DEQ reports historic year for good air quality in Va.

Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 3:56 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) — Clean air in Virginia has once again reached historic levels, according to a press release from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

The official 2020 ozone pollution forecasting season has come to an end, and the Virginia DEQ reports the state had 34 more “good” air quality days this year than the previous record set in 2017.

The DEQ also reports that no unhealthy air quality readings were recorded at 22 of Virginia’s 23 ozone pollution monitors. Loudoun County experienced only one day with an average ozone concentration greater than the 70 parts per billion national standard that can mean unhealthy conditions for children, the elderly and those with heart or lung conditions.

“For too many years, we experienced extreme air pollution but through the development of more stringent pollution regulations and controls, I’m happy to say that ozone pollution isn’t the threat it used to be,” said DEQ Director David Paylor in the press release. “It’s taken a lot of hard work to get here, but we now consider ozone another environmental success story similar to how we effectively controlled acid rain.”

“This year we experienced 50 percent more days with ‘good’ air quality than we’ve seen during the previous five years,” said Air and Renewable Energy Division Director Michael Dowd in the press release. “The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many drivers staying off the road and that has had an effect on Virginia’s low ozone readings; however, the low levels of pollution we are seeing this year are certainly in line with the long-term trend of lower ozone concentrations.”

You can find current regional air quality conditions and forecasts on the Virginia DEQ’s website.

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