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Air District offers electric equipment to commercial lawn care operators

Air District offers electric equipment to commercial lawn care operators

Zero-emission program promotes air-friendly practices

Commercial lawn care operators are invited to participate in a pilot program to use and evaluate zero-emission lawn and garden equipment. 

The Valley Air District is accepting applications through Sept. 20 for the new Cordless Zero-Emission Commercial Lawn and Garden Equipment Demonstration Program. The pilot program is open only to commercial lawn care operations located in the Valley air basin and must be used in non-residential applications. 

Participating companies can choose from a list of approved vendors offering battery-operated equipment that includes commercial-rated, self-propelled and cordless lawnmowers, sweepers, blowers, chain saws and trimmers.  An Air District grant program will fund the demonstration equipment for companies and public agencies selected for the program.

Season’s first Air Alert planned for next week

Season’s first Air Alert planned for next week

Annual program calls for action to keep ozone levels low

As Valley schools go back into session and vehicle traffic picks up, Air District officials are gearing up for the first Air Alert episode of 2012.

The annual air quality-notification program addresses elevated ozone (smog) levels that correlate to increased vehicle use, including back-to-school traffic. About 80 percent of the Valley’s ozone is caused by mobile sources. During back-to-school week, vehicle idling is also a major air-quality concern.

“We are asking people to refrain from idling their vehicles when dropping off or picking up schoolchildren,” said Jaime Holt, the District’s chief communications officer.

Air officials were encouraged by the public’s reception to the first Air Alert notifications in 2011 and anticipate a similar response this year.

Wildfire smoke impacts northern counties: Air officials warn of smoke emissions through weekend

Wildfire smoke impacts northern counties: Air officials warn of smoke emissions through weekend

Smoke from a wildfire near the northern boundaries of the San Joaquin Valley air basin is impacting San Joaquin County, with potential impacts in Stanislaus and Merced counties.

Air officials said the pattern may continue through the weekend, and encourage residents in these areas to monitor their local air quality and take appropriate precautions as needed.

“Our standard is, if you can smell smoke, you are being affected by it,” said Jaime Holt, the District’s chief communications officer.

Smoke produces large quantities of particulate matter, which can exacerbate or cause respiratory disease and lung damage.

The fire in Plumas County is producing smoke that is remaining in the air basin because of a stagnant high-pressure system.

Excessive heat watch for San Joaquin County

Excessive heat watch for San Joaquin County

The National Weather Service predicts increasing temperatures over 100 degrees that will last for the next several days and into next week throughout the region.

Temperatures this hot can cause undue stress on the human body, as well as pets and livestock. A prolonged period of hot temperatures may lead to the serious medical conditions of heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Public health officials urge the public to be prepared and take precautions to prevent heat stress. San Joaquin County Health Officer, Dr. Karen Furst emphasizes, “Heat stress can result in heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, or heat rashes, so it is also important to be aware of dangerous heat related symptoms.”

Air quality deteriorates as ozone levels climb

Air quality deteriorates as ozone levels climb

Rising ozone levels throughout the San Joaquin Valley are causing air quality to deteriorate, and local air officials urge residents to take health-protective measures where necessary.

Typical summer meteorological conditions are ideal for ozone (smog) formation, which officials expect to continue through Thursday.

The District has developed a valuable tool to help residents stay informed about air quality in their area. The Real-Time Air Advisory Network (RAAN) is a free, automated data delivery service that links the subscriber’s computer to an air monitor of choice. (For more information and to subscribe to RAAN, visit http://www.valleyair.org/Programs/RAAN/raan_landing.htm).

San Joaquin County Public Health Officials Urge Residents to Take Precautions for Hot Weather

San Joaquin County Public Health Officials Urge Residents to Take Precautions for Hot Weather

Temperatures in San Joaquin County are predicted to rise above 100 degrees this week. Local public health officials are urging the public to take precautions to prevent heat stress. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year more people in the United States die from extreme heat than from hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes combined.

Air officials urge fireworks restraint

Air officials urge fireworks restraint

Emissions from annual activity pose preventable health threat

As the Fourth of July approaches, Valley Air District officials urge Valley residents to consider the effect of fireworks on their own and their neighbors’ health.

Fireworks emit large quantities of dangerous particulate matter (PM), pumping airborne material, including soot, ash and metals, in the Valley’s air. This type of pollution causes serious health effects, including lung infections, bronchitis and cardiac illness. People with existing respiratory conditions, elderly people and small children are especially susceptible.

The increase in PM also jeopardizes the Valley’s progress in meeting health-based air-quality standards.