QUESTION: “Will you be fined for mowing your yard during an Ozone Alert?”

ANSWER: No Fines - No penalties. The Ozone Alert! Program asks that you postpone using all gas-powered lawn equipment if you can on Ozone Alert! Days -- because it's the right thing to do. It will make breathing easier for children and adults who already have difficulty breathing on those days, and will help keep ozone levels down.

QUESTION: “Where can I see ozone days for last year? I would assume diesel creates ozone too is this true?”

ANSWER: Ozone Alert! Days, since the program began - are listed in the "Ozone Alert Data" section of the website (or by clicking http://www.ozonealert.com/oalerts03.htm) And, Yes, emissions from diesel vehicles are culprits in the ozone problem as well. Diesel emits some-though-less hydrocarbon (VOC) emissions than conventional gas; However, NOx emissions from diesel vehicles is significantly greater than conventional vehicles.

QUESTION: “I remember hearing about a number for reporting vehicles that were exhausting a lot of smoke. Does the program still exist? Please let me know and provide me the telephone # if it does.”

ANSWER: The program you are referring to is the Smoking Vehicle Hotline. The number WAS  744-SMOG, but unfortunately the program no longer exists.

QUESTION: “Is Tulsa a primary area for ozone depletion during the summertime? I am curious if this is a seasonal issue.”

ANSWER: Ozone is sometimes a confusing subject because it can be both good and bad. The good ozone is in the upper atmosphere and protects us from the sun's ultra violet rays. Depletion of the good ozone is a concern. Bad ozone is ground level ozone. It is a health hazard. Ground level Ozone can be a problem in the Tulsa area primarily from May through September, when the weather conditions can cause area emissions to “cook” and create unhealthy ground-level ozone.

QUESTION: “Just what are the geographical limits for ozone alerts?”

ANSWER: Ozone Alerts here in the Tulsa Area refer to the Tulsa Metro Area — the Tulsa Transportation Management Area (TTMA). To be specific the TTMA is all of Tulsa County plus portions of the surrounding counties. Something like drawing a circle around the City of Tulsa limits. Alerts are also called throughout the rest of the country specific to geographical and meteorological conditions in each unique air quality management area. As the Tulsa area is in attainment for ozone, our 'air quality management area' is not yet formally defined by EPA but will at least include the TTMA as identified above. If/when a designation of nonattainment occurs, the formally defined area could be an area much larger than the TTMA — even the entire Tulsa Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is all 7 of our surrounding counties, including Tulsa County

QUESTION: “Is it o.k. to operate diesel powered equipment in the metro area on days that are declared ozone alert days?”

ANSWER: Thanks for your question. It is best not to operate diesel powered equipment on Ozone Alert! Days. Diesel emissions do include ozone precursors. Although it’s important to remember that all Ozone Alert! Day actions are voluntary …that is, not enforceable, fines, etc.; by not using diesel equipment on those day, you are helping out. Ozone precursors include both hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide emissions. Diesel equipment emits less hydrocarbon emissions than gasoline powered equipment does, but much more NOx emissions than gasoline. If it is something that must be taken care of on an Alert Day, it is best to wait until as late in the day as possible…better even after the sun starts to go down. (Worst of all would be early in the morning, as those emissions would be in the airshed for the sun to ‘cook’ into ozone)