PDA

View Full Version : Gasp! Share your choking experiences...


beelnite
06-20-2007, 07:27 AM
Hey all - It's summer time and that means high ozone days as our weather gets hot and stagnant. On hot, still days ozone levels in the Portland-Metro area rise and create smog. This can make it tough to breathe - particularly on that ride home.

Oregon DEQ issues Air Pollution Advisories on days like this. They used to be called "Clean Air Action Days", but are now known as "Summertime Air Pollution Advisories." Often we recommend people limit outdoor activities and use public transportation. But like me, many of you do your part each day - we commute with almost zero impact (ok, our bicycles and accessories had to be manufactured, granted) and some of us can't avoid the outdoors!

For more info check out www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/index.aspx

I work at the "Q" and I've been asked if I can locate any bicycle enthusiasts who would be willing to share their experiences struggling for good, clean air during their ride.

We're on the verge of stricter Ozone standards nationwide and interest from local media could be high. Usually reporters (particularly TV) ask us if we know of any "normal" people who would be willing to share their experiences.

This forum is a great place to start!

AND if you're interested in being on my list for possible contact by news folks send me an email with phone number to: knight.william@deq.state.or.us

THANKS!

fetishridr
06-21-2007, 11:47 AM
diesal exhaust sucks, gas exhaust sucks. the benzene that we all breathe is slowly killing us. The DEQ is inadequate, pandering to the special interests of the petroleum and automobile industries. yeah i'll comment on car exhaust. i choke on it every day. i hold my breath when trucks pass me. We should definitely have tougher standards. How about zero emission vehicles. NO greenhouse gases. How about requiring electric cars in portland (that can only be powered by renewable energy (not coal)).
When are we going to learn that its IRRESPONSIBLE to live far away from where you work. running to the suburbs only degrades that city that everyone depends on for their livelyhoods.

STOP DRIVING TO WORK! turn off the cell phone too, yes that means you, you almost ran me over but you didnt even notice.

Oldguyonabike
06-22-2007, 11:02 AM
Standing at a stoplight this morning a garbage truck pulled up next to me. The light turned and the combination of the black diesel cloud with the putrid garbage nearly made me vomit. Are garbage trucks exempt from city emission stds? I wonder if they register the trucks outside city limits at the transfer stations to avoid regulations.

beelnite
06-22-2007, 02:20 PM
Hey oldguy - All Heavy Duty Diesels are exempt from DEQ Vehicle Emissions testing. The standards for emissions are set nationally but apply to how the engine is manufactured. So: Off the assembly line engine X can only pollute X amount.

The good news is there has been some progress over the years. Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel is now required (as of 2007) for example. That's one less chemical to worry about.

These HDD's just aren't tested for emissions, simple as that. There is no control beyond local law enforcement's authority to ticket a "smoking vehicle" - But it has to be belching visible smoke for 7 seconds or more under a "light load." I can't recal the last time Portland City Police ticketed a Semi-Truck or even a passenger vehicle for that matter unless it was seriously aggregious.

The DEQ offers tax credits to HDD fleet owners for retrofitting and installing particulate traps or upgrading the fleet. DEQ has been pushing School Bus retrofits for quite some time now and recently there is some traction on the issue as more School Districts are getting on board. It's a constant battle to find funding for these projects, but it's possible.

Standards for cleaner diesel engines took effect nationwide in 2007, but diesel engines are tough and durable and can last a loooooong time if properly maintained. We're not going to see the results of stricter standards imposed on manufacturers HDDs for quite some time - until the fleet turns over and we can get the older HDDs of the road. Retrofiting and particulate traps, biodiesel (maybe - whole nuther topic let's not go there) could be an option.

So they aren't avoiding regulations, they're just in a whole different universe of regulatory control then the average Portlander having to pass DEQ for DMV renewal.

beelnite
06-22-2007, 02:35 PM
Hello fetishridr -

The DEQ is inadequate, pandering to the special interests of the petroleum and automobile industries.

That's not really a fair assessment. It's easy to throw barbs out like that. What are you doing to help?

We should definitely have tougher standards. How about zero emission vehicles. NO greenhouse gases. How about requiring electric cars in portland (that can only be powered by renewable energy (not coal)).

