Air Quality Summary

This annual report provides information on the air quality in Santa Barbara County for 2011.  In 2011, Santa Barbara County met the federal standards for all measured pollutants except for the 8-hour ozone standard.  The 8-hour ozone standard of 0.075 ppm (75 ppb) was exceeded on 2 days.

Santa Barbara County also met the California state standards for all pollutants except for the 8-hour ozone standard and the 24-hour particulate matter less than 10 microns (PM10) standard.  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 8 days.  The California state arithmetic mean PM10 standard of 20 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) was exceeded at 3 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 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prescribe national primary ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for certain air pollutants, known as criteria air pollutants, for which public health criteria have been established. The primary standards are established to  protect the health of the most susceptible individuals in a population, including children, seniors, and people with respiratory conditions, including asthma, or heart conditions. Secondary standards are also established to protect human welfare (visibility, crop damage, building damage).  These pollutants are known as criteria pollutants.

The EPA currently has NAAQS for seven criteria pollutants:  ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2), lead (Pb), coarse particles (PM10) and fine particles (PM 2.5).

In addition to the EPA standards, the California Air Resources Board 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.

Table 1 lists the Federal and California standards applicable in 2011.

Figure 1 shows the locations of all monitoring stations in Santa Barbara county operating in 2011.

Air Quality Monitoring Station Status for 2011

In 2011, there were 18 monitoring stations operating in Santa Barbara County, of which eight were operated by the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) . The remaining stations were operated by the California Air Resources Board, and private industry.  Table 2 lists the monitoring stations operating in Santa Barbara County during 2011 and the pollutants and parameters measured at each station.

Criteria Pollutant Summary

The pollutant data collected in Santa Barbara County during 2011 has been summarized and can be downloaded here (PDF file):  Santa Barbara County 2011 Pollutant Summary.  This summary contains tables of the following data:

  • The four highest 1-hour ozone concentrations for 2011.
  • The four highest 8-hour ozone concentrations for 2011.
  • The four highest 1-hour NO2 concentrations for 2011.
  • The four highest 1-hour SO2 concentrations for 2011.
  • The four highest 1-hour CO concentrations for 2011.

 Particulate Matter Monitoring

The APCD is currently going through a transition in the way we collect particulate matter (PM2.5  and PM10) information.  Monitoring is moving from the collection of one sample over a 24 hour period every sixth day (one in six day collection) to a new generation of samplers that can collect and analyze the sample every hour on a continuous basis.  The old method provides approximately 60 sample days each year.  We now have 365 daily samples each year, giving a better idea of our true air quality.  This large increase in sampling time also increases the probability of recording air quality over state or federal standards.  

Six stations collected PM10 data.  Four of the six stations used a PM10 Hi Volume filter sampler running one day every six days, or 16% of the entire year.  Two stations (Santa Barbara and Santa Maria) changed to a Met One  PM10 BAMS, collecting continuous hourly data throughout the year.  

The particulate data collected in Santa Barbara County during 2010 has been summarized and can be downloaded here (PDF file):  Santa Barbara County 2011 Particulate Summary.  This summary contains tables of the data listed below.  Table3 provides information on the location and sampling type performed at each location.

  • PM10 data collected 1 in 6 days for comparison to the Federal standards.
  • PM10 data collected 1 in 6 days for comparison to the State standards.
  • PM10 data collected continuously for comparison to the State standards
  • PM2.5 data collected 1 in 6 days for comparison to the Federal Standards
  • PM 2.5 data collected continuously for air quality reporting.

New in 2011

EPA changes to the NAAQS:

No major changes

Monitoring station changes in 2011:

No major changes