News: Something in the Air

Environmental advocates detail air-quality violations

Joe Simon

Marti Sinclair, program director at the Environmental Community Organization

A study of major sources of industrial pollution in Hamilton County has found significant violations of the federal Clean Air Act.

The Environmental Community Organization (ECO), a local network of environmental activists, checked the compliance of 124 significant air pollution sources in the county. ECO found that 43 facilities violated the Clean Air Act for at least one quarter between 2004 and 2006 and 28 had been in violation for eight or more quarters. ECO relied on from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Enforcement and Compliance History Online database.

Monitoring of ambient air quality has shown Greater Cincinnati repeatedly failed to meet standards for ozone and particulate matter, according to the EPA. The ECO report cites direct emissions of sulfur oxides, nitrous oxides, ammonia and volatile organic compounds.

The Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services is enforcing a state implementation plan to bring Greater Cincinnati into compliance with federal air-quality standards.

Pointing to smog and soot as seriously harmful, especially to those with asthma, lung disease, heart disease and other circulatory diseases, ECO reports 2,052 admissions to Hamilton County hospitals for asthma and bronchitis for the years 2001-2005. Local children have been deprived of the equivalent of an entire summer's worth of days due to indoor restriction on smog days — more than 83 days for between 2001 and 2010, ECO concludes.

The group reports that nearly 17 percent of Hamilton County

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