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AQMD to Fund Air Filtration Project in South Bay Schools

Oct. 3, 2008

Following a 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 each school.

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.


This page updated: October 03, 2008