The Killeen and Temple urbanized areas have experienced considerable growth during the past 10 years, with projected growth to continue. On average, 65,000 cars travel through the region daily on Interstate 35. The harmful emissions from these vehicles contribute to the region’s air quality, and as a result, KTMPO has been actively researching and monitoring air quality information to incorporate into regional transportation planning efforts.

  • CTAIR Advisory Committee Needs Your Help!

    Ozone, while good up high, can create many issues once it is near the ground. Once ozone is near the surface, it can be dangerous to one’s health.

    The Central Texas Air and Information Research (CTAIR) Advisory Committee is a local committee trying to develop ways to prevent ground-level ozone from forming. CTAIR will like to hear your feedback on how much you know about ground-level ozone. Click on the button to take the survey.

Learn About Ground-Level Ozone

Ozone is a colorless gas found in the air we breathe. Ozone occurs naturally in the Earth’s upper atmosphere where it shields the Earth from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. However, ozone at ground level is an air pollutant that can harm human health, making it difficult to breathe, causing coughing, sore or scratchy throat, and aggravating lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis.

Ground level ozone is formed when two types of pollutants–volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and nitrogen oxides–react in the presence of sunlight.

How Air Quality is Measured

The EPA has established two measurement sites in our area to monitor ozone levels. Site C1047, at Skylark Field in Killeen, has been operating since 2009. In 2013, a new site, C1045 was set up in the West Temple Park. The data collected from the monitoring sites is reviewed annually to determine compliance with National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

Compliance is determined by this method:

  • Measure the highest average 8 hour ozone concentration for each day.
  • Find the 4th highest 8-hour reading each year.
  • Take 3 years average of the 4th highest concentration.

The 4th highest concentration for each year is shown below for the two monitoring stations.

Temple:  Georgia–West Temple Park

  • 2014:  67 ppb
  • 2015: 72 ppb
  • 2016: 64 ppb

Killeen:  Skylark Field

  • 2011:  75 ppb
  • 2012:  78 ppb
  • 2013:  71 ppb
  • 2014:  69 ppb
  • 2015: 67 ppb
  • 2016: 66 ppb

The latest three year average (2014 – 2016) for the Killeen monitor is 67 ppb (parts per billion) and 67 ppb at the Temple monitor.  Under newly-published standards, the maximum permitted concentration is 70 ppb. If the data shows an average higher than 70 ppb, the area may be designated as “Non-Attainment” for ozone and a plan must be developed to return to compliance within a specified time period. Monthly summaries of the monitoring sites may be viewed on the TCEQ Air Quality data page.  This page shows the four highest 8-hour averages for the year-to-date. The fourth-highest value is the number used to determine compliance.

View monthly summaries of the monitoring sites in our region on the TCEQ Air Quality page.

On October 1, 2016 the State “non-attainment” recommendations for ozone were submitted to the EPA recommending Bell County as ‘in-attainment” status. The EPA have till October of 2017 to finalize their non-attainment recommendations.

To view the Conceptual Model of Ozone Formation in the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood Area final report, click here.

What Can You Do?

Taking cars off the road is the most effective way to reduce the harmful emissions from cars that form ground-level ozone. If your trip requires the use of a vehicle, remember to DRIVE CLEAN:

  • Limit engine idling
  • When refueling, stop when the pump shuts off
  • Avoid spilling fuel
  • Always tighten gas cap securely
  • Keep your car, boat, and other engines tuned up
  • Inflate your car’s tires to the recommended pressure

Alternative Fuels Data Center- For locations that offer alternative fuels, please visit www.afdc.energy.gov.

Central Texas Air and Information Research Advisory Committee

The Central Texas Council of Governments (CTCOG) was recently the recipient of an air quality grant from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Established through the Rider 7 Program, the TCEQ grant funds were distributed to several areas within the state that were designated as “near nonattainment” for ozone levels, which CTCOG is part of that designation. The grant funds allowed CTCOG to establish an air quality program known as the Central Texas Air Information and Research (CTAIR) Advisory Committee. The funds will be used to carry out studies and activities to help ensure that the CTCOG region does not fall into the nonattainment category.

For more information regarding CTAIR, please visit www.ctair.org.