State and federal environmental officials announced that Polk County is back in attainment for air pollution.
The change is effective March23 and includes a maintenance plan to prevent a recurrence of conditions that led to non-attainment.
A portion of Polk in the Bartow-Mulberry area has declared a non-attainment area in 2018 because of sulfur dioxide emissions from Mosaic’s New Wales and Bartow plants.
The change occurred after Mosaic completed improvements at its plants last year, according to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The announcement was made in a Thursday press release issued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
“With the recent focus on improving water quality around the state, people often forget that we are responsible also to safeguard the air. We are clearly doing a good job in that regard. Attainment of ambient air quality standards across the state drives that message home and highlights the importance of maintaining strong public and private partnerships to protect Florida’s environment,” said Florida Chief Science Officer Dr. Tom Frazer, according to the press release.
The EPA had also classified portions of Hillsborough and Nassau counties for non-attainment for sulfur dioxide but both are now under maintenance status.
In the 1990s, Hillsborough and some other Florida urban areas had been in non-attainment for ozone caused by vehicle emissions, but are now in maintenance status.