Major Accomplishments from South Coast AQMD in 2021 – the Year in Review

We are making progress in our core mission to improve air quality. The Governing Board passed some significant rules that will reduce air quality impacts from warehouses, refineries, and related operations. Here are a few highlights from this past year.

Warehouse Indirect Source Rule - In May, the Governing Board adopted Rule 2305, known as the Warehouse Indirect Source Rule. The rule requires warehouses larger than 100,000 square feet to directly reduce NOx and diesel particulate matter (PM) emissions, or to otherwise facilitate emission and exposure reductions of these pollutants in nearby communities. Warehouses are a key destination for heavy-duty trucks and have other sources of emissions like cargo handling equipment all of which contribute to local pollution, including toxic emissions, to the communities that live near them. About half of the air pollutants that contribute to smog come from the goods movement industry, with the largest source being heavy-duty trucks heading to warehouses across Southern California. This rule is expected to reduce smog-forming emissions by 10-15 percent from warehouse-related sources.

Refinery Rule - In November, the Governing Board unanimously adopted Rule 1109.1 which requires additional emissions controls on equipment from refineries. See full story.

Multiple Air Toxics Exposure Study (MATES) V Released - Since 1986, South Coast AQMD has conducted the Multiple Air Toxics Exposure Study (MATES) every few years to better understand the levels and health impacts of air toxics in the region. Earlier this year, the agency released MATES V, which provides data on the long-term impacts of regional air toxics levels in the South Coast Air Basin using air monitoring, emissions inventory, and health risk modeling. The latest report shows a continuing trend of significant decreases in toxic emissions and exposures. Results show toxic air pollution has decreased by more than 54% since 2012 but continues to disproportionately contribute to health risks in some communities, such as those near freeways and ports. Diesel particulate matter remains the main contributor to cancer risk from air toxics.

Local Airports Submit their First Annual Reports on MOU Implementation Progress - To help meet emissions reductions outlined in the 2016 Air Quality Management Plan, five local airports entered Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with South Coast AQMD. Beginning in 2021, then every year through 2032, the airports will submit detailed annual reports to document progress toward implementation of these MOU measures. Los Angeles International Airport, John Wayne Orange County Airport, Hollywood Burbank Airport, Ontario International Airport, and Long Beach Airport all made significant progress towards meeting their MOU measures and are on track to meet their 2021 performance targets.

Salton Sea Monitoring and Notification System—In May, the Governing Board approved the upgrade and expansion of the monitoring and notification system for hydrogen sulfide (H2S) at the Salton Sea in the Eastern Coachella Valley. As part of the upgrades, South Coast AQMD will develop a new, automated system that will be used to notify subscribers when H2S levels exceed the state odor nuisance standard. Those who sign up online will receive real-time notifications via email. In addition to the upgraded public notification system, South Coast AQMD will add up to three additional H2S monitors in the area to better capture odor events. There are currently two H2S monitors in the Eastern Coachella Valley, one in Mecca, and one on the northern shore of the Salton Sea.

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