COUNTY MEETINGS HELD IN GRIDLEY - Butte County Association of Governments and Butte County Air Quality District held their monthly meetings at Gridley City Hall last week. (Photo by Lisa Van De Hey)

As part of the $138 million approved for 34 Butte County projects as part of the four year Federal Transportation Improvement Program, $679,000 has been earmarked by the Butte County Association of Governments (BCAG) to use on Hazel Street in Gridley in the Downtown area. The project is part of the 2012-2013 funding for BCAG who held their monthly meeting in Gridley last week at City Hall.

The BCAG meeting preceded the meeting of the Butte County Air Quality District (BCAQ) meeting which included several Public Hearings. The first public hearing was held to consider adopting the 2012 PM2.5 Emission Inventory Submittal to the State Implementation Plan for the Chico, CA/Butte County (partial) Planning Area. In December 2009, most of Butte County was designated by the EPA as non attainment for the 2006 Federal 24-hour fine particle standard, referred to as PM2.5. The non-attainment area now meets the 2006 24-hour PM2.5 standard using the most current quality-assured three year period of monitoring data, 2008-2010, and continues to meet the standard of 2011.

Board members received the AB 2588 Air Toxics "Hot Spots," program pursuant to the requirements of the California Health and Safety Code Section 44300 et. seq. Certain emitters of airborne toxic compounds submit toxic emissions inventory reports and updates as required by AB 2588. The goals of the AB 2588 program are to collect emission data, to identify facilities having localized impacts, to ascertain health risks, and to notify nearby residents of significant risks.

The voluntary "Check Before You Light" program was approved with the 2012-2013 staff report given by James Wagoner, Air Pollution Control Officer.

"Check Before You Light" will run from November 1, 2012 to February 28, 2013, the fifth year for this program, replacing the "