Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

PA DEP Issues Air Quality Action Day Forecasts for Memorial Day Weekend

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HARRISBURG, Pa., May 25, 2012 /PR Newswire/ --  The PA Department of Environmental Protection and its regional air quality partnerships have released forecasts for air quality action days for the Memorial Day Weekend.  The DEP and the partnerships urge residents sensitive to air pollution to limit outdoor exposure on the days an air quality action day has been issued for their region.   

The forecasts call for an air quality action day Saturday, May 26, Sunday, May 27 and Monday, May 28 for the Pittsburgh region for ozone.

The Liberty-Clairton area will have air quality action days Sunday, May 26 and Monday, May 27 for ozone and fine particulate matter (PM 2.5).

An air quality action day has also been issued for the Susquehanna Valley and Lehigh Valley areas for Monday, May 28 for ozone.

Forecasts also include the possibility of air quality action days for ozone being issued for the five-county greater Philadelphia region for Monday, May 28 and Tuesday, May 29. Residents in the southeastern region residents are advised to monitor the DEP website for announcements regarding the air quality in their region over the weekend.

The Pittsburgh region is Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties. The Liberty-Clairton region is the municipalities of Clairton, Glassport, Liberty, Lincoln and Port Vue, all in southeastern Allegheny County.

The Lehigh Valley region is Berks, Lehigh and Northampton counties. The Susquehanna Valley region is Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York.

On air quality action days, young children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems, such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis, are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution and should limit outdoor activities. An air quality action day is issued when forecasted meteorological conditions are considered favorable for either ozone or PM 2.5 concentrations to rise into at least the Code ORANGE threshold. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's standardized air quality index uses colors to report daily air quality. Green signifies good; yellow means moderate; orange represents unhealthy pollution levels for sensitive people; and red warns of unhealthy pollution levels for all.

Ground-level ozone, a key component of smog, forms during warm weather when pollution from vehicles, industry, households and power plants 'bakes' in the hot sun, making it hard for some people to breathe.

To help keep the air healthy, residents and businesses are encouraged to voluntarily limit certain pollution-producing activities by:

  • Riding the bus or carpooling to work;
  • Refueling cars and trucks after dusk;
  • Combining errands and reduce trips;
  • Washing dishes and clothes only with full loads; and
  • Saving energy by turning off unused lights in your home.

These forecasts are provided in conjunction with the Air Quality Partnership of the Delaware Valley, the Southwest Pennsylvania Air Quality Partnership, the Lehigh Valley/Berks Air Quality Partnership and the Susquehanna Valley Air Quality Partnership. For more information, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Air Quality Partnership.

Media contact: Kevin Sunday, 717-787-1323

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

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