Paramount Continues Aggressive Response to SCAQMD Air Quality Findings

On January 24, the City Council unanimously voted to extend the moratorium on all metal-related businesses within Paramount for an additional six months. The original moratorium was established on December 13, 2016 as part of the Interim Urgency Ordinance No. 1078, which prohibits businesses that manufacture or process metal from opening or expanding within the city. The interim urgency ordinance was adopted in order to immediately protect the health, safety, and welfare of the residents and businesses from elevated levels of hexavalent chromium and other pollutants emitted by metal manufacturing and processing.

Said Mayor Daryl Hofmeyer, “As the primary role of city government is centered on land-use and zoning, the moratorium is a key step in immediately curtailing harmful emissions while giving the Council additional time to consider further policy responses. Our Council is working with all regulatory agencies to address air quality so that our residents have access to information, and we address problems that are documented and understood by the experts.”

The passage of the moratorium is one of several actions taken by the Paramount City Council to address the air quality concerns discovered by the South Coast Air Quality Management District in November 2016. The City recently allocated funds to support enhanced air quality monitoring with the aid of SCAQMD and also sent a letter to SCAQMD urging adoption of Rule 1430 to address metal grinding particulate containment. The City Staff has been in daily contact with SCAQMD to monitor and address a range of issues that have come up and continues to work with several environmental regulatory experts to gain a complete view of the environmental quality concerns in the city. The City has also gained environmental expertise through the engagement of TetraTech, a large environmental consulting firm with expertise in air, water and soil.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), in a letter, expressed support for the allowance for businesses to construct building enclosures, install appropriate air pollution controls, and/or make any necessary changes within their operations to reduce metal particulate emissions.

The enhanced moratorium now allows for additional specific exceptions: firstly, pollution control measures can be implemented by a facility if they are required through an Abatement Order by the SCAQMD or through any other documented SCAQMD action, so long as a conditional use permit (CUP) is granted by the Planning Commission and a letter from the experts at SCAQMD indicates support for the environmental benefits of the project. Secondly, facility or property improvements will be allowed if the changes do not expand the production capacity or output of a facility. Lastly, replacement of existing outdated, damaged, or broken equipment is allowed if the equipment replacement is not done to intentionally increase production capacity or output.

These allowances will help reduce emissions from metal-related facilities in the city. The moratorium will also provide additional time for Paramount’s Air Quality Sub Committee to continue to investigate and consider additional policy measures to address air quality in the city for the long term.

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