The Environmental Protection Agency has declared several counties in Kentucky and Indiana to be out of compliance with federal standards for fine particle air pollution, or soot. Jefferson is one of those counties. But Louisville Air Pollution Control District spokesman Matt Stull says the city has been looking into ways to reduce this pollution for several years. And he says state regulators had hoped to avoid the EPA ruling because of progress already made.
“There were significant enough what they call exceptional events that we shouldn’t necessarily be held responsible for, such as wildfires blowing in, soot from other areas, as well as events like the 4th of July where there was a significant amount of particle pollution from fireworks, kind of outlier days, if you will,” says Stull.
Fine particles are much smaller than the width of a human hair. They can lodge in the lungs and enter the bloodstream. And they can aggravate lung and heart conditions. The state will now have to develop a plan for EPA approval to reduce those particle levels by 2014.