Take Care of Texas News: Keep Our Air Clean and Drinking Water Week

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Keep Our Air Clean

Ozone is a gas that is formed in the atmosphere when three atoms of oxygen combine. Ozone is found high in the Earth’s upper atmosphere and at ground level. Ground-level ozone is not emitted directly into the air, but is created by chemical reactions between nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the presence of sunlight. Ground-level ozone, sometimes referred to as smog, mainly forms the highest concentrations on sunny days with slow wind speeds, which allow pollutants to accumulate. Summer days in Texas can be conducive for ozone formation as high-pressure systems dominate our local weather patterns, giving us clear skies and stagnant winds.

Ozone season has begun in Texas, but there are many things you can do to limit ozone formation:

Drive Less

To reduce air emissions, you can carpool with a coworker, use public transit, or simply combine errands when possible. Removing one properly maintained passenger car from the road for one year would save an average of 17 pounds of nitrogen oxides from being discharged into the air.

Maintain Your Vehicle

With regularly scheduled maintenance, a properly tuned engine, and full pressured tires, you can reduce your car’s emissions and improve gas mileage at the same time.

Refuel Your Car in the Evening

Refuel in the late afternoon and evening to reduce the likelihood of ground-level ozone formation. When filling your vehicle’s gas tank, don’t top it off, which can allow fuel to escape as vapor.

Reduce Idling

If you expect to idle for more than 30 seconds, park your vehicle, turn it off, and go inside. You’ll reduce your fuel costs and help keep the air clean.

To see your own area’s air quality forecast, see the TCEQ website on air monitoring. Read, download, or order publications related to air quality at TakeCareOfTexas.org.

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National Drinking Water Week is May 3-9

Only one percent of all of the world’s water can be used for drinking. Nearly 97 percent of the world’s water is salty or otherwise undrinkable, and the other two percent is locked away in ice caps and glaciers.


Consumer Confidence Reports: What's In Your Drinking Water?

By July 1st you should receive in the mail, or a link to, an annual water quality report (Consumer Confidence Report) from your water supplier that tells you where your water comes from and what's in it.

The CCR summarizes information that your water system already collects to comply with federal and state drinking-water-quality regulations. This information includes all of the following:

  • source(s) of water used (i.e., rivers, lakes, reservoirs, or aquifers)
  • chemical and bacteriological contaminants found in the water
  • explanation about contaminants that may be found in the water
  • populations that may be vulnerable to contaminants found in the water
  • compliance with drinking water rules (violations)
  • educational health information
  • contact information for the water system
  • opportunities for public participation

For more information on Consumer Confidence Reports, see the full TCEQ article.

TCEQ Events

Register Now for Dam Safety Workshops

The one-day workshops provide practical and straightforward information on issues that affect anyone who owns or operates a dam. The workshop includes sessions on Emergency Action Plans and Dam Maintenance. Register now.

Decatur: June 10, 2015, Decatur Civic Center

Austin: June 25, 2015, J.J. Pickle Center Austin

Kilgore: July 8, 2015, Kilgore College

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Energy Star Tax Free Weekend is May 23-25

During Memorial Day weekend, Texas shoppers get a break from state and local sales taxes on purchases of certain energy efficient products. See the State Comptroller’s website for more information.

Look and listen for new Take Care of Texas Public Service Announcements (PSAs) starting May 11.

Country music stars Kevin Fowler and Rick Trevino each have television and radio spots.


Take Care of Texas Trivia

(answers at bottom of newsletter)

1. How much energy does recycling one aluminum can save?

A. Enough to power a microwave for 30 minutes

B. Enough to power a computer for 15 minutes

C. Enough to power a TV for 3 hours


2. How much does the average American consume in paper, wood, and other products made from trees each year?

A. 5 trees

B. 7 trees

C. 13 trees


3. Americans use 4 million plastic bottles every…

A.     Hour

B.     5 hours

C.     Day

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Save your rainwater

Use the Take Care of Texas Rainwater Harvesting brochure to build your own rain barrel. These easy instructions show you how to use a 55 gallon trash can to make a barrel at a much lower cost than a prefabricated one. You can download the pdf, order free copies online, and watch the YouTube video online.

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Congratulations to the 2015 Texas Environmental Awards Winners

Agriculture: Dixon Water Foundation

Agriculture: Texas Alliance for Water Conservation

Civic/Community: TreeFolks

Education: Variety’s Peaceable Kingdom Retreat for Children

Innovative Operations/Management: H-E-B

Pollution Prevention: Nucor Steel-Jewett

Technical/Technology: Chevron Phillips Chemical Company-Orange

Water Conservation: City of Frisco

Youth: Riley Sanders

Look for videos and details of the winners over the next few months.


Newest Proud Partners:


A-1 Utility & Construction Services, Inc.

Angelina Beautiful/Clean

Brooklyns Community Child Care Center

Keep Texas Beautiful

Monterrey Iron & Metal

R2 Corp.

Toshiba International Corporation

USDA Rural Development

Valley Proud Environmental Council


Trivia Answers

1. C  2. B.  3. A