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Sustainability Blog

Welcome to the City of Buda Sustainability Commission Blog! Here you will learn tips on environment-friendly activities and practices.

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Jun 18

Ozone Action Days and What You Can Do

Posted on June 18, 2020 at 10:37 AM by Micah Grau

By Sustainability Commissioner Brittany Davis

Ground-level ozone levels are highest during the summer months in our area. The days when ozone levels are above normal can impact our health (yikes).

But wait, what is “ozone.” We hear about it all the time, but what is it really? According to takecareoftexas.org, “Ozone, sometimes referred to as smog, is a gas that is formed in the atmosphere when three atoms of oxygen combine. The chemical structure of ozone is the same wherever it is found; however, there are two categories of ozone: stratospheric and ground-level.”

The ground-level ozone is the one that can impact our health causing acute respiratory health effects if people breath a lot of it within a short period of time. Effects can range from decreased lung function, pain with deep breath, to aggravated asthma.

Ozone Action Days have been implemented to try to reduce ozone levels on days when the forecast predicts higher than normal levels of ozone. For the Austin metro area, our Ozone forecast season begins April 1 and ends October 31. So now, in June, we are in the middle of this peak time. Here are some tips to help limit ozone formation: 

  • Limit your driving (which has been easier as of late due to work-from-home requirements)
  • Fill up your car with gas early in the morning or  late in the afternoon or evening
  • Keep your vehicle maintained (especially tire pressure!)
  • Maintain your yard equipment (change the oil and replace air filters regularly)
  • Consider using yard tools that don’t have motors
  • Use paint and cleaning products with fewer volatile organic compounds

You can also stay up to date with ozone action day notifications by signing up for e-mail and Texas alerts about air quality forecast at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/TXTCEQ/subscriber/new

We can all do our part to contribute to reducing ozone formation so we can be healthier throughout the peak summer months.

TCOT Ozone Tips