The City of Paramount was named the winner in the Model Community Achievement category at the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s (SCAQMD) 30th Annual Clean Air Awards on October 5th at the LA Grand Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. The award honors public agencies and/or private entities who have delivered environmentally friendly projects or helped improve the health of their communities.
“This award is a great show of support confirming that our approach in protecting our residents was clear-headed, positive, and appropriate,” said Paramount Mayor Diane J. Martinez. “It means a lot that our main partner in dealing with the issue our community faced, SCAQMD, saw our actions as worthy of this honor.”
Since late 2016, Paramount has dedicated an unprecedented amount of time, energy, and resources to address elevated levels of hexavalent chromium detected in the area. The City’s efforts included teaming with SCAQMD and other regulatory agencies, and purchasing five air samplers to assist SCAQMD’s monitoring efforts, which included the placement of an additional network of samplers.
The Paramount City Council implemented a temporary moratorium on all metal-related businesses. Combined with unprecedented multi-agency investigations, all of these efforts were able to identify the main sources of high emissions in the City. SCAQMD then issued stipulated Orders for Abatement to two metal-related facilities.
To keep residents updated on the developing news, the City offered free use of public facilities for SCAQMD to host town hall and community group meetings; created a website dedicated to keeping the community informed about the environmental issues; published articles and distributed news stories as continual updates; and formed the City Council Air Quality Sub Committee, a platform to develop new manufacturing zone regulations with public and expert input.
The Sub Committee worked tirelessly over the course of 2017 to develop a massive overhaul of the City’s industrial zoning regulations. The recommended changes eliminated many outdated uses that produce odors, noise, and pollution. After being finalized by the Planning Commission, the zoning changes were approved by the City Council and went into effect on October 4, 2018. They will have a long-lasting impact on the future of industrial businesses in Paramount.
As a result of the City’s partnership with SCAQMD and other regulatory agencies for the past two years, hexavalent chromium emissions have been successfully lowered in Paramount. SCAQMD recently released an updated monitoring plan for Paramount, which states “[b]ecause Cr6+ levels in the City of Paramount have been declining steadily and are now within the typical levels, the size of this monitoring network can be reduced to focus on other areas that have higher potential for air toxics exposure.”
California State Senator Ricardo Lara, whose 33rd Senate District includes Paramount, had expressed his support of the City’s work in a letter to SCAQMD. He noted that the City has become a model to follow in matters of multi-agency environmental management. Senator Lara commented, “I believe the City of Paramount fits perfectly with SCAQMD’s goal to honor those who have made significant clean air contributions to the health and well-being of their communities. Over the last few years, when the city experienced high levels of hexavalent chromium, a remarkable collaboration emerged between the City, SCAQMD, state and local offices to protect the health, as well as, the safety of residents and workers in the town.”(Click/tap here for a copy of Senator Lara’s letter.)
Speaker of the Assembly Anthony Rendon, who represents the 63rd Assembly District in southeastern Los Angeles County, likewise expressed support and recognition of the City’s efforts. Staff members from Speaker Rendon’s office presented a signed Resolution to the City during the Clean Air Awards ceremony. The Resolution states “This was a large learning curve in the face of a drastic challenge. In many ways, new ground was charted when it came to inter-agency action in the midst of environmental tribulation. It has led to achieving goals related to controlling the original problem and provided a framework for vigilance heading into the future.” (Click/tap here to view the Resolution.)
The City’s work created a blueprint for other communities on how to address air quality and other environmental issues through partnerships, outreach, education, and strong involvement by residents and local businesses. However, these efforts are not done. Focus on air, water, and soil quality within the City will remain at the forefront for the future. This commitment builds off environmentally conscious initiatives that the City has taken over the last two decades and that continue to produce a smaller “carbon footprint.”
Click/tap on the links below to learn more about the award and the City’s work:
- Nomination Form
- Senator Lara’s Letter of Recommendation
- PDF Copy of Clean Air Awards Program
- Photo of Speaker Rendon’s Resolution
- Photo of Certificate of Recognition from Senator Anthony Portantino
- Summary of Changes to Zoning Code