Agency: Sac Valley hurts GV air the most |

Agency: Sac Valley hurts GV air the most

Smog from the Sacramento Valley remains Grass Valley’s biggest air quality problem, according to the agency that monitors air pollution in western Nevada County.

Wind transported enough ozone from Sacramento toward Grass Valley to violate national air ambient standards for 29 days during 2000, according to the annual report the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District will present to the Grass Valley City Council Tuesday.

Ozone readings at the district’s office in Grass Valley were also high enough to exceed the state’s air quality standards for 80 hours on 18 separate days.

Ozone, a prime ingredient of smog, can cause chest pain, nausea, headaches and other health hazards. National ambient air pollution standards are set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. California’s Environmental Protection Agency determines the state’s standards.

“Most of our pollution is transported from the Sacramento basin,” Joe Fish, air pollution specialist for the district, said Friday. “We want to see Sacramento do more to control pollution.”

“I don’t know how much local pollution contributes to the local problem,” Fish said, “(but) we don’t think it’s significant … . If we parked every car and shut down every business, we would still have a problem.”

Most people who call the district staff complain about smoke in the air, said Fish, who estimates the staff receives 150 complaints a year.

In an effort to decrease smoke pollution, all newly installed wood stoves and fireplaces in Grass Valley have to comply with tougher federal air pollution standards. In addition, city residents can receive up to $2,500 to exchange their old wood stoves for new ones.

Grass Valley residents can still burn leaves, needles and other yard waste on certain days. City Councilman Gerard Tassone said Friday the city may eventually have to ban open burning to improve air quality. “I don’t think it’s right to open burn in the city.”

Fish said the report for 2001 should be ready soon. The report for 2000, which was published in September, is late in part because the staff had to work on other projects, he said.

The district, a division of the state EPA, also monitors air quality in Sierra and Plumas counties and Truckee.

Know and Go

WHAT: Grass Valley City Council

WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: Council Chambers, City Hall, 125 E. Main St.


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