Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection Calls 2022’s First ‘Code Orange’ Day for Bucks County

smoke in the air
Image via Marcin Jozwiak at Pexels.
Bucks County has seen its first high-temperature-related Pa. EPA warning about air quality this year.

Bucks County’s Memorial Day weekend revived several signs of summer: time outdoors, burgers on the grill, a backyard pool dip, and a fresh cut to the lawn. But it also brought back an unwelcome development: the declaration of a “Code Orange” ozone warning from the Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection, using its Air Quality Index (AQI).

The May 31 action covered the entire region: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties, as well as the city itself.

According to the state’s press release, the combination of sunny skies and mid-90s temperatures drove ozone concentration levels into Code Orange territory.

Air quality at that level triggers an AQI “Action Day.” Young children, the elderly, and anyone with a compromised respiratory system — diagnoses of asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, etc. — should actively revise behaviors when these days are identified.

The AQI scale measures the presence of pollutants on a scale of six colors:

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On a designated Action Day — those days on which pollutants register 101 or higher (orange through maroon) — residents are strongly encouraged to:

  • Reduce automotive emissions by:
    • Carpooling
    • Taking public transportation
    • Combining errands into one trip
    • Limiting engine idling
    • Refueling vehicles after dusk
  • Conserving energy by:
    • Setting home air conditioners to a higher temperature
    • Turning off lights that are not being used

A free, downloadable brochure explains more about the Environmental Protection’s Air Quality Index.