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.
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.
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.