East Tennessee summer air quality best in 15 years

East Tennessee summer air quality best in 15 years

Posted:
Knox County Air Quality Management closely watches air pollutants, including how much ozone is in the air. Knox County Air Quality Management closely watches air pollutants, including how much ozone is in the air.
No alerts were issued this summer. No alerts were issued this summer.
"This is the first year that I can remember that we've had no alerts in this East Tennessee area," said Knox County Air Quality Management Director Lynne Liddington. "This is the first year that I can remember that we've had no alerts in this East Tennessee area," said Knox County Air Quality Management Director Lynne Liddington.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - East Tennesseans have been breathing a little bit easier this summer, all thanks to better than average air quality.

For the first time in more than a decade, not a single air quality alert has been issued all summer long.

What is causing the air advantage?

This summer has been much more mild than in years past and that makes a difference in the quality of the air we breathe.

Knox County Air Quality Management closely watches air pollutants, including how much ozone is in the air.

Based on what the department finds, an alert may be issued on a scale from good to hazardous.

For the first time in 15 years, when the department started issuing alerts, none was issued this summer.

"This is the first year that I can remember that we've had no alerts in this East Tennessee area," said Knox County Air Quality Management Director Lynne Liddington. "It's been cool. It's been wet. It's been a great summer."

Liddington says moderate temperatures and heavy rain prevent ozone to form as well as it might normally.

"With this summer, we've had a lot of rain and had a lot of overcast days, so we haven't had that buildup of ozone that we've seen in the past," said Liddington.

Liddington says poor air quality makes it hard to breathe, adding pressure you can feel on your chest.

In its most severe state, it can make breathing extremely difficult, making some people feel like they have a sunburn on the inside of their lungs.

That is why the air quality management department issues alerts to the public when air quality is poor. The alerts are especially for those who would be most affected, like children, the elderly and people who work outside.

"People have been able to enjoy themselves, not had to restrict their time outdoors like they've had to in the past," said Liddington.

The Knox County Air Quality Management team says there are several ways the public can help with air quality, including keeping your car tuned up to prevent it from putting out extra emissions.

For more information on ways to help, visit Knox County Air Quality Management's website or call (865) 215-5900.

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