming days. You can find more information at, but here are some basic details:

Thursday, October 20, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
(6 p.m. presentation)
South End Community Center
7802 South L Street, Tacoma

Monday, October 24, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
(6 p.m. presentation)
Puyallup Public Library
324 South Meridian, Puyallup

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