|Oct. 3, 2008
successful pilot program this year, Southland air quality officials today
awarded $1.125 million to provide high-efficiency air filtration devices at
schools in communities surrounding the Valero oil refinery in Wilmington.
“School children have a right to breathe clean air,” said William A.
Burke, Ed.D., chairman of the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s
Board. “Southland refineries must comply with some of the toughest air
pollution laws in the nation. This will give an extra level of protection
to school children in the Wilmington area.”
Today’s action will provide $1.125 million for IQAIR North America to
install high-efficiency air filtration devices at schools in the Long Beach
and Los Angeles unified school districts located in communities impacted by
industrial and refinery emissions. IQAIR was selected through a competitive
bid process earlier this year. AQMD will work with the school districts over
the next few months to identify schools that are most impacted.
Air filtration devices range in cost from less than $100 for a
high-efficiency filter for use in existing heating, ventilation and air
conditioning (HVAC) units to about $8,500 for a stand-alone air filtration
device used in schools without existing HVAC systems. The number of schools
participating in the project will vary depending on the device required at
In December 2006, AQMD funded a pilot study at three elementary schools
located near refineries, other industrial facilities and freeways in the
Carson-Long Beach area. The project tested the effectiveness of various air
filtration devices at removing pollutants from indoor air. Preliminary
results from two schools -- Hudson Elementary in Wilmington and Del Amo
Elementary in Carson – showed that the low-cost, high-efficiency HVAC
filters are effective at removing particles from indoor air.
The project is funded by a penalty settlement with the Valero oil
refinery following its failure to meet a May 9, 2007, deadline to phase out
its use of the highly toxic chemical hydrogen fluoride (HF). Valero
accumulated $1.125 million in penalties before completing the phase-out of
HF on January 25, 2008.
Earlier this year, AQMD approved a plan to use penalty funds from Valero
for air quality and public health-related projects. Today’s award will help
expand the air filtration program to schools in communities surrounding the
Valero refinery and help reduce children’s exposure to particulate matter
and diesel emissions.
AQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major
portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.