Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get E-Mail notifications of Ozone Alert! Days?  Easy, Just sign up HERE!

What is the area covered by the Ozone Alert Program?
I live in Owasso. Do I need to take action on Ozone Alert! Days?
How can I find someone with whom to carpool?
What would it mean if we were to go on the dirty air list?
What is the ozone standard?
How are we doing in meeting the ozone standard?
What is the difference between "exceeding" the ozone standard and "violating" the ozone standard?
What is the Ozone Alert! Program?
Is ozone a health problem?
When is Ozone Alert! Season?
Who decides that it's an Ozone Alert! Day?
What is the INCOG Air Quality Stakeholder Group?
What is reduced RVP gasoline?
Does mowing with a gasoline-powered mower really hurt air quality?
Why is it important to wait until evening hours on Ozone Alert! Days to do certain things?
Doesn't industry create most of the pollutants in the Tulsa Area?
How can my actions on Ozone Alert! Days help the air pollution problem?
Why is the Ozone Alert! Program necessary?
What can the public do?



What is the area covered by the Ozone Alert! Program?
The area covered by an Ozone Alert! for Tulsa is the area that would be designated non-attainment by the EPA if the standard is violated. We consider that area to be our 'air shed'. It is, at minimum, Tulsa County and portions of Creek, Osage, Rogers, and Wagoner Counties. We also define this area as the Tulsa Transportation Management Area—the regional transportation planning area. , however EPA could expand or contract this area. The Clean Air Act defines the potential non-attainment area to be all of Tulsa County and six surrounding counties—the Tulsa Metropolitan Statistical Area, however it also gives EPA authority to expand or contract the designated area.

I live in Owasso. Do I need to take action on Ozone Alert! Days?
Yes! Absolutely! Importantly! Owasso and the communities surrounding Tulsa are considered the Tulsa area air shed. Ozone Alert! Days are called to 'clear the air' and hopefully continue to maintain the EPA ozone standard. If we violate the standard, EPA would place us on the 'dirty air list', officially termed in non-attainment. Should any one of the five air shed monitors violate the EPA ozone standard, the area designated non-attainment would be at minimum all the metro area and communities including Tulsa county and surrounding portions of Creek, Osage, Rogers, and Wagoner Counties (Owasso and many more communities surrounding Tulsa). The Clean Air Act, by default language, gives EPA authority to designate non-attainment the full Tulsa Metropolitan Statistical Area—which is ALL 7 counties including and surrounding Tulsa county.

How can I find someone with whom to carpool?
Visit the Transportation Resource Center website at www.TulsaTRC.org.

What would it mean to go on the dirty air list?
A non-attainment designation would mean that a plan to reduce the emissions to an acceptable level would have to be made, submitted to EPA for approval, then implemented. It is likely that the cost of implementation and planning would be paid by the citizens of the area and the state. Exactly who would pay and how much would depend on the plan. More specifically, it would depend on the degree (or how much) of 'dirty air' we have. It is safe to say it would not be FREE to those of us who live here.

What is the ozone standard?
EPA has revised the national ozone standard three times—the last in October of 2015. The new standard is calculated by averaging data over a three year time period. This average is taken from the fourth highest (eight-hour average) at each monitor. A violation occurs when the 3-year average (of the 4th highest value) is greater than .070 ppm.

How are we doing in meeting the ozone standard?
The Tulsa area is in compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for Ozone and is designated attainment. We additionally anticipate an attainment designation of the new .070 ppm by October 2017.

What is the difference between "exceeding" the ozone standard and "violating" the ozone standard?
The EPA's national ozone standard is considered to be "exceeded" when any one monitor records an 8-hour ozone average greater than .070 ppm. This corresponds to an Air Quality Index (AQI) of higher than 100, which means unhealthy air. Exceedances may occur throughout the ozone season, however an area is not considered to have "violated" the standard unless/until the 3-year average of ozone (specifically of the 4th highest readings) is greater than .070 ppm (see the Ozone Standard and the Score Card for more information).

What is the Ozone Alert! Program?
Ozone Alert! is a voluntary emissions reduction initiative that asks people to do what they can to reduce ozone-forming emissions on days it's needed most. Ozone Alert! Days are forecast no later than 3PM, for the following day. Ozone Alert! actions help keep tons of ozone-forming pollutants out of the air we breathe. People in the Tulsa area have been taking Ozone Alert! Day and Season action since 1991.

Is Ozone a health problem?
It depends on where it is. At ground level, indeed it is. Excess ozone is a human health threat, causing lung problems and eye irritation. Everybody is vulnerable to ozone's effects, but children, the elderly, people with respiratory conditions, and those who work, exercise, or play strenuously outdoors are particularly at risk. In the stratosphere, however, the ozone layer acts as a shield, protecting us from harmful ultraviolet rays. The Ozone Alert! program addresses the importance of preventing the formation of ground-level ozone and protecting public health. One way to think of ozone is that is is "Good Up High but Bad Nearby".

When is Ozone Alert! Season?
Ozone Alert! Season for the Tulsa area runs, generally speaking, May through September. Since ground-level ozone problems are triggered by hot windless sun-intense weather patterns, an Ozone Alert! Day could happen earlier than May or later than September. They'd be issued if necessary even outside of Ozone Alert! Season. Of course, not very often.

