The Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency monitors and reports air quality data as a public service. In our region, ozone is the most likely trigger for elevated air pollution levels, especially during warmer months.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set the ozone standard at 70 parts per billion (ppb) which equals an Air Quality Index of 100, or moderate. If ozone rises to 71 ppb, that produces an AQI of 101, which is considered Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (USG).
Each day, staff members retrieve and review data and weather forecast information. If unhealthy levels of ozone or particulate matter are expected, the Agency may consult with the National Weather Service to determine if conditions are favorable to issue an Air Quality Alert. If the data indicates that ozone or particulate matter may reach or exceed an Air Quality Index of 101, an Air Quality Alert is issued.
In an effort to keep the public informed so they may make decisions about their outdoor activities, the Agency will notify the media and public via email, social media, and this website when the AQI is at the USG.
Air Quality Alerts may also be a problem in the winter, not just the summer, due to high PM levels. Wintertime open burning and warming up cars, combined with weather inversions, can make PM-based winter Air Quality Advisories a reality for Southwest Ohio residents.