These are fantastic ideas! We're getting closer to something like that and should be seeing more Partial and Zero Emission Vehicles in the future now that the Oregon Low Emission Vehicle Rules have been put in place. Begining with 2009 model year, manufacturers who sell new cars in Oregon must meet the California standards for LEV. Basically they must meet a fleet average that is tougher than the feds.

Greenhouse Gas is on DEQ's radar screen of course.

EPA has a proposal on the table right now to tighten the national Ozone (Smog) standard. The comment period is now and you can comment on the proposed standard. Visit the site below to find out where Oregon ranks. Ton of info.

These are just a few of the steps in the right direction...

Check out these resources if you're serious about these subjects:

http://www.deq.state.or.us/aq/orlev/index.htm
http://www.oregon.gov/ENERGY/GBLWRM/index.shtml
http://epa.gov/groundlevelozone/

Oldguyonabike
06-22-2007, 02:54 PM
So which lobbyist got the HDD's emission exemptions? It really has gotten to the point some afternoons when its hot and I'm winded that diesel exhaust seems much more toxic that auto exhaust. Though I agree with the other post that the world will be a better place when all the petro dinosaurs die.

I crosss the county line to Clackamas every day and there seems to be more blue auto smoke out here. Looser regulations, looser enforcement or both?

I thought I heard on NPR this morning that the higher ozone standards of about 12% already took effect and that it would likely make no difference to Portland. The report cited only some areas of Lane County being affected in any real way.

eagerdrone
06-23-2007, 08:25 AM
In my expereince In order of lung annoyance:
Diesel exhaust is by far the worst, most noticeable when I'm waiting at a light behind a truck/bus. The smaller busses often used for handicap riders are terrible in the neighborhoods, they park for long periods with their engines running polluting the nhood with noise and fumes.

Second, is dust kick-up, particularly near construction areas and near freeways. The path along I-84 is probably the worst due to it's proximity to the traffic.

Third, is perfume/cologne, most noticeable on the bike/walk paths around town. This source causes me to gag.

Finally, there's a portion of SE near the DEQ on SE 11th and Salmon, where there is often a reek of waht smells like paint spray. Sometimes it is so strong that I'm literally gasping and thinking Union Carbide Bhopal India Disaster. I'm not sure of the source, but it seems to be centered right around that DEQ facility. Last summer it was much more frequent and I haven't noticed anything this summer.

Jonathan Maus
06-23-2007, 08:41 AM
I think it's awesome that beelnite from the DEQ not only came into this forum and asked for our feedback on his own, but he is taking time to respond to inquiries.

thanks bill. I should do a story on this on the main site. drop me an email if you can jonathan@bikeportland.org

fetishridr
06-25-2007, 10:44 PM
i think that some things need inflammatory remarks to ignite a conversation. i applaud the effort to reduce vehicle emissions. i think that is missing the point, the point being that we should be focusing on the use of vehicles in general. we should reduce the use of vehicles and their emissions.
every time an important piece of legislation comes along, a comprimise is made to appease someone. (bottle bill anyone? or mileage requirement for cars but not trucks or SUV's?????, fixed gear bill? etc, etc, etc).

so yes, lets reduce all emissions, starting with our own, and those around us, and then finally in the marketplace. lets stop allowing those with exhorbitant amounts of money control our quality of life by bending the very rules meant to ensure our health. lets reduce all emissions (on cars, trucks, tractors, mopeds, motorcycles, snomobiles, semi trucks, etc, etc, etc.

lazlo
06-27-2007, 11:06 AM
Diesel trucks and busses definitely the worst. The last two days I've noticed the stench from the CSO by the Steel Bridge. Must be from the heavy rain on Sunday.

Oldguyonabike
06-27-2007, 11:12 AM
Oh - forgot about the fiber glass factory along the 205 bike path out near Johnson Creek. How are they allowed to spew those toxic fumes? And there we are, winded and breathing deeply their toxic organic solvents. My prayer is that the path of the new light rail involves its demolition.

Duncan
06-27-2007, 11:21 AM
Hey oldguy - All Heavy Duty Diesels are exempt from DEQ Vehicle Emissions testing. The standards for emissions are set nationally but apply to how the engine is manufactured. So: Off the assembly line engine X can only pollute X amount.

