CONTACT: Matteo Treviño, 210-323-2835
SAN ANTONIO (October 17, 2018) — Today, City Council received a presentation from Harvey Jeffries, PhD, a nationally recognized atmospheric chemist who has been studying ozone formation for years. The significance for San Antonio is that Dr. Jeffries has been successful helping other Texas cities lower their ozone levels. His unique, graphical analysis uses site-by-site, hourly and yearly analysis to better understand ozone formation and trends to exceed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Federal Ozone Standard.
Councilwoman Ana Sandoval, who holds a Master’s of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a focus in air quality computer modeling, stated:
“Dr. Jefferies gave us a deep dive into what happens in San Antonio on high ozone days. We came to three conclusions. First, when we have high ozone days, our air is not coming from Mexico or other places. It is local—from just a narrow part of the county. Second, we do not need widespread or heavy-handed regulations to reduce ozone. We can use a chisel and get better results. And third, there is something we can do locally to reduce ozone levels. The ability to protect public health from air pollution is in our hands.”
At today’s session, Dr. Jeffries presented results obtained from his research, gaps in data, and recommendations for next steps to lower the ozone level in San Antonio. The good news is that achieving attainment is within our reach, and that by working with City and County partners, and welcoming industry to the table, we can accomplish this goal.
Recently, Bexar County has been designated as marginal non-attainment for the ozone national air quality standard by the EPA, and has until 2020 to achieve air quality standards. Ozone is associated with a number of adverse health effects including reduced lung function, asthma attacks, asthma development, emergency room visits and hospital admissions, and early death from respiratory and cardiovascular causes. The City of San Antonio is currently developing an air quality attainment strategy led by Metro Health Director, Dr. Colleen Bridger.