WICHITA, Kansas — Wichita is under an ozone warning Friday and leaders are hoping residents will do their part to cut down on emissions that can create ozone. They say if the ozone gets too bad it could actually cost us all a lot of money.
The highway signs around town warn of an ozone alert, but does anyone know what it means? Most people we talked with said ‘no’.
What it means is that you can see smog over Wichita on bad ozone days. Yes, smog. It is not clouds but nasty air. And the federal government will ding Wichita with some big-time fines if we keep going over ozone limits.
“It might cost you something,” said air quality specialist, Tonya Bronleewe. “Reformulated [gasoline] might be something at the pump every individual could pay more.”
Tonya is with the City of Wichita. She says we get a few “free” days to go over government regulations for ozone days but when we go over too many times we could pay more at the pump. The feds could even take away highway funding.
The city measures ozone inside a little box. There is a bank of computers taking readings.
So how do we keep the numbers down so we don’t pay later?
Don’t mow during the day; don’t fill up during the day; don’t paint — that releases volatile organic chemicals which add to ozone. City officials also ask that you carpool because too many cars add to the ozone.
But will Wichita residents do all these things? Maybe.
If not, we may pay up down the road.
Air quality experts also say there are health issues to consider when we get high ozone levels. People with breathing issues, or the frail or elderly, should consider just staying inside on Friday.
Even healthy people could feel a tightness of the chest or have trouble breathing.
AirNow.gov Wichita Ozone Levels