Thursday, January 22, 2009

28-Hour Dirty Air Alert For Entire State

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has issued a dirty air alert for the entire state - - from about 8 a.m. today through noon tomorrow - - as unhealthy levels of microscopic particles in the air from power plants, smokestacks and tailpipes could find their way into your lungs.

And your kids' lungs. And your aged parents', and so forth.

I'll post the text of the DNR notice below.

Update: The DNR is focusing the advisory on several counties and refining the timimg a bit:

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is issuing an Air Quality Advisory for Particle Pollution (Orange) for Kenosha, LaCrosse, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, St. Croix and Waukesha effective 11:37 am on Thursday, January 22, 2009 through 9:00 am on Friday, January 23, 2009 .

And now further refined, and expanded from the first revision, above:

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is issuing an Air Quality Advisory for Particle Pollution (Orange) for Adams, Brown, Buffalo, Calumet, Chippewa, Clark, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Dunn, Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Grant, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jackson, Jefferson, Juneau, Kenosha, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Lafayette, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marquette, Milwaukee, Monroe, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Pepin, Pierce, Portage, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Shawano, Sheboygan, St. Croix, Taylor,Trempealeau, Vernon, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago and Wood effective 5:00 pm on Thursday, January 22, 2009 through 9:00 am on Friday, January 23, 2009

Remember that public officials, from The Governor, State Transportation Department and Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission are pushing more road expansion into and near our major population centers - areas already failing to meet minimal US clean air standards - - so the plan is for more traffic and emissions, not less.

And the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce wants existing clean air standards relaxed - - in the name of job development - - as if we have to trade clean air for work.

What goes into the air comes down onto the land and the waters. Mercury from coal-fired power plants falls into Wisconsin rivers, streams and lakes, contaminating fish and people who eat them.

Clean water and fresh air are not the intellectual province of environmentalists.

They are directly related to the health and welfare of every man, woman and child in Wisconsin, and it is intolerable that we constantly live in Los Angeles-style smog.

Here is the text of the DNR notice:

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is issuing an Air Quality Watch for Particle Pollution for all counties effective 7:51 am on Thursday, January 22, 2009 through 11:59 am on Friday, January 23, 2009 .

The watch is being issued because of the forecast for elevated levels of fine particles in the air. Fine particle pollution is composed of microscopic dust, soot, liquid droplets and smoke particles that are 2.5 microns or smaller. These fine particles come primarily from combustion sources, such as power plants, factories and other industrial sources, vehicle exhaust, and outdoor fires.

The Air Quality Index is forecast to reach the orange level, which is considered unhealthy for people in sensitive groups. People in those sensitive groups include those with heart or lung disease, asthma, older adults and children. When an air quality watch is issued, people in those groups are advised to reschedule or cut back on strenuous activities during the watch period.

People with lung diseases such as asthma and bronchitis and heart disease should pay attention to cardiac symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath or respiratory symptoms like coughing, wheezing and discomfort when taking a breath, and consult with their physician if they have concerns or are experiencing symptoms. Fine particle pollution deposits itself deep into the lungs and cannot easily be exhaled. People who are at risk are particularly vulnerable after several days of high particle pollution exposure.

To receive air quality advisories by e-mail, visit

There are several actions the public can take to reduce their contributions to this regional air quality problem.

Reduce driving when possible and don't leave vehicle engines idling.
Postpone activities that use small gasoline and diesel engines.
Minimize outdoor wood fires.
Conserve electricity.
For more ideas on how you can reduce your emissions today and every day visit: Do a little, save a lot!
For more information:

Air Quality Watches and Advisories Status Web Site
Daily Air Quality Hotline - 1-866-324-5924 (1-866-DAILY AIR)
Federal interagency air quality web site, for information on the Air Quality Index and nationwide air quality forecasts and air quality conditions,
DNR's statewide air quality monitoring web page,
For local DNR air management program contacts,

1 comment:

Vic said...

The report needs more information in it. I believe that today's alert has something to do with the weather that we are having but there is no mention of the cause of today being different from another day.

But even if it is the weather, it is important to note that if our pollution is trapped right where it is then what we produce will not allow us to breath.

I think that Waukesha County saying their only air quality problems are caused by Milwaukee manufacturers is disengenuous and factually incorrect.