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W.Va. county OKs ozone level plan

June 13, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

Charles Town, W.Va. - The Jefferson County Commission on Thursday approved its part of a regional plan to reduce ozone levels.

The plan includes possible ways that ozone levels could be reduced, such as car pooling and requiring buses to be retrofitted after a certain period so pollutants can be minimized, said Jefferson County Commissioner James G. Knode.

The two pollution reduction proposals were one of many on a list, Knode said.

"It's not a commitment to do any of them," Knode said.

The plan is to forward the pollution reduction proposals to the federal Environmental Protection Agency to get feedback and determine which methods would work best, Knode said.

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Officials in Jefferson and Berkeley counties are working together on the plan to reduce ozone levels.

The ozone level for Berkeley and Jefferson counties has been up to 88 parts per billion, over the federal acceptable level of 84 parts per billion, officials have said.

To avoid being designated as a "nonattainment area" in the two-county region, a group of officials from both counties had to come up with a plan to reduce ozone levels.

A wide array of proposals to reduce ozone levels have been considered, such as asking people not to mow grass on certain days and encouraging more bike riding and walking instead of relying on car travel.

Ground level ozone, commonly known as smog, is a toxic gas that, when inhaled, can cause respiratory problems. Ground level ozone, unlike the ozone level in the upper atmosphere, is formed when hot summer sun mixes with pollution from vehicles, industry, consumer products and power plants.

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