Santa Barbara County Attains State Ozone Standard

December 12, 2019

En Español

Lyz Hoffman, Public Information Officer, Santa Barbara County APCD, (805) 961-8819

Santa Barbara County Attains State Ozone Standard
County meets health-based standard for the first time

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. — Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) is proud to announce that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) today took action to designate Santa Barbara County as attainment with the state ozone standard – a first-time achievement for Santa Barbara County, which is now one of only approximately 14 counties in the state to reach this milestone.

When APCD was formed almost 50 years ago, Santa Barbara County faced many air quality challenges and violations of ozone standards. With every passing year, APCD staff – in partnership with Santa Barbara County residents, businesses, APCD Board of Directors, APCD Community Advisory Council, APCD Hearing Board, and state and federal agencies — have worked to improve local air quality over time. The state Office of Administrative Law will now review CARB’s proposal, and is expected to finalize this decision in 2020.

“It is a monumental day for Santa Barbara County,” said APCD Director, Aeron Arlin Genet. “On behalf of APCD and the many individuals who have worked for and with the agency over the last 50 years, I want to thank all of the public and private partners whose actions big and small over the five decades have led us to the success we see today. We look forward to continuing our mission to protect the people and environment of Santa Barbara County from the effects of air pollution.”

Ozone, or what is more commonly known as smog, forms when nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) react in the presence of heat and sunlight. Both NOx and VOCs come from transportation and industrial sources; VOCs also come from solvents and gasoline. The human health benefits of reduced ozone concentrations are noteworthy, as ozone can harm the respiratory system in a variety of ways, including reduced lung function and worsened asthma symptoms.

Key efforts that have contributed to improved ozone levels in Santa Barbara County over time include:
• APCD rules and regulations for stationary sources regarding emission-control technologies;
• APCD incentive programs for non-stationary sources outside of APCD’s regulatory jurisdiction, such as marine shipping and older cars;
• Leadership and measures from the State of California regarding mobile sources and consumer products;
• Cleaner passenger vehicles and trucks; and
• Local efforts to promote alternative transportation options.

“Looking toward the future, we are committed to preserving this new ozone attainment status,” said APCD Director Arlin Genet. “We recognize that we also have significant work to do to reduce levels of particulate matter and greenhouse gas emissions countywide.”

Pending final approval from the state Office of Administrative Law regarding the state ozone standard, the only standard – federal or state – that Santa Barbara County would still be nonattainment for is particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter (PM10). Examples of PM10 include wind-blown dust and smoke.