Sulfur Dioxide Concentrations in Washington County

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EPA has deemed five counties in Ohio in violation of natural standard of sulfur dioxide concentrations. Washington County is one of them.

"The United States EPA sets federal air quality standards for certain pollutants and provides them with general air quality data. They use that data to determine which areas are not meeting the standard," said Heidi Griesmer, EPA Spokesperson.

The EPA says it's not the entire county but four industrial sites, among them the coal fired power plant AEP announced they were shutting down just a few weeks ago in Beverly. EPA spokesperson Heidi Griesmer says she is not sure how that particular situation is going to be dealt with.

"I am not sure, I cannot say for sure today if that, that might be all they need to do or I don't know how that will play into it. But that will certainly reduce sulfur dioxide emissions once the plant closes," said Griesmer.

Washington County Commissioner David White says with the closing of the plant. The problem might already be solved.

"(The) Closing of the AEP, the last coal firing plant in our area. So I think it's a problem that is taking care of itself. I know the EPA's findings were a big part of why the power plant is closing," said Commissioner White.

The EPA says they keep tightening their standards to help make the air the cleanest it can be. So the over all air quality it much better than it use to be years ago.

"We are always working towards meeting the standard because the air is continually getting cleaner over time. So actually that is a good message for the average Ohioan because that means over time the area that they are breathing is getting cleaner," said Griesmer.

Now the EPA says they keep lowering or tightening the standards to make sure the air is getting cleaner and cleaner as the years go on but the public asks the question, if we want to keep jobs in the area and some of these companies can't meet the regulations, where do you draw the line between clean air and keep the economy afloat.

"Hard to take someone on a date without having money to spend on it, you know what I mean? You have to have money to live. You have to take care of the environment but where do you cross the line into over reaching," said Jermey Barton, Washington County Resident.

Local residents says air quality is an important issue however, the issue itself is a wider national issue.

"It does, I mean it should, I've got kids, they got to grow up, breath it, anyone that is concerned about their future should be concerned about it. A lot of these things cross boarders, Washington county, Noble county to Wood County. What Washington County does might have a very small impact but what the government does, the federal government will have much more of an impact on it," said Donald Powell, Cambridge resident.

Commissioner White says the air quality has improved greatly over the years.

"I like it here. I think our air is very good. Study's are what they are, you can infer any conclusions you want from any study the EPA does and I think I will let that statement stand for itself," said White.

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