To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Monday, November 4, 2013

AIR POLLUTION: Freeway emissions to be tracked


By David Danelski, November 1, 2013


 Under new federal news, regional air quality official will measure pollution near freeways. Here, big rigs travel on Van Buren Boulevard and Highway 60 in Jurupa Valley.

For the first time, permanent air quality monitoring stations will be placed near Southern California freeways to measure pollution from traffic.

The information will be a factor in determining whether an area meets federal air quality standards.
No later than Jan. 1, the South Coast Air Quality Management District will install the air-monitoring stations just off Interstate 10 near Etiwanda Avenue in a Fontana warehousing district. Another will be located near Interstate 5 and Lincoln Avenue in Anaheim. The air district will operate the stations and report the data to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In Southern California, nearly 3 million people live within 550 yards of a freeway. Years of studies have found increased health risks — for cancer, heart attacks, asthma, lung impairment, birth defects and autism, among other ailments.

Despite years of documentation about the risks of living close to freeways, the federal government until now has deliberately excluded that pollution zone from monitoring. Regulators were more interested in the regional situation. But the mounting evidence of the harm from freeway emissions triggered a change.

Under a new EPA rule, freeway air pollution monitors will be installed throughout nation, and the data gathered will count toward determining whether region meets health standards.

“This is a much-needed step to give us critical information to know how dirty the air is where people are breathing it,” said Frank O’Donnell, president the Washington, D.C.-based Clean Air Watch, which advocates for clean-air legislation and rules.

Phil Fine, one of the South Coast district’s chief scientists, said the Fontana and Anaheim locations have among the highest freeway emissions in Southern California. The pollution readings at those two sites will be comparable to other areas affected by heavy traffic, he said

The air district analyzed traffic data to identify roadway stretches with the highest emissions. District officials then looked for the most practical places to securely locate two trailers full of monitoring equipment within 55 yards of the roadway, Fine said.

Under the EPA rule, the district will start by measuring nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant that reacts with volatile organic compounds — fumes from gasoline, nail polish, oil-base varnishes and other sources — to form ozone gas that is associated with headaches, nausea, cough, itchy eyes, asthma attacks and other health effects.

Fine, however, does not expect nitrogen dioxides levels near the freeway to exceed a separate health standard for the brownish-colored gas. In fact, Southern California hasn’t had a nitrogen dioxide violation since 1991.

Fine-particle pollution is another matter.

The new federal rule also requires the district to measure diesel soot and other microscopic particles along freeways by 2017. The Jurupa Valley, Fontana and Ontario areas, as well as parts of Los Angeles County, still fail to meet federal health federal standards for that pollutant.

Fine said he expects higher levels of the tiny particles along freeways, so the new monitors may mean Southern California will have a harder time meeting the federal particle-pollution health standard.

He added, though, that pollution from big-rig trucks, the largest source, is declining, a result of state rules requiring cleaner engines on new trucks and new pollution-control devices on older vehicles.
“On-road trucks are getting a lot cleaner pretty quickly,” Fine said.

Michael D. Shaw, vice president of external affairs for the California Trucking Association, said he doesn’t expect the freeway monitoring to affect the industry, which his now investing about a $1 billion year to reduce tailpipe emissions.

“The modern truck now has almost nothing coming out the tailpipe,” he said.