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Environmental Protection - Air Quality


Maia Coladonato

Wendy Greene, backup

For questions on OSHA information, worker exposure, and related issues, please contact Industrial Hygiene.

About Air Quality

Regulatory agencies with oversight responsibility for air quality include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD). Air quality encompasses a wide range of programs at SLAC, but the focus is on emissions sources -- that is, anything that generates or releases hazardous air pollutants, identified precursors to smog, ozone depleting substances or potent greenhouse gases to the environment.

Traditional emissions sources include solvent cleaners, diesel generators, boilers, oil-water separators, sand-blasters, paint shops, machine shops, and so on. BAAQMD determines whether each subject stationary source requires a permit, or qualifies for an exemption.

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Useful Links

Frequently Asked Questions

  • I'm planning to take down a building onsite. Do I need to notify the air district?

    BAAQMD regulations define "demolition" and "renovation" as complementary operations. The definitions of both terms are quite broad, so your project is likely to be subject to this process. Essentially, the BAAQMD definition of demolition consists of removing a load-bearing structural member (whether or not asbestos is present), while renovation entails removal of asbestos-containing material (for example, transite panels) from a structural member. All demolition projects (as defined by BAAQMD) require notification -- period. The process is straightforward, and the notice is easy to fill out. Once the notice is mailed with the applicable fees, a waiting period of 10 working days is in effect. The AQPM can help you with this process.

  • I'm planning to buy a new standby generator. Do I need a permit for it?

    Any newly acquired diesel engine has to meet specific regulatory standards.  In addition, those rated above 50 horsepower require an operating permit from BAAQMD or if it is a portable engine it could be registered with CARB.   Emergency standby generators have limits on non-emergency use (for example, for maintenance and to ensure operability). The AQPM can outline the emission requirements for any size engine and will prepare the permit application for you, if applicable.

  • I want to use a terrific solvent I've used before. I know it will work really well for this job, so can I just order it?

    Hazardous materials must be purchased through the CMS system, and new chemicals are reviewed and approved by ESH hazmat professionals. Some once-acceptable compounds are now prohibited due to high concentrations of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) or the presence of GHGs(e.g., HFC-134a). BAAQMD regulations specify VOC limits for a wide range of paints, coatings, and solvents. Be sure to check for less toxic alternatives that will do the job before you place an order. Refer to the Hazardous Materials page for more information on this topic.

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