The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says air quality data from 2006–2008 has improved for Muscatine and Scott counties from the previous two years, when air monitors showed too much pollution in the air.
Air Quality bureau chief, Catharine Fitzsimmons, says the readings that were above the E-P-A standards threatened to put the counties under stricter regulations.
Fitzsimmons says the E-P-A had proposed declaring the area was in "non-attainment" status which meant restrictions on any new construction air pollution emitting sources. She says that would put a damper on any new economic development, but with the numbers falling, those more stringent regulations won’t come into play.
Fitzsimmons says the readings in the two eastern Iowa counties have been up and down. She says they’ve seen an every other year fluctuation where they see a good year and then a bad year, but they are hoping efforts in the area will keep the bad readings from happening again. Fitzsimmons says the new numbers have been sent to the E-P-A.
Fitzsimmons says the E-P-A has prepared a process to assure quick review of the numbers and they hope to have the issue resolved very quickly. The air quality problems involved fine particles in the air which must not exceed 35 micrograms per meter under the E-P-A standard. The readings hit 36 in Muscatine and 37 in Davenport to go over the standard.