Air quality report released

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Air quality report released

Postby Wilberforce » Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:17 pm

Air quality report released
By Reporter Staff
Posted: 04/24/2012 01:03:38 AM PDT

Despite significant improvements, air quality remains a major source of public health concerns in large metropolitan areas throughout California. And while California is a leader in the nation in the fight against pollution, it still has work to do.

Those are the major conclusions of a report by the California Air Pollution Control Officers' Association released last week on the steps being taken by air quality districts across the state toward cleaner air.

"California, the most populous state in the nation, includes regions with pristine air quality as well as regions with the highest number of violations of the federal health based standards for ozone and particulate matter," the report noted.

In particular, the San Joaquin Valley and the South Coast Air Basin "continue to face significant challenges in meeting the federal health-based standards for ozone and fine particles," the report noted.

In contrast, the two air districts that serve Solano County reported progress on air issues.

The region's Air Quality Index, which reports daily air quality levels and helps residents determine how clean ("good") or dirty ("unhealthy") the air is, along with the steps a person should take to protect their health, reported no "bad" days for all of 2011. In addition, Solano reported just 1 day in 2011 that violated ozone level standards.

In addition, the Bay Area Air Quality Control District, while reporting a tough Spare the Air woodburning season, reported that more residents are now aware of the health impacts of wood smoke due to widespread coverage in the news, social media, and its staff's presence at community events.

And in the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District, which includes Vacaville, Dixon and the rest of northern Solano County, the district replaced 16 school buses with local funding and has used State Prop 1B funding to install diesel particulate filter retrofits on 63 buses through the District's Clean School Bus Program. The District has also provided incentive funding for numerous transit, alternative transportation, and public education programs through its annual "Clean Air Funds" incentive program.

Mat Ehrhardt, executive director of the Yolo-Solano district said residents and businesses here "should be proud" of the improvement in air quality noted by the report.

"We still have a lot of work to do, but with cooperation and awareness, we can protect and improve our region's clean air future," he said. "We work closely with air districts throughout the region and state to find innovative solutions that clean up the air in cost-effective ways. California is the national model for air quality regulation, and we're proud to be a part of that."

To see the full report, visit

source ... t-released

Part Two Sierra Club: Plastic Bags, Wood Smoke, Green Waste

4. Wood Smoke Reduction Many Davis residents experience significant air quality problems in winter months due to nearby residential wood burning. Davis currently has no mandatory restrictions on wood burning unlike most Central Valley cities and the entire Bay Area. What restrictions, if any, on residential wood burning would you support, or how would you otherwise address this problem?

Stephen Souza

The problem is that many Davisites burn wood in old, dirty devices. Traditional fireplaces are so inefficient they don't heat a room unless they've been retrofitted with a wood or pellet insert. Swapping out older wood stoves for newer EPA Phase 2 fireplace inserts and wood stoves that emit no visible smoke after heating up is part of the solution. We can and should find funding to help this happen. Many residents have shown an eagerness to shift to newer, cleaner burning stoves and inserts if given a little help.

Oregon had federal stimulus money for stove swap-outs, when will California find a source to help local air quality districts with this task. Regulations often seem to be heavy on the stick and thin on the carrot, which is part of the reason there is so much opposition to a mandatory wood-burning ban. The other part of the solution is to implement some form of a mandatory wood-burning prohibition on bad air days instead of the voluntary prohibition we have in place now. And finally we need to find a means other than law enforcement intervention to take care of nearest neighbor smoke effect.
Dan Wolk

My grandmother had COPD and my brother has asthma, so I am very sensitive to this issue. And I don't doubt that there are instances in our community where particulate matter (PM) creates localized health concerns. However, as a whole, our air quality is not as bad as other air districts in the Central Valley and Bay Area, which is why the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District has not had to impose similar mandatory restrictions. This was reinforced by the work of the UC Davis DELTA Group for the city. This should caution our community against imposing community-wide mandatory restrictions - and attendant enforcement measures - on wood burning.

Now, that's not to say the status quo is ideal, since, again, I do recognize that there are localized instances of air quality problems due to wood burning. We need to work with YSAQMD to provide incentives to property owners to switch out their old fireplaces. Providing more education to the public about the effects of wood burning - and encouraging neighbors to work with one another - would also be beneficial. Lastly, in particular instances it's not clear to me why private nuisance law could not be utilized to curtail wood burning.
Lucas Freirichs

I support regional air quality policy and would like to see the Yolo Solano AQMD take action for the entire district. I realize that many think that the local air district won't do that, but I would be strong advocate for a regional solution, and I would work to make it happen. I do believe that the first step voluntary action of "Don't Light Tonight" has been a step in the right direction. My household participated in this voluntary program where we received the emails from the YSAQMD and abided by the "Don't Light Tonight" requests.

Asthma is a serious issue, and many in Davis suffer from real respiratory issues, throughout the year, and not just in the winter months. We need to work on those air quality issues, and continue to strategize ways to reduce emissions, and continue to improve upon air quality.

I do support similar actions that the Bay Area AQMD/ or the Sac AQMD have taken, with their "Don't Light Tonight" Program being mandatory instead of voluntary. Aside from the winter months/wood burning issues, there are other air quality improvement measures that I support, including reduction of gas lawn mowers and gas leaf blowers through incentive programs for switching them for electric equipment. A previous landlord of mine had a cordless electric mower for us to use; it was wonderful. We have chosen to not have a lawn and we use our small yard for fruit and vegetable gardens,(but still remember enjoying using the electric mower), and we appreciate not having to use leaf blowers or mowers.

Sue Greenwald

Like the plastic bag bans, this tends to be a very divisive issue. Hopefully, the Yolo-Solano Air Quality Control District will come up with a plan to address this wood smoke reduction region-wide. Otherwise, I think it might make sense to adopt the Sacramento regulations, and to make use of their data and their warning day system in order to save money.

I do think that we should allow EPA certified wood-burning stoves in fairness to those who tried to be environmentally responsible citizens by investing heavily in what was then the most cutting-edge technology. We don't want to discourage people from investing in environmentally responsible technology because they are afraid that their investments could be soon rendered useless by new laws.
Brett Lee

Require all new buildings or major remodels to have EPA certified or equivalent inserts.

Require all new units that install fireplaces to pay a nominal fee that will fund a retrofit program.

Using the retrofit program, encourage and assist current homeowners to upgrade their fireplaces to natural gas or EPA certified (or equiv) inserts.

Set a time in the near future, perhaps 2015 where Davis will agree to abide by no burn days. Ideally, UCD could have a local monitoring station so that the no burn days would be determined based on our local conditions.

Ultimately, work towards the elimination of the old fashioned method of burning wood by incentives and education; I do not believe a blanket ban is the answer. If the voluntary and incentive based approach is found to be ineffective, I would be willing to revisit this issue.

source ... &Itemid=83
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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