WINDSOR HEIGHTS –The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced July 25 the city of Muscatine and areas to the east, west and north are in nonattainment of the one-hour national ambient air quality standard for sulfur dioxide (SO2).
This determination was based on available air monitoring data for the three-year period of 2009 through 2011.
The designated boundary within Muscatine County is approximately the area encompassed by The Mississippi River south to the Muscatine County line west to the junction of state highways 92 and 61. The eastern border approximately aligns with the city of Fairport. The northern border is about where County Road F70 transects Muscatine County.
EPA bases nonattainment designations on certified air quality monitoring data provided by the states as well as an assessment of nearby emission sources and weather patterns that contribute to the monitored levels.
Sixteen states had areas declared in nonattainment for SO2. When a state’s area is designated in nonattainment, the state is required to submit a State Implementation Plan (SIP) demonstrating how it will meet the sulfur dioxide standard within five years. The SIP is due 18 months after the effective date of the final designation.
EPA established a new one-hour, sulfur dioxide (SO2) standard of 75 parts per billion June 31, 2010.
Air containing higher amounts of SO2 may impact public health. Children, the elderly and people with asthma and other lung diseases are most susceptible to health problems. Heath problems include narrowing of the airways which can cause difficulty breathing and increased asthma symptoms.
For more specific information about the EPA’s nonattainment designation for SO2 in the Muscatine area, go to http://www.epa.gov/so2designations/tsd.html