Who decides that it's an Ozone Alert! Day?
The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality forecasts Ozone Alert! Days using modeled computer simulations taking into account pre-cursor emissions build-up, temperature, wind speed and direction and cloud cover. Ozone transport from other areas is also considered in the forecasting.

What is the INCOG Air Quality Stakeholder Group?

The INCOG Air Quality Stakeholder Group is a partnership among local governments, business, industry, health and environmental stakeholders.

What is reduced RVP gasoline?
Fuel that has reduced RVP (Reid Vapor Pressure) evaporates more slowly and emits less ozone-forming emissions into the air. It is one of many different types of reformulated gasoline blends used by nonattainment areas in the summer months to help control ozone levels. Thanks to our refiner, supplier and retailer stakeholders, the Tulsa Area had a voluntarily provided low RVP summer gasoline program that actually began in the early 1990's. From 2001 through the summer of 2012, Tulsa area fuel stakeholders voluntarily provided a 7.8 psi RVP gasoline. The resulting dramatically lower ozone levels indicate the importance this program had to improving regional air quality. Technology improvements in vehicle engines and fuel formulations have vastly improved emissions from transportation sources over the past decade, allowing for the voluntary fuel program's suspension in 2013.

Does mowing with a gasoline-powered mower really hurt air quality?
Yes! Some studies suggest that mowing with a gasoline-powered lawn mower for one hour produces as much ozone-causing hydrocarbons as 10-hours of driving a late model car.

Why is it important to wait until evening hours on OZONE ALERT! days to do certain things?
Ground-level ozone is formed when the sun makes certain emissions turn into ozone—over time—usually one or several hours of time. Putting your ozone-forming emissions into the air in the early hours before daybreak, (by filling your gas tank or mowing the lawn in the early morning) means those emissions will be prime several hours later for making ozone in the sunlight! In the evening when the sun starts to set, less solar energy and less time is available make ozone. Also, evening winds often increase to help dissipate emissions overnight even more. Often, evening winds may increase as well, allowing emissions to somewhat dissipate over night.

Doesn't Industry create most of the pollutants in the Tulsa Area?
Well, no. Industry is well-regulated and as emission reduction technologies become available, industry most often embraces these too as lower emissions generally means more efficiency. People, however, tend to live and pollute much more freely. Generally speaking, 50% of our ozone forming emissions come from the every-day activities of people. And working together, it's reducing those 'people polluting activities' that can make the most immediate and drastic difference on Ozone Alert! Days.

How can my actions on Ozone Alert! Days help the air pollution problem?
It's true that ground-level ozone is one of the toughest pollution problems to control—especially since so much of it is caused by uncontrollable weather conditions. Rather than looking to what can't be controlled, we can take actions that really do help clear the air! Easy everyday actions like driving less or waiting to refuel on Ozone Alert! Days is proven to make a difference. Working together, the Tulsa Metro area has dramatically improved our air quality AND maintained compliance with the EPA's ozone standard.

Why is the Ozone Alert! Program necessary?
Everyone breathes—and everyone deserves clean air. The Ozone Alert! Program helps to keep the air clean for everyone who lives, works and breathes in the Tulsa area. Continuing to clear our air and maintain the EPA ozone standard is also important to our economic health. By taking no cost or low cost voluntary actions on certain days during the summer, we can all choose clean air!

What can the public do?
On Ozone Alert! Days, people can make easy choices to reduce pollution that causes ground-level ozone. These Ozone Alert! Day action tips mean cleaner air for everyone:

Combine trips, consider car pooling, or public transit. Or even better...enjoy the day by riding a bicycle or walking to errands and activities. Tulsa Area Transportation Resource Center is a great place to get ideas, find a carpool, bus information, trails, and much more! www.TulsaTRC.org.

Refuel vehicles, lawn equipment, and gas cans carefully. Avoid topping off the gas tank and be sure to lift the hose high to avoid spilling gas when finished. When finished, be sure to tighten the gas cap completely. And, of course, choose to refuel in the evening hours.

Avoid idling your car on Ozone Alert! Days especially—but also all summer long. Also try to drive economically. Did you know that when you're efficient to save gasoline, you're also helping reduce pollution?

Here's an easy one—Take the lawn chair over the lawnmower...especially on Ozone Alert! Days. With limited emissions controls, gas-powered lawn and garden equipment pollutes a lot more than than driving a car. Try relaxing on Ozone Alert! Days and letting the grass grow a little for a noble cause.

Stay informed. Be SURE you are signed up to receive Alert! Day notifications. You can sign up for text alerts by texting the word OZONE to #41411. Or get email alerts by signing up here online. You can like our FaceBook Page and even Follow us on Twitter. Ozone Alert! Days are announced during weather reports on TV and radio, in the Tulsa World, and other local news. And remember, it's important to know the day before the Alert! Day, so you can plan ahead to take action to help clear our air.

Share the knowledge. Every time the Ozone Alert! message is multiplied, more people get involved and our air benefits! Share FaceBook posts, tell your friends and family when Ozone Alert! Days are issued—nd be a 'clean air' example. We can all help clear our air!