Ozone monitor installed at City Hall | TheUnion.com

Ozone monitor installed at City Hall

People planning to go for a walk or take their kids to a soccer game can now check hourly ozone readings online before going outside.

Members of Save The Air in Nevada County installed a permanent ozone monitor on the rooftop of Nevada City’s City Hall in their effort to gather a clearer picture of how ozone moves through the county.

“We’re trying to get a better idea how ozone varies in the area,” said Paul Frederickson, chair of STA in NC’s monitoring committee. The group is looking to find a Grass Valley rooftop for another monitor.

The new monitors will collect one- and eight-hour averages and compare them with state and federal standards. People can then view the information on STA in NC’s Web site at http://www.stainnc.org/.

The Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District has one ozone monitor on the Litton Building near Sierra College.

STA in NC raised $10,000 to install another permanent monitor in Penn Valley that should produce data within a couple of weeks, said Shawn Garvey, a member of the group.

Because of the region’s hilly terrain and wind patterns, ozone readings vary depending on location, Frederickson said.

Ozone is invisible and is formed when oxides of nitrogen created from vehicle exhaust and power plants react with sunlight.

High ozone levels reduce the elasticity of lungs and cause breathing problems, burning eyes, sore throats and headaches. Young children, the elderly, asthmatics and athletes are especially susceptible to high ozone levels. So far, this year’s mild temperatures have resulted in only one high ozone day.

Much of Nevada County’s ozone is transported by wind from the Sacramento and Bay areas.

A Sierra Ozone Summit will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. this Wednesday at the Holiday Inn Express in Grass Valley. For details, go online to http://www.myairdistrict.com/index.php/summit.

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