On Saturday, December 1, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) held two community meetings to discuss the Health Risk Assessment and Early Risk Reduction plans for Anaplex Corporation and Aerocraft Heat Treating Company, respectively. The meetings were hosted in accordance with Assembly Bill (AB) 2588 – Air Toxics “Hot Spots” program – enacted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
The first meeting began at 10 a.m. in Progress Park Plaza and focused on Anaplex. SCAQMD staff, led by Assistant Deputy Executive Officer in Planning Susan Nakamura, opened the meeting with a description of the agency’s Air Toxics Program and the health risk assessment process. Due to Anaplex’s elevated emissions in 2016, the facility was required to join the AB 2588 program. Over the last few years, Anaplex discontinued or modified many of its practices, including stopping spray paint application of chromate containing compounds, closing access doors facing Garfield Avenue, and installing tank pollution controls.
SCAQMD staff stated that the facility’s Early Action Reduction Plan has reduced both cancer and non-cancer risks below the Risk Reduction Threshold. Once finalized and approved, Anaplex’s Risk Reduction Plan will reduce the cancer and non-cancer risks further.
Julie Lester, environmental consultant for Anaplex, then provided further information about the facility and its history. She clarified that Anaplex does not heat furnaces, nor does it cut or grind metals. As a result of the Early Risk Reduction plan, the facility has proactively reduced emissions and potential risk each year. Ms. Lester stated that the levels of hexavalent chromium have decreased, shown by the rolling monthly average of SCAQMD’s monitors near Anaplex.
Following the presentation, Paramount community members were given a chance to ask the panel questions. Various speakers requested clarification of the abatement process and ongoing air quality concerns, while a handful of workers from Anaplex clarified that the company has been doing its part to lower emissions over the past two years. Residents stated concerns about air quality around schools and questioned whether SCAQMD’s monitoring and investigation efforts should increase in the future, rather than decrease.
The SCAQMD panel provided scientific backing for most of the questions, promising to follow up on the queries that required more information. Additionally, the panel pointed to its Multiple Air Toxics Exposure Studies (MATES) and the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s (OEHHA) CalEnviroScreen for more information about cumulative and other sources of pollution that could be affecting the area.
Due to the first meeting running past its scheduled end time, the meeting for Aerocraft began at 2 p.m. Ms. Nakamura again opened the meeting with a presentation to discuss Aerocraft’s actions since 2016 as a result of SCAQMD’s Air Toxics Program. Aerocraft has discontinued the use of dry sweeping and began using a wet mobile sweeper daily, as well as halted use of compressed air for non-essential processing activities and enclosed two of its buildings.
Similar to Anaplex’s progress, Aerocraft’s Early Risk Reduction Plan has reduced cancer and non-cancer rates significantly. The health risk levels are below the Risk Reduction thresholds and, once the final Risk Reduction Plan is implemented, the risks will fall below one in a million.
Aerocraft’s spokesperson, Greg Stonick, provided an overview of the facility’s actions taken in the last two years. Most recently, Aerocraft received a Conditional Use Permit from the City of Paramount to install permanent baghouses with ULPA filtration in October 2018. Mr. Stonick stated that the facility is fully committed to safeguarding the Paramount community through permanent emissions controls and lowered emissions by 2019.
Community members had a second chance to pose questions and comments to the panel after the Aerocraft presentation ended. Residents asked for more information about real-time monitoring, the effects of hexavalent chromium and nickel, and what SCAQMD is doing to address pollution in other nearby communities. Moreover, residents who had stayed over from the first meeting complained that the meetings and comment periods should have been better managed. In response, Ms. Nakamura apologized and assured the community that SCAQMD will follow up the issues raised.
SCAQMD will continue to update the community on significant actions taken by Anaplex and Aerocraft toward implementing their final Risk Reduction Plans in the coming months. Though the facilities have up to two years to complete the necessary steps, the City of Paramount will work closely with SCAQMD, Anaplex, and Aerocraft to ensure that air quality issues are addressed sooner rather than later.