Bay Area Air Quality Management District
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (August 2010)|
|Locale:||San Francisco Bay Area|
|Established:||November 16, 1955|
|Executive Officer:||Jack P. Broadbent|
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) is a public agency that regulates the stationary sources of air pollution in the nine counties of California's San Francisco Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, southwestern Solano, and southern Sonoma. The BAAQMD is governed by a Board of Directors composed of 22 elected officials from each of the nine Bay Area counties, and the board has the duty of adopting air pollution regulations for the district.
The first meeting of the Bay Area Air Pollution Control District (as it was initially known) board of directors was on November 16, 1955, possessing the duty of regulating the sources of stationary air pollution in the San Francisco Bay Area, that is, most sources of air pollution with the exception of automobiles and aircraft. By 1960, the Air District took significant actions, banning open burning at dumps and wrecking yards in 1957 and limiting industrial emissions in 1958. In 1958, the Air District also opened its first analytical laboratory, which was followed with an ambient air monitoring network in 1962.
The Air District later began to regulate agricultural burning in 1968, and banned backyard burning in 1970. In 1971, the Air District adopted emissions standards for lead, and Napa, Solano, and Sonoma counties became members of the Air District. The following year, the Air District began making daily air quality broadcasts through the "smog phone," and the board adopted the first odor regulation in the United States. California's first gasoline vapor recovery program was started in 1974 by the Air District. In 1975, the country's first air quality ozone model was completed by the Air District. The Bay Area Air Pollution Control District changed its name to the Bay Area Air Quality Management district three years later. In 1980, the Air District proposed a "Smog Check" program, one that would be adopted statewide by 1982. 1989 saw the nation's first limits on emissions from commercial bakeries and marine vessel loading, and the following year, emissions from aerosol spray products also came under regulation. In 1991, the Spare the Air program was started, made to notify the public of when air quality is forecast to exceed federal standards. The Air District founded its vehicle buyback program in 1996, intended to buy and scrap older, more polluting automobiles. In 1998, the Air District began administrating the Carl Moyer Program to reduce emissions by upgrading heavy-duty diesel engines. In 1998 and 1999, the Air District took steps to reduce particulate matter, primarily through regulating woodburning appliances and monitoring particulate matter through pre-existing air quality monitoring stations. In 2005, the Air District began to regulate emissions from refinery flares.
In July 2008, the Board passed a law that makes the previously voluntary compliance with wood burning regulations a crime.  These meetings were not well attended due to a lack of publicity. The law came into effect during the next fall. Citizens wishing to use wood burning appliances during winter months now must check if a "spare the air" alert is in effect, which would prohibit residential wood burning. Neighbors are encouraged to report neighbors on a toll free telephone number. The status of "spare the air" alerts can be checked via the internet, telephone, newspaper or television.
Spare the Air Alerts are predictive in nature and are called when there is a chance of exceeding the limits. This was made apparent during the fall of 2009 there was a ban on burning on both Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. This resulted in public outcry. http://cbs5.com/local/spare.the.air.2.1394257.html
There are exceptions that allow wood burning fires during the "Spare the Air" alerts. For example, if the fire is your only source of heat you are exempt. Also according to the website "Fires for cooking are not prohibited during Winter Spare the Air Alerts, but we ask the public to be mindful of air quality, and recommend the use of gas and propane barbecues rather than wood or charcoal-fired cooking devices on these days." If you are confronted with a lackey from the Air Quality Management District then stick a handy food item on a fork when you answer the door.
Uses of BAAQMD Data
BAAQMD oversees regional data on air pollution and has the authority to declare Spare the Air Days, when residents should take extra precautions when going outside and may be prohibited from engaging in activities such as burning. 511 Contra Costa built an RSS feed using these data, and released an iPhone application to alert people with allergies or other environmental sensitivities about air quality alerts.
Communications & Outreach: http://www.baaqmd.gov/Divisions/Communications-and-Outreach.aspx
Compliance & Enforcement: http://www.baaqmd.gov/Divisions/Compliance-and-Enforcement.aspx
Human Resources: http://www.baaqmd.gov/Divisions/Human-Resources.aspx
Information Systems: http://www.baaqmd.gov/Divisions/Information-Services.aspx
Planning, Rules & Research: http://www.baaqmd.gov/Divisions/Planning-and-Research.aspx
Strategic Incentives: http://www.baaqmd.gov/Divisions/Strategic-Incentives.aspx
Technical Services: http://www.baaqmd.gov/Divisions/Technical-Services.aspx
Notable facilities in jurisdiction
Some example stationary sources in the BAAQMD jurisdiction are:
- The Shaw Group waste ponds, Martinez
- Pacific Gas and Electric
- Shell Oil refinery, Martinez
- Chevron Corporation refinery, Richmond, Ca
- Spare the Air
- Carl Moyer Program
- Association of Bay Area Governments
- Metropolitan Transportation Commission (San Francisco Bay Area)