Group seeks to reduce ozone emissions in Omaha metro

Omaha, NE – The EPA, Douglas County Health Department officials and MAPA are moving ahead with ozone reduction plans.

Next month, the EPA plans to change its standards relating to the amount of ground-level ozone. Depending on the new measurement, the Omaha metro could find itself out of compliance with standards. Several local organizations are partnering on plans to reduce ozone levels in the metro.

MAPA executive director Paul Mullen says the agency currently runs a carpooling program. They're also working through our long-range transportation plan to provide choices in terms of how to get to work every day. Mullen says those options will eventually include expanded bus routes.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources Executive Director Richard Leopold says they're working on initiatives that promote environmentally friendly ways to get to work.

MAPA, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, and Douglas County Health Department are among the groups that'll share a $60,000 EPA grant. It'll be used for community outreach and planning.

In addition to business and transportation, the plan also will focus on reducing ozone levels at home. Environment Omaha says using an electric or push mower, planting a rain garden, and using a programmable thermostat all help reduce pollution.