South Coast Air Quality Management District

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South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD)
Diamond Bar, CA United States
Key people
Wayne Nastri, Executive Officer

The South Coast Air Quality Management District, also using the acronym South Coast (AQMD), formed in 1976, is the air pollution agency responsible for regulating stationary sources of air pollution in the South Coast Air Basin, in Southern California. The separate California Air Resources Board is responsible for regulating mobile sources (e.g. vehicles) in the air basin.

Basin geography[edit]

The South Coast AQMD includes all of Orange County; and the non-desert regions of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County including the Coachella Valley.

The South Coast Air Basin area encompassed by the South Coast AQMD amounts to about 10,750 square miles (27,850 square kilometres) and is the second most populated area in the United States. This area has a severe problem with smog, and the South Coast AQMD has been a leader in the nation's efforts to reduce air pollution emissions. The main office is located in the city of Diamond Bar.


South Coast AQMD develops, adopts and implements an Air Quality Management Plan for bringing the area into compliance with the clean air standards established by national and state governmental legislation.

Air quality and permissible air pollutant emission "rules" are promulgated to reduce emissions from various sources, including specific types of equipment, industrial processes, paints, solvents and certain consumer products. Permits are issued to the pertinent industries and businesses to enforce compliance with the air quality and emission rules, and South Coast AQMD staff conducts periodic inspections to ensure such compliance.

South Coast AQMD's rules apply to businesses ranging from large oil refineries and power plants to gasoline (petrol) fueling stations and dry cleaning plants. There are about 30,000 such businesses operating under South Coast AQMD permits. In general, the agency is limited to establishing rules for regulating stationary sources. Emission standards for mobile sources (automobiles, trucks, buses, railroads, airplanes and marine vessels) are established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board.

Air quality monitoring network[edit]

South Coast AQMD also operates an extensive network of air quality monitoring stations (about 40 stations) and issues daily air quality forecasts. The forecasts are made available to the public through newspapers, television, radio, its award-winning smartphone application, social media, its website, and a toll-free Smog Update telephone line.[1][2]

Air quality and air pollution dispersion modeling[edit]

The air quality modeling activities of the South Coast AQMD are one of the functions of the Planning, Rule Development and Area Sources section. That section is also responsible for oversight and commenting upon air pollution dispersion modeling[3] studies performed as part of any environmental impact studies that may be reviewed by or requested by South Coast AQMD. The models that may be utilized include:[4]

Governing board[edit]

South Coast AQMD has a Governing Board of 13 members. Nine of the members are county supervisors and city council members. The remaining three are appointed by California state officials. Current members of the Governing Board include:[5]

The representative for Orange County cities is chosen by the 34 members of the Orange County City Selection Committee.[6] Appointment requires both a majority vote of the committee and a majority vote when weighted by population.[7] In November 2015, Republicans blocked reappointment of Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, a Democrat, to the board, voting to replace him with Republican Lake Forest Councilman Dwight Robinson.[7]


The chief Executive Officer of the South Coast AQMD reports to the Governing Board. The following departments report to the Executive Officer:

Administrative departments[edit]

  • Policy advisor
  • Legal
    • Counsel
    • Prosecutor
  • Public Affairs
  • Media Relations
  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Information Management

Operational departments[edit]

  • Engineering and Compliance
  • Planning, Rule Development and Area Sources
  • Science and Technology advancement

Funding for South Coast AQMD[edit]

South Coast AQMD utilizes a system of evaluation fees, annual operating fees, emission fees, Hearing Board fees, penalties/ settlements and investments that generate around 73% of its revenue. The remaining 27% of its revenue is from federal grants, California Air Resources (CARB) subvention funds, and California Clean Air Act Motor Vehicle fees.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ SCAQMD Air Quality Monitoring and Forecast Map Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Monitoring, AQI, Standards & Notification, The South Coast Perspective Joe Cassmassi, Senior Meteorologist, SCAQMD, April 2004
  3. ^ Beychok, M.R. (2005). Fundamentals Of Stack Gas Dispersion (4th ed.). author-published. ISBN 0-9644588-0-2.
  4. ^ Air Quality Modeling
  5. ^ "Board Members". Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  6. ^ Sforza, Teri (December 22, 2014). "Cities violated open-meeting laws, county charges". Orange County Register. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  7. ^ a b Gerda, Nick (November 6, 2015). "Republicans Succeed in Kicking Santa Ana Mayor Off Air Quality Board". Voice of OC. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  8. ^ Barboza, Tony (June 7, 2019). "Southern California's most toxic polluters will pay more under air board's fee hike". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2019-06-08.

External links[edit]