The good news is there has been some progress over the years. Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel is now required (as of 2007) for example. That's one less chemical to worry about.

These HDD's just aren't tested for emissions, simple as that. There is no control beyond local law enforcement's authority to ticket a "smoking vehicle" - But it has to be belching visible smoke for 7 seconds or more under a "light load." I can't recal the last time Portland City Police ticketed a Semi-Truck or even a passenger vehicle for that matter unless it was seriously aggregious.

The DEQ offers tax credits to HDD fleet owners for retrofitting and installing particulate traps or upgrading the fleet. DEQ has been pushing School Bus retrofits for quite some time now and recently there is some traction on the issue as more School Districts are getting on board. It's a constant battle to find funding for these projects, but it's possible.

Standards for cleaner diesel engines took effect nationwide in 2007, but diesel engines are tough and durable and can last a loooooong time if properly maintained. We're not going to see the results of stricter standards imposed on manufacturers HDDs for quite some time - until the fleet turns over and we can get the older HDDs of the road. Retrofiting and particulate traps, biodiesel (maybe - whole nuther topic let's not go there) could be an option.

So they aren't avoiding regulations, they're just in a whole different universe of regulatory control then the average Portlander having to pass DEQ for DMV renewal.


There is more to the ultra low sulfer standards than just sulfer emissions, low sulfer diesels can use european technology to dramaticly increase efficency and reduce CO output. Its a good thing, and long over-due.

remember when the US led the world in reducing emissions... I do but thats cause I am old.

beelnite
06-28-2007, 08:56 AM
Hey gang - Back again, sorry for the delayed response time. I have to carve time to participate in this "new media" forum. I'll try to keep up and answer as best I can about Air Quality issues.

It's more than likely that a lot of you have answers and knowledge that I don't!!!

So I'll focus on sharing the DEQ perspective - It's also cool to get some feedback on what folks think about these issues!

To answer Oldguy's question about who's responsible for the big gap in diesel truck regulation -- and this is a sad answer -- it's just kinda been that way for a looooong time. I guess the good news is there is some action being taken in regards to manufacture of engines, fuel mixtures/types, etc. in lieu of stricter standards and tougher, on-scene enforcement.

Hey if anyone wants to talk to Oregon's expert on Diesel retrofits, standards and "Clean Diesel" call Kevin Downing, Oregon DEQ at (503) 229-6549 or email at: downing.kevin@deq.state.or.us . Kevin can also give you details on the "Clean Diesel" Bill that just passed the Oregon Legislature. We call him "Mr. Diesel".

I've been noticing a lot more "Smoking Vehicles" lately - this is typical as the season's change. Any visible smoke from a non-diesel vehicle means something is wrong with that vehicle (with the exception of water vapor in the winter). You can do something about it though!

Make a note of the license plate, the type of smoke and the vehicle and where you saw it.

Then visit the DEQ website. On our "Vehicle Inspection" page we have a form you can submit to report smoking vehicles:

http://www.deq.state.or.us/aq/vip/smoking.htm

Or you can call (503) 229-5066 (sorry, it isn't toll free outside PDX).

What happens then? Well we don't go and impound the car or anything, but we do send a letter to the owner of the vehicle. After about 90 days we follow up with a phone call and ask the owner what they've done to fix the problem.

This is a statewide reporting service - so if you're on your favorite backroad in the Steens - you can still report.

OK that's all for now - back to the more traditional outreach methods - My phones ringing!

WK

beelnite
06-28-2007, 09:03 AM
Oh one last comment regarding the smells around town from industrial operations.

Make a note of our Air Quality complaints hotline. We need to know when there are "nuisance" odors and emissions:

nwrcomplaints@deq.state.or.us

503-229-5393

In Portland you'll report to DEQ's Northwest Regional Office.

To report a complaint to Northwest Region (NWR) it must be in the following counties: Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Multnomah, Tillamook, and Washington.

The following information needs to be reported:

Date and time observed
Source
Location: Street Address, City, County, Zip, Phone
Description
Reported by: (this can remain confidential)
Name
Address, City, County, Zip, Phone