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The air is cleaner in Washoe County

Release Date: 04/04/2008
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, 415947.4149,

Truckee Meadows area re-designated as attainment for the national carbon monoxide health standard

SAN FRANCISCO –Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized its January proposal to officially re-designate the Truckee Meadows area of Washoe County, Nev. as an attainment area for the national health standard for carbon monoxide.

The EPA also approved the county’s plan that shows how the region will continue to maintain healthy levels of carbon monoxide in the area for years to come.

“The hard work invested by Washoe County and the State of Nevada has paid off. Washoe County has met the federal carbon monoxide standard, so you can all breathe easier,” said Deborah Jordan, Air Division director for the U.S. EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “We commend your efforts, which can serve as a model for other areas.”

In the past 30 years, the region has seen significant improvements in carbon monoxide conditions thanks to the federal motor vehicle control program, state vehicle inspection and maintenance program, local oxygenated gasoline program, and local residential wood-burning regulations.

This achievement is good news for the health of the region’s 400,000 residents. Washoe County has worked to meet the health standard since being designated a non-attainment area in 1978. The Truckee Meadows portion of Washoe County is an area that includes the cities of Reno and Sparks. The eight hour health standard for carbon monoxide is set at 9 parts per million and the Truckee Meadows area has not violated the federal carbon monoxide standard since the early 1990's.

Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a colorless, odorless gas formed when carbon in fuel is not burned completely. Health threats from lower levels of CO are most serious for those who suffer from heart disease. But, even for healthy people there are many negative health affects associated with high levels of CO. People who breathe high levels of CO can develop vision problems, reduce their ability to work, and have difficulty performing complex tasks. At extremely high levels, CO is poisonous and can cause death.

Notice of the final approval will be published in the Federal Register, to view the federal register notice, please go to: