2016 AIR QUALITY SUMMARY

This annual report provides information on the air quality in Santa Barbara County for 2016.

In 2016, Santa Barbara County met the federal standards for all measured pollutants except ozone and particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter (PM10). The 8-hour ozone standard of 0.070 parts per million (ppm) or 70 parts per billion (ppb) was exceeded on 3 days: 1 day in April 2016 and 2 days in September 2016. The 24-hour daily PM10 standard of 150 µg/m3 was exceeded on 9 days: 5 days in June/July 2016 and 4 days in October/November 2016. Preliminary analysis indicated that all of these high PM10 days are a direct result of both the Sherpa fire and Canyon Fires. The SBCAPCD has notified Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of our intent to file for exceptional event status for these readings, which if approved, would exclude them from regulatory consideration.

Santa Barbara County met the California state standards for all pollutants except for the 8-hour ozone standard, the 24-hour PM10, and the annual arithmetic mean for PM10.

The state 8-hour ozone standard of 0.070 ppm (70 ppb) was exceeded on 3 days. The California state PM10 standard of 50 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) was exceeded on 44 days.

The California state arithmetic mean PM10 standard of 20 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) was exceeded at 5 of the 6 stations collecting PM10 data.

Detailed information about the ozone and particulate matter exceedances in Santa Barbara County can be found at: Summary of Days Exceeding Standards.

National and State Ambient Air Quality Standards

The Federal Clean Air Act (CAA) (Title 1, Section 109) requires the EPA to prescribe national primary ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for certain air pollutants where public health criteria have been established. These pollutant levels were chosen to protect the health of the most susceptible individuals in a population, including children, the elderly and those with chronic respiratory ailments. A secondary standard is also prescribed to protect human welfare (visibility, crop damage, building damage). These pollutants are known as criteria pollutants.

The EPA currently has NAAQS for six criteria pollutants: ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2), lead (Pb), and particulate matter including (PM10) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5). Currently, Santa Barbara County is in attainment with all of the federal criteria pollutants.

In addition to the EPA standards, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has set air quality standards for the same criteria pollutants and four others: sulfates, hydrogen sulfide (H2S), vinyl chloride (chloroethene, C2H3Cl), and visibility reducing particles. The California Ambient Air Quality Standards are generally more health protective than the NAAQS, and typically are specified as not to be exceeded. A single exceedance is a violation of the applicable standard and triggers a nonattainment designation. As a result, Santa Barbara County is currently designated nonattainment-transitional for the 8-hour ozone standard, and nonattainment for the state 24-hour and annual PM10 standards.

Table 1 list the Federal and California standards applicable in 2016.

Figure 1 shows the locations of all monitoring stations in Santa Barbara County operating in 2016.

Air Quality Monitoring Station Status for 2016

In 2016, there were 18 monitoring stations operating in Santa Barbara County, of which eight were operated by the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District. The remaining stations were operated by the CARB, and private industry. The monitoring stations are divided into two categories: State and Local Air Monitoring Stations (SLAMS) and Industrial Monitoring stations (IMS). The SLAMS stations are designed to monitor the air in the urban areas of the county while the IMS stations are required by permit conditions in several facility permits to monitor for impacts to the air quality from the operation of these facilities. Table 2 lists the monitoring stations operating in Santa Barbara County during 2016 and the pollutants and parameters measured at each station. The Ellwood Odor monitoring station was granted a variance to temporarily suspend monitoring for one year during 2016 in order to relocate the site. The PM monitoring at the Santa Barbara station, operated by CARB, was temporarily suspended during 2016 due to access safety concerns.

Criteria Gaseous Pollutant Summary

The pollutant data collected in Santa Barbara County during 2016 has been summarized and can be downloaded here (PDF file): Santa Barbara County 2016 Pollutant Summary. This summary contains tables of the following data:

  • The four highest 1-hour ozone concentrations measured during 2016.
  • The four highest 8-hour ozone concentrations measured during 2016.
  • The four highest 1-hour concentrations for NO2 for 2016.
  • The four highest 1-hour concentrations for SO2 for 2016.
  • The four highest 1-hour concentrations for CO for 2016.

There were 6 sites which exceeded the Federal and State 8-hour ozone standards in 2016: Las Flores Canyon, Paradise Road, El Capitan, Santa Barbara, and Goleta. There were a total of 3 days where at least 1 of these stations exceeded the standards. The Las Flores Canyon site recorded an hourly CO value above the state standard of 20 ppm due to direct impact from the Sherpa fire.

No other Federal or State standards were exceeded for the other gaseous pollutants.

Particulate Matter monitoring

Six stations collected PM10 data in 2016. The six stations used a PM10 Beta Attenuation Monitor (BAM) sampler running 24-hours a day and calculating real time hourly values for ambient PM concentrations. Three stations collected PM2.5 data using a PM2.5 BAM, collecting continuous hourly data.

The particulate data collected in Santa Barbara County during 2016 has been summarized and can be downloaded here (PDF file): Santa Barbara County 2016 Particulate Summary. This summary contains tables of the data listed below.

  • The two highest 24-hour PM10 (Local Temperature and Pressure) concentrations measured during 2016 and the annual 24-hour average.
  • The two highest 24-hour PM10 (Standard Temperature and Pressure) concentrations measured during 2016 and the annual 24-hour average.
  • The two highest 24-hour PM2.5 concentrations measured during 2016 and the annual 24-hour average.

There were three stations in 2016 with measurements over the federal 24-hour PM10 standard of 150 µg/m3 combining for a total of 9 days over the standard. Preliminary analysis indicates that all of these high PM10 days are a direct result of both the Sherpa fire and Canyon Fires. The SBCAPCD has notified EPA of our intent to file for exceptional event status for these readings, which if approved, would exclude them from regulatory consideration. The highest 24-hour value was 436 ug/m3 was measured at Las Flores Canyon when the Sherpa fire was burning around the monitoring station.

Five of the six stations measured particulate levels over the state 24-hour California PM10 standard of 50 µg/m3 for at least one day during the year. The highest 24 hour value for 2016 (448 µg/m3) was recorded at the Las Flores station when the Sherpa fire was burning around the monitoring station. There were also 5 stations that measured a particulate level over the California state annual arithmetic mean standard of 20 µg/m3 for the year. The highest annual arithmetic mean was at the VAFB station with a value of 29 µg/m3.

There were no stations over the PM2.5 air quality standards in 2016.

New in 2016

EPA changes to the NAAQS:

The final ozone rule and associated standard of 70 ppb took effect on December 28, 2015. No additional changes to the NAAQS occurred in 2016.

Monitoring station changes in 2016:

No permanent changes to monitoring station locations or measured parameters occurred during 2016.