EPA says Muscatine area violates air standards

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the Muscatine area doesn’t meet air quality standards for sulfur dioxide.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says Friday the EPA has determined the area in southeast Iowa didn’t meet standards after assessing air monitoring data from 2009 through 2011.

The designated area includes Muscatine and parts of eastern Muscatine County.

The EPA’s decision means the state must submit a plan to demonstrate how to meet sulfur dioxide standards within five years.

The cause of the high sulfur dioxide level isn’t certain, but the EPA notes a number of sources, include a MidAmerican Energy power plant in Louisa County.

High sulfur dioxide levels can cause difficulty breathing and worsen asthma symptoms. Children, the elderly and people with lung disease are most susceptible.

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