SCAQMD Enhances Regulation to Further Reduce Hexavalent Chromium Emissions

The South Coast Air Quality Management District has adopted new emission limits to significantly reduce hexavalent chromium emissions from Southland metal-finishing facilities. These facilities will now be required to make additional changes to their facilities and operations to better protect the health and safety of nearby residents, students and families.

On Nov. 2, SCAQMD adopted amendments to its Rule 1469 to address findings during air monitoring and emissions testing at metal-finishing facilities in Newport Beach, Paramount, Compton and Long Beach. The changes strengthen the existing rule and address processes that were previously unknown to be sources of hexavalent chromium.

“These amendments have been adopted to further protect communities near metal-plating operations,” said Wayne Nastri, SCAQMD’s executive officer. “We will continue to work with communities and metal-finishing companies to ensure that our region remains economically vibrant while protecting the health of our communities.”

The following new requirements were adopted into Rule 1469, which regulates hexavalent chromium emissions from chromium electroplating and chromic acid anodizing operations:

  • Install air pollution controls on previously unregulated tanks;
  • Implement building enclosures;
  • Enhance housekeeping and best management practices;
  • Periodic emission testing; and
  • Revised certification process for chemical fume suppressants, used to reduce hexavalent chromium emissions from tanks.

“As with all SCAQMD actions and rules, this process included input from residents, metal finishers, industry associations, local governments, advocacy groups and subject matter experts,” said Nastri. “The health and safety of communities is our No. 1 priority.”

The agency also has held numerous community meetings to update residents on its compliance and ambient monitoring efforts near metal-finishing facilities.

Hexavalent chromium is a known human carcinogen associated with an increased risk of cancer from long-term exposure, meaning years to decades. Several chrome-plating facilities have been identified in south Los Angeles County that are located adjacent to, or in close proximity to homes, schools and parks.

SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

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