What We Do
The purpose of the Air Quality Division (AQD) is to safeguard public health and the environment by ensuring Bexar County maintains air quality standards. Through collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), and the City of San Antonio, the Air Quality Division produces pragmatic solutions to air quality issues. The AQD ensures all residents and communities enjoy a decent standard of living by implementing interdisciplinary approaches to solve our county’s air quality issues.
The EPA currently classifies Bexar County as being in "nonattainment", as set by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The Clean Air Act (CAA) Title 42 Chapter 85 requires these Standards. Being in nonattainment means that, presently, Bexar County is in exceedance of one of the criteria. Currently, Bexar County is in exceedance of the Ozone (O3) criteria pollutant standard. This means that the concentration of Ozone at ground level in Bexar County is too high
What does this mean for Bexar County residents?
There are numerous impacts to the county to include but not limited to: health and welfare, ecosystem degradation, crop yield and quality, and economic loss. These impacts are substantial and measurable, with potential economic losses estimated to be in the billions.
What can you do to help?
- Cutting down on electricity use at home can benefit your health, the environment, and reduce your electric bill!
- Unplug electronics that are not in use for long periods of time
- Install timers and, if possible, smart systems to manage electricity usage
- Turn off lights when you leave the room
- Install high efficiency LED Light Bulbs
- Close doors when coming and going from your home
- Consider turning off cooling and heating systems altogether when conditions allow
- Encourage local businesses to adopt some of these practices also, if they haven't already
- Keeping up with maintenance on your vehicle
- Find a suitable alternative energy source such as wind or solar
- Install weather stripping to windows and doors
- Install energy efficient windows in your home
Why is this important?
Most importantly, improved health is a direct product of significant reductions in electricity and fossil fuel consumption. Lower power usage means less pollution in the air we breathe. This means less development of Asthma in children and fewer emergency cases of asthma. Even healthy adults experience inflammatory responses to O3 exposure and benefit from pollution reduction. Reduction of Ozone also positively affects the metabolic, cardiovascular, and nervous systems.
Investing in long-term solutions allows homeowners to save thousands of dollars annually. Investing in multiple energy saving measures creates positive feedback loops, where benefits create more benefits! Imagine being able to charge your electric vehicle with the electricity that you stored from your solar panels. In addition, achieving energy independence provides insurance and redundancy in emergencies such as power outages.
Want to learn more?
- EPA - Ground Level Ozone Basics
- EPA - Ground Level Ozone Protection
- EPA - Clean Air Act
- EPA - NAAQS
- EPA - Carbon Footprint Calculator
- TCEQ - Air Quality
- TCEQ - Air Quality Forecast
- TCEQ - Texas Emissions Reduction Plan
- COSA - Air Quality Website
- AACOG - Air Quality / Natural Resources
- Energy Star - Ways to Save