Mid-Year Air Quality Report

Santa Barbara County Air Quality News July/August 1996

Inside this Issue:

Mid-Year Air Quality ReportHow Much Data Do You Want?APCD Budget ApprovedClean Air CarsElectric IncentivePermit & Compliance Summary

Index of Topics in Past Issues

On the Air is a bimonthly newsletter published by the Planning and Community Assistance Section of the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District. For more information on items in this newsletter, or to be added to our print subscription list, contact Megan Miley, [email protected] or (805) 961-8833.

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Mid-Year Air Quality Report  

In May, three violations of the health-based federal ozone standard were recorded in Santa Barbara County. Coupled with exceedances recorded in 1994 and 1995, this means that the county will not attain the federal ozone standard by 1996 as required by the Clean Air Act, nor will we be eligible to apply for an extension of the deadline. We are working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to determine exactly how this will affect local air quality planning, air monitoring, and regulatory requirements. Here is a summary of what we do know:

What is our current air quality situation? EPA has established health based air quality standards for ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, and lead. Santa Barbara County is in compliance with all of these standards except for ozone.

There are two terms that describe an area?s air quality with relation to the federal ozone standard ? exceedance and violation. An exceedance of the standard is simply when a monitoring station records a one-hour concentration that is equal to, or greater than, 0.125 parts per million (ppm). A violation of the standard occurs when the fourth highest one-hour concentration recorded at an individual site during a three year period is equal to, or greater than, 0.125 ppm. When an area like our county records one or more violations of the ozone standard, we are considered a nonattainment area.

Three monitoring sites violate the federal ozone standard for the three year period ending in 1996: One near Exxon Las Flores Canyon, one near the Gaviota Terminal Company, and one near Gobernador Canyon in Carpinteria. Therefore, we will not meet the attainment deadline.

Although we continue to experience ozone levels above the federal ozone standard, our air quality is improving ? just not fast enough to meet the Clean Air Act deadline for attainment.

What will happen now that Santa Barbara County has failed to attain the federal ozone standard by the Clean Air Act deadline? The Clean Air Act requires that EPA reclassify ?moderate? nonattainment areas such as Santa Barbara County to ?serious? nonattainment if they fail to attain the federal ozone standard by 1996. However, EPA is considering modifying the standard which may, along with many other issues, influence what will happen.

While there are several unanswered questions, it appears that we may be required to strengthen our local Smog Check program for cars. If EPA reclassifies us to ?serious? we may also be required to collect additional air quality data, implement more stringent permitting requirements for large sources of air pollution, adopt additional programs to reduce motor vehicle emissions, and revise our Clean Air Plan to determine whether additional pollution controls are necessary.

Are we affected by pollution from other counties and, if so, does EPA take that into account? Air pollution does not respect county boundaries and transport of air pollution is a component of the ozone problem in almost all areas. On some high ozone days, Santa Barbara County is undoubtedly significantly affected by transport; on other days, transport is not as important. Ozone is a regional pollutant and the approach envisioned in the Clean Air Act is to require pollution controls for all areas with ozone problems unless they are overwhelmingly affected by transport and do not affect other downwind areas.

Are there any provisions to allow areas of the county with better air quality (e.g., North County) to avoid additional requirements? The Clean Air Act may allow for a consultative process between state and local agencies to determine if an area classified as serious can have its boundaries amended to exclude any portion that does not significantly contribute to violations of the federal ozone standard. If EPA determines it appropriate, a study could be conducted to assess whether the additional requirements under the ?serious? nonattainment classification should apply only to the southern region of the county. There have been no violations of the federal ozone standard recorded in the northern region of the county since the three year period of 1989-1991. The last violation of the federal ozone standard occurred at Paradise Road 1991, while the last exceedance was measured at Gaviota Terminal Company site B in 1993.

What is the status of EPA?s review of the health-based ozone standard? EPA is under a court order to revise the standard pursuant to a suit filed by the American Lung Association and will propose a new standard as early as this summer. Foremost in the standard revision is the proposed change of the one-hour 0.12 parts per million standard in favor of an eight-hour standard that could be set somewhere between 0.07 and 0.09 parts per million. The new approach could also revise the number of times an area can exceed the standard before the standard is actually violated. Most recently EPA has been considering a hybrid approach which, for the first time, would set up three-tiers including an ?unclassified? category that would fall between attainment and nonattainment classifications.

Summary While Santa Barbara County?s air quality continues to improve, the improvement has not been fast enough to meet the federal Clean Air Act deadline for attaining the federal ozone standard. This may trigger actions by EPA that would require us to implement additional planning, monitoring, and regulatory actions to achieve the standard. APCD staff are working closely with EPA and ARB to ensure that the requirements of the Clean Air Act are implemented fairly with full consideration of the needs of our county.

For more information, Call Tom Murphy of the Planning and Community Assistance Section, 805-961-8857.

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Monthly Maximum Ozone ConcentrationsJanuary through June 1996

Some data are preliminary and subject to change after calibration and quality assurance.

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 How Much Data Do You Want? 

We have received several requests to print air quality data in this newsletter. In order to make the best use of the space we have, we’d like to know how much data you want:


    Daily concentrations or monthly maximums? Which monitoring sites? Always or just when we have exceedances?


If you have an opinion or ideas, please call Megan Miley, 805-961-8833.

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APCD Budget Approved  

At their June 21 meeting, the APCD Board unanimously adopted the proposed budget for fiscal year 1996/97 and praised APCD staff for the collaborative process by which the budget was developed. The process included a publicly distributed budget document, two public workshops, two Board hearings, and numerous meetings with industry groups.

The APCD?s $11 million budget includes $5.3 million for regulating onshore sources of air pollution, $2 million for outer continental shelf oil and gas projects and related onshore facilities, and $3.7 million for Innovative Technologies, of which approximately 90% passes through to local businesses and agencies to help them purchase clean technologies.

The adopted budget includes a $2.1 million annual savings to permit holders resulting from reduced fees and monitoring requirements.

The APCD faces continuing revenue reductions as air pollution emissions decrease and regulatory changes come into affect. We are developing a long range strategic plan to ensure that we continue to improve air quality and move toward meeting air quality standards.

For more information on the APCD budget, call Bobbie Bratz, 805-961-8890.

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Clean Air Cars

Clean air cars, also called reduced emission vehicles, are those that meet more stringent emission standards than the base emission standard for all new vehicles sold in California. It is important to know that cars not only come in different models, colors, and price ranges, but also produce different levels of tailpipe emissions.

We encourage all potential new car and truck buyers to consider the vehicle?s emission level when considering which one to buy. Reduced emission vehicles look and perform the same as standard vehicles. Nearly 50 models of gasoline powered vehicles are certified as reduced emission and thousands are already on the road!

There are four different levels of reduced-emission vehicles:


    Transitional low-emission vehicles (TLEV) are 50% cleaner than standard vehicles. Low-emission vehicles (LEV) are 70% cleaner. Ultra low-emission vehicles (ULEV) are about 85% cleaner. Zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) are 100% cleaner. They emit no exhaust or evaporative emissions of any kind. At this time, only electric vehicles qualify as ZEV?s.


The following 1996 model year gasoline vehicles have been certified as transitional low- emission vehicles ? 50% cleaner than standard vehicles when purchased with the engine noted:


    Buick Skylark 2.4L-4Chevrolet Beretta 2.2L-4, Cavalier 2.2L/2.4L-4, Corsica 2.2L-4Chrysler Town & Country 3.3L-6, Concorde 3.3L-6Dodge Caravan 3.3L-6, Grand Caravan 3.3L-6, Intrepid 3.3L-6, Neon 2.0L-4Eagle Vision 3.3L-6Ford Crown Victoria 4.6L-8, Explorer 4.0L-6, Probe 2.0L-4, Ranger 4.0L-6Honda Accord LX Sedan 2.2L-4Hyundai Accent 1.5L-4 Lincoln Town Car 4.6L-6Mazda B4000 4.0L-6, MX-3 1.6L-4, MX-6 2.0L-4, 626 2.0L-4, Protege 1.5L-4Mercury Grand Marquis 4.6L-8Mitsubishi Expo 2.4L-4, Galant 2.4L-4, Summit 1.5L/1.8L-4, Summit Wagon 2.4L/1.8L-4 Nissan Altima 2.4L-4, Sentra 1.6L-4, 200SX 1.6L-4Oldsmobile Achieva 2.4L-4Plymouth Grand Voyager 3.3L-6, Voyager 3.3L-6Pontiac Grand AM 2.4L-4, Sunfire 2.2L/2.4L-4Saturn Sedan, wagon & coupe 1.9L-4Subaru Legacy 4-door & wagon 2.2L-4, Brighton 2.2L-4, Outback 2.2L-4Suzuki Metro Hatchback 1.0L-3Toyota Celica 2.2L-4, Camry 2.2L-4Volvo 850 2.4L-5


Source: Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District. For more information call Megan Miley, 805-961-8833.

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Electric Incentive

Last year, the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District Board committed $70,000 to help put electric vehicles on the road. Funds were awarded from the clean air surcharge on motor vehicle registration fees to CALSTART, a non-profit transportation consortium in Burbank, to be used as seed money for companies and individuals in Santa Barbara County to purchase electric passenger cars and small trucks. Buyers will be eligible for a $5,000 incentive. Electric vehicles are expected to retail between $20,000 and $35,000. We are expecting a matching $50,000 grant from the California Energy Commission.

For more information, call Mahesh Talwar, 805-961-8822.

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Permit & Compliance Summary

    APR 1996     MAY 1996  
ATC Applications Received 11 8
ATC Permits Issued 15 12
PTO Applications Received 15 9
PTO Permits Issued 8 24
Exemption Requests 1 1
Exemptions Determined 2 1
Title V Part 70 Applications Received 1 3
Inspections Made 146 92
Notices of Violation Issued 20 67
      Administrative Infractions Documented  8 30

Contents of this issue | Business Focus | Index of past issues

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New Phone Numbers
The District has new direct lines for all staff, as well as for all of our phone lines, including our main phone number and Complaints line. You can find our new phone numbers on this webpage.

Nuevos números de teléfono
El Distrito tiene nuevos números de teléfono para comunicarse con el personal directamente, así como también para todas nuestras líneas telefónicas, incluyendo nuestro número principal y el de las Quejas. Puede encontrar nuestros nuevos números de teléfono en esta página web.