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March is the official start of ozone season. The Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency is required by U.S. EPA to monitor and report ozone concentrations each year from March 1 through October 31.

Ozone is a secondary air pollutant which means it is a combination of other air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds. These pollutants come predominantly from vehicle exhaust and industrial emissions. In the presence of sunlight and warmer temperatures, nitrogen oxides and VOCs combine to form ozone.

Ozone can be harmful to people’s lungs, especially those who have asthma or other respiratory illnesses. When ozone concentrations exceed good or moderate levels, the Agency issues an Air Quality Alert, a public message designed to raise awareness of elevated air pollution.

Our region typically experiences Air Quality Alerts from May through August, when summer weather conditions are ideal for higher ozone concentrations. Be prepared now by signing up for Enviroflash, a free service that emails or texts you when an Air Quality Alert is issued.

Posted by joy.landry  On Mar 02, 2021 at 1:52 PM

COVID-19 has limited our staff’s ability to conduct in-person facility inspections. However, Ohio and federal air regulations compliance must be maintained. One of our offices’ responsibilities is to oversee any demolition or renovation projects that include the removal of asbestos.

Our team works with contractors who remove asbestos by conducting virtual inspections. Contractors are required to follow specific procedures when removing asbestos. They are required to complete a safety checklist and demonstrate that they are complying with Ohio EPA rules and regulations for asbestos removal. Our staff observes asbestos removal and bagging virtually.

fire pit

To learn more about asbestos, visit our website at SouthwestOhioAir.org.

Posted by joy.landry  On Nov 17, 2020 at 11:41 AM 2 Comments
Stack test observations are the responsibility of the Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency. These tests are performed to determine the types and amounts of air pollutants emitted from industrial sources. Stack tests consist of taking quantitative air samples from exhaust stacks and analyzing these samples to determine pollutant concentrations and mass emission rates. The pollutant emission rate established by a source test must be less than the allowable rate specified in the facility's permit to operate.

 When COVID-19 shut down the State of Ohio, the Agency took advantage of digital technology and made use of Zoom to conduct virtual stack tests. The Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency was the first local air agency in the state to implement this procedure. Since June, the Agency has observed 44 stack tests, helping to ensure that industries are minimizing their air emissions.

To learn more about stack testing, visit our website at southwestohioair.org.



Posted by joy.landry  On Oct 08, 2020 at 11:00 AM
Many residents are making the best of the Stay at Home order by doing yard work and cleaning out garages and sheds. Unfortunately, the Agency is seeing a rise in open burning, perhaps because residents cannot properly dispose of yard trimmings. Please, do not burn yard trimmings and other materials at this time. Burning woods and other organic materials releases particles in the air that are harmful to everyone's respiratory systems, and especially those with asthma. 
It's important for residents to know the regulations for open burning:
  • It is illegal to burn garbage, rubber, plastic, and oil-based materials, and dead animals. 
  • Recreational fires made only of clean, seasoned firewood are permitted. They may not exceed 3 feet wide by 2 feet high.
  • Any fire larger than a recreational fire, such as agricultural burns, requires a permit from the Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency.
  • Some communities require a permit from its fire department. Learn before you burn and consult with your local fire department
fire pit

For additional information and resources, please visit our website. If you are concerned about Open Burning in your neighborhood, contact the Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency. Be a good neighbor and refrain from outdoor fires. 

Now is great opportunity to start a backyard compost pile - it's easy. Learn how with guidance from Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District
Posted by joy.landry  On Apr 16, 2020 at 1:47 PM 5 Comments

The air quality industry sure loves its acronyms. AQI, PM, NAAQS – what does it all mean?

Here are some common industry terms that will have you talking air quality jargon like a pro!

AQI: Air Quality Index, the industry standard for informing the public about air quality for any given city or region in the United States.

CTG: Control techniques guidelines are EPA documents designed to assist state and local air quality agencies to achieve and maintain air quality standards for specific sources. 

U.S. EPA: United States Environmental Protection Agency, an independent federal agency responsible for maintaining and enforcing national standards for clean air and water. The EPA was founded on July 9, 1970.

NAAQS: National Ambient Air Quality Standards: these are ambient air pollution limitations  enforced across the country for six air pollutants that the U.S. EPA has identified as being harmful to public health. They are ozone, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, and particulate matter.

NCore: a multi-pollutant ambient air monitoring station that is part of a national core network of similar sites across the country. The Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency’s NCore site is located at its main offices in Corryville.

NOx: Nitrogen oxides, are collectively referred to as “nocks”. Nitrogen oxides can be found in vehicle and industrial emissions. They aggravate breathing, especially for those who respiratory illnesses such as asthma.

ppb: Parts per billion, the unit of measurement for some gaseous pollutant concentrations. One part per billion means one molecule out of one billion total molecules.
For example, the EPA standard for sulfur dioxide is 75 ppb. Concentrations that surpass 75 ppb as a one-hour average are considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.

PM: Particulate matter, also known as particle pollution. PM is measured in two size fractions: PM10 and PM2.5, referring to the microns in diameter of the particles. 

VOC: volatile organic compounds, are gases emitted from certain liquids and solids that may contribute to the formation of ozone. Examples of common products that include VOCs are oil-based paints and gasoline.

Want to learn more? The EPA has 1,987 terms and acronyms in its online glossary!

Posted by joy.landry  On Mar 11, 2020 at 9:55 AM

The Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency (Agency) is gearing up for pollen and mold season. The Agency will begin counting and posting pollen and mold data on Tuesday, February 18, weather permitting. While it may seem early to begin counting, cedar and elm trees typically begin to pollinate in February.  The results are posted on the Agency’s website and social media platforms.

pollen countingThe Agency provides pollen and mold counts as a public service each year from February through November. Counts are performed Monday through Friday. The sampler is located at the Agency’s office and it captures a sample one minute in each ten minutes for a 24-hour period. Residents who suffer from allergies may find the counts helpful for tracking symptoms that correspond with the prevalent allergens of that day.

Posted by joy.landry  On Feb 13, 2020 at 3:00 PM 1 Comment

The Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency would like to share with you a U.S. EPA grant opportunity to reduce diesel emissions. Public services/works departments, county park systems, county engineers, and other public organizations that manage fleets may wish to apply. Eligible diesel vehicles include Class 5 – Class 8 heavy duty highway vehicles and non-road engines, equipment or vehicles used in construction. 

Applications are due on February 26. For more information and to access the Request for Applications, visit www.epa.gov/cleandiesel/clean-diesel-national-grants.

The Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency is your regional resource for air quality monitoring, permitting, and regulations. Visit our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Posted by joy.landry  On Jan 16, 2020 at 3:13 PM

Congratulations to Paul Tedtman who is calling it a career!



Paul served in the Army as a weather observer in White Sands, New Mexico where the military conducted testing and evaluation of new equipment, including rockets. After his service, Paul earned his BS in Meteorology at Penn State. The meteorology field was very saturated at the time and Paul accepted a job with Environmental Services in 1980. He pursued his Master’s Degree in Environmental Science at the University of Cincinnati. Beginning in 1985, Paul worked as an air quality consultant in private industry, returning to the Agency in 2003. Paul served as an Area Supervisor in the Agency's Permitting and Enforcement Division.

Paul liked the opportunity to see and learn different industrial operations. He enjoyed the variety of his work and learning new things. “Of course, I would remiss if I did not say that I thoroughly enjoyed working with my great co-workers at DOES!” says Paul.


“The Agency will be losing 43 years of air quality experience with Paul’s retirement. Paul was the Agency expert in air quality modeling and New Source Review,” states Assistant Director Brad Miller. “He will be greatly missed and we wish him well in retirement.”

Posted by joy.landry  On Nov 15, 2019 at 1:04 PM 4 Comments

It was a beautiful, clear morning on September 18. Good conditions for “Smoke School”. This semi-annual certification program challenges participants to accurately read the opacity of 50 different smoke percentages within 15%. Smoke opacity emitted from the testing equipment vary by five percent from zero to 100%. The first 25 emissions are “white smoke” and the last 25 are “black smoke.” The day begins when the contractor, Eastern Technical Associates, discharges a variety of smoke, revealing if the plume is 25%, 50% or 75% opacity so participants can establish a baseline. Weather conditions affect how the smoke may be viewed. For example, it can be more difficult to discern contrast on a sunny day because of the glare.

smoke school
Once participants have become acclimated to the conditions, the official test begins. The 50-smoke test run may take up to an hour; after the 25 white smoke emissions, ETA adjusts their equipment for the black smoke part of the test. When the test is completed, ETA reads out the correct answers and testers self-grade. Then their testing sheets are submitted to ETA for verification. 

Fall 2019 Smoke School had 12 representatives from the Agency, as well as air quality professionals from Dayton, northern Kentucky, and Ohio EPA, and industry representatives. If an individual does not pass the first run, they have four more opportunities that day to do so. Passing Smoke School certifies participants in U.S. EPA Reference Method Nine, established by U.S. EPA in 1974. This authorizes an air quality professional to make stack observations in the field, especially if there is a concern with a facility violating its air permit limitations 

Congratulations to all 12 of our Agency team members for successfully completing Smoke School this September.


Posted by joy.landry  On Sep 30, 2019 at 1:20 PM

Ragweed, Be Gone!

One of the cruel ironies of Mother Nature: just as the summer heat and humidity begin to dissipate, ragweed rears its ugly head. This nasty, pervasive pollen strikes in late August and prevails until early October or more correctly the first frost, rendering those sensitive to its grains to a state of misery.

A single ragweed plant may produce as much as a billion grains of pollen per season which are easily distributed by a fair breeze. Ragweed pollen can travel as far as two miles up into the atmosphere and have been tracked as far as 400 miles out to sea!

Those who are reactive to ragweed pollen may experience sneezing, running nose, and itchy eyes. What can you do? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Track pollen, using our website. The Agency posts pollen and mold counts, Monday through Friday. Keep in mind that you are seeing the previous day’s count as the collection period is a 24-hour period from 7 a.m. on the previous day to 7 a.m. to the posting day.
  2. Track your body’s reaction to those levels as each person may respond differently to pollen counts.
  3. If possible, avoid outdoor exposure during mornings, when pollen tends to peak, especially on breezy days.
  4. Despite the cooler temperatures, you might be best keeping the windows closed to minimize pollen from entering your home.
  5. If you have been outside, remove clothing and shower right away to remove pollen grains from your hair and skin.
  6. Consult with your health care professional for the best medicinal options to bring you relief.

Ragweed even looks scary under the microscope!

Posted by joy.landry  On Sep 09, 2019 at 11:54 AM 12 Comments
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