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All American Asphalt

Background

South Coast AQMD has an ongoing investigation concerning the All American Asphalt's (AAA) hot mix asphalt batch plant. The facility is located in the City of Irvine, within a few miles of multiple residential communities. South Coast AQMD’s investigation seeks to address numerous complaints lodged by local residents, who have identified asphalt and burnt rubber-type odors from the facility. There was a noticeable increase in complaints starting in September 2019. Since then, South Coast AQMD has received over 700 complaints alleging AAA as the source of odors. South Coast AQMD’s enforcement team took immediate action in response to those complaints.

As a result of our efforts, AAA has taken steps to alleviate the impact of odors on the surrounding community, such as making repairs to certain equipment, increasing the use of odorant in the facility’s processes, rerouting trucks carrying asphalt away from residential neighborhoods and requiring those trucks to utilize tarps. Following these changes, the number of public complaints decreased until there was a significant increase in complaints in September 2020. That same month, however, the facility applied for an air quality permit with South Coast AQMD in order to install new odor control equipment, as a proposed long-term solution to the problem. This equipment (two carbon adsorption units) will help decrease odors from the facility. South Coast AQMD is expeditiously reviewing the permit applications for this equipment, which cannot be installed until we complete our review. None of the permit applications recently submitted by AAA seek to increase the facility’s overall asphalt production and/or throughput. Additionally, South Coast AQMD is reviewing the permit applications for potential adverse environmental impacts under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), which includes a review of potential air quality and health risk impacts associated with the project. Once the permit is issued, we estimate it will take approximately a month or less to install. Please note, questions concerning the CEQA analysis conducted by the land use agency when the residential properties were proposed to be constructed, should be directed to the land use agency. 

Following an on-site inspection of the facility in October 2019, South Coast AQMD issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) due to violations of permit requirements. Furthermore, inspectors conducted extensive complaint investigations that led to the issuance of five NOVs to AAA for public nuisance, with the most recent NOV issued on October 14, 2020. During this time period, the facility has not been found to have exceeded any throughput or emission limits, nor has any subsequent facility inspection identified violations of any permit conditions.

With respect to odor nuisance investigations, inspectors are sent to meet with complainants to verify the odor experienced by the community. It is not a matter of the human nose being more reliable, but rather having an independent person confirm the odor and therefore the complaint. This confirmation is legally required to pursue a public nuisance action. It is a separate process from collecting scientific data, which South Coast AQMD is attempting to do by developing a focused monitoring/sampling plan that is specific to the community. This monitoring/sampling effort originated from concerns raised by local community members, and we look forward to collaborating with the community on the project. Preliminary air sampling efforts have already begun, though there have been some delays caused by the Silverado Fire.

Regarding concerns about facility expansion, based on South Coast AQMD’s information, AAA has not expanded operations since 2016. This facility produces asphaltic concrete and has active permits for existing equipment with South Coast AQMD, which currently limit monthly production and contain conditions to ensure they operate within air quality rules and requirements. South Coast AQMD establishes and enforces regulations that require facilities to meet certain conditions and/or emission limits. The specific requirements are consistent with our authorities and mandates under state law, as well as our overall mission to protect the public from the harmful effects of air pollution

South Coast AQMD takes community concerns very seriously and recognizes that outdoor pollutants can affect indoor air quality. South Coast AQMD has been actively addressing the complaints regarding the AAA facility to address emissions from this facility. Regarding comments from residents about outdoor versus indoor pollution, and the variety of sources of VOCs, there is ample scientific literature that identifies many indoor sources of VOCs, such as paints, furniture and building materials. Some typical indoor VOCs include formaldehyde and benzene. Any measurement of indoor VOCs would likely pick up VOCs from indoor sources.

This investigation is a top priority for South Coast AQMD, and we remain committed to doing everything within our authority to help protect the residents of Irvine. South Coast AQMD recently met with local community members, improved communication with non-English-speaking residents and increased the presence of inspectors in the field. We encourage members of the public who experience air quality issues such as those described above to call the South Coast AQMD complaint hotline at 1-800-CUT SMOG (1-800-288-7664) or to enter an online complaint via our website.

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South Coast Air Quality Management District

21865 Copley Dr, Diamond Bar, CA 91765

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