Powerful partnership resources help TVA protect the Valleys natural
|A TVA intern
checks ozone monitors on the Lead Cove Trail in the Great Smoky
Mountains National Park.
with a variety of partners continue to yield knowledge and progress
in the area of air-quality improvement, an issue of major concern throughout
the Valley and the nation.
The key to understanding
any problem is careful research, and the problem of air pollution is
no exception. To help provide
qualitative and quantitative data on air quality, TVA has made a significant
investment in research: the agency funds or co-funds 37 monitoring stations
across the Valley, which measure fine particulate matter, acid deposition,
sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and ozone.
Because the ecologically delicate Great Smoky Mountains National Park
is often at the center of concerns about regional air quality, it serves
as a specific focus of TVAs research. During
the summer of 2000, the agency collaborated on a number of intensive
air-quality studies there.
In an ozone-sampling
project spearheaded by the National Park Service and conducted in August,
TVA interns and Public Power Institute personnel measured the presence
of ground-level ozone during typical summer weeks, using filters placed
on six-foot poles throughout the park. The studys results will
combine the factors of ozone exposure, elevation, topography, and vegetation
type to determine ozone patterns across the parks complex terrain.
An understanding of these patterns is crucial to the goals of protecting
public health and safeguarding the parks diverse plant life.
co-funded by TVA, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Electric Power
Research Institute, was conducted at the Smokies Look Rock Supersite.
It measured the impact of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide,
and fine particles on air quality. The findings will help determine
the extent to which TVAs operations affect air quality in the
Great Smoky Mountains. Steve
Mueller, a Senior Specialist with TVAs Air, Land & Water Sciences
department, called the effort a scientific way of playing out
day-to-day conditions that occur in the Smokies and noted that
some of the measurement instruments used in the study are more advanced
than those required by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Data from both
of these studies are being processed and computer-modeled to ensure
accuracy. The data will yield information that can provide a wealth
of knowledge for use by TVA and by interested stakeholders like the
Southern Appalachian Mountains Initiative, which is scheduled to complete
an integrated assessment of factors affecting air quality in the Southern
Appalachians in December 2001.
TVA also supports action aimed at decreasing the threat to the Smokies
ecology posed by automotive emissions, especially the nitrogen oxide
thats a major contributor to ozone formation. In September of
last year, TVA loaned an electric-powered Ford Ranger pickup truck to
the National Park Service to help it study the use of electric vehicles.
The truck has the reliability, safety, and durability of a conventional
vehicle, and between recharges it can operate for 80 to 120 kilometers
(50 to 75 miles) at speeds of up to 120 kilometers per hour (75 mph),
depending on the terrain.
Friends of the
Smokies, a nonprofit group organized to support the park, will buy enough
renewable Green Power Switch electricity from the Sevier County Electric
System to keep the trucks batteries charged for at least a year.
This electric vehicle could even be a forerunner of change in the way
visitors explore Americas most heavily used national park. We
believe the truck will show visitors that electric vehicles can be used
in mountainous terrain and will demonstrate a clean-energy alternative
for vehicle use in the park, says Supervisory Park Ranger Steven
By working cooperatively
to find solutions that promote improved air quality, TVA is continuing
to help people breathe easier, here in the Valley and everywhere else.
Read about the efforts
of TVAs 12 Watershed Teams, which
marshal volunteer resources at the grass-roots level to help Valley
improve their water resources.
Leads to Conservation
TVAs work with the Raccoon Mountain Nature Preserve helps
protect wildlife habitat.
Council Begins Work
council advises TVA on resource management.
issues are too large for any one entity to tackle alone. Thats
why the work being done with the Southern Appalachian Mountains Initiative
by various stakeholders is critical. Pooling resourceseven among
stakeholders with differing policy objectivesand working cooperatively
is the only way to achieve the common goal of understanding and addressing
regional air-quality issues.
Muller, Regional Air Quality Supervisor, North Carolina Department of
Environment and Natural Resources