Higher than usual ozone levels have been detected this winter in the Upper Green River Basin. The area has seen a number of “Ozone Action Days,” when the amount of ozone in the air is high enough to present a danger to those with respiratory problems, the very old, and very young.
In response, the Sublette County Commissioners will host a public meeting Thursday to address the issue, and representatives from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality will be present to give information and hear from the public.
Ozone is created when oil and gas emissions combine with sunlight.
“You usually see low-level ozone in urban areas and during the summertime,” said Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality spokesman Keith Guille.
“What we’ve found is wintertime ozone is obviously during the winter. You have sunlight, a little wind, and you have the reflection of the snow and of course those emissions.”
Guille said they have seen elevated ozone in this area of the state since 2005, but after corrective action, there had not been a problem for a number of years.
“For the last five to six years we haven’t seen those levels up to what we saw in 2011. We’re seeing them again,” said Guille.
That prompted the department to issue Ozone Action Days.
“One of the challenges with wintertime ozone is obviously we can’t control the weather. That being said, the thing we can control the best in our ability as an agency is those emissions,” said Guille.
The meeting will take place at the Sublette County Library in Pinedale at 6 p.m. To check ozone levels and forecasts around the state, as well as be notified of ozone action days, visit wyvisnet.com.