The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) has released its request to have the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) consider changing Allen County from non-attainment to attainment status for ozone levels.
Allen County hopes to have its ozone attainment request approved later this year. IDEM has scheduled a public hearing to discuss the attainment status request. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 18 in the Omni Room of the City-County Building. After the public hearing, IDEM can then finalize their request and submit it to the EPA for consideration.
“A cleaner environment will help attract new jobs and businesses to our community,” said Mayor Graham Richard. “Our partnership with Allen County government, Citilink, other local agencies, businesses, and residents helped achieve the necessary lower ozone levels. Those continued efforts will move our community in the right direction for a better environment and economic opportunities.”
The City of Fort Wayne has implemented several programs to help reduce ozone. Fort Wayne has 13 hybrid vehicles in its fleet, 16 vehicles that run on ethanol fuel, and more than 300 vehicles that run on biodiesel. The City expects to save more than $112,000 by using alternative-based fuel vehicles. Emissions have been lowered at the City's asphalt plant resulting in a savings of $40,000 per year. Cleaner burning methane gas is now used at the City's Water Pollution Control Plant. As a result, the City no longer purchases nearly 8,000 gallons of diesel fuel each year.
National Serv-all garbage trucks are now implementing ozone-friendly equipment and technologies as part of their contract with the City. Ozone information and tips have been distributed to most utility customers in Allen County from efforts by City Utilities and AquaIndiana.
Allen County/Fort Wayne is in a position to regain attainment status due in part to a committed effort from local government, businesses and residents.
Over several years, these efforts have included:
- More efficient vehicles and cleaner burning fuels
- Improved efficiency of industrial processes and increased use of pollution control technologies
- Individual efforts such as: Delaying lawn mowing until after 6 p.m.; refueling vehicles later in the day; slowing down ' driving 55 mph instead of 65 mph; avoiding the use of drive-thru windows during hot weather; conserving energy whenever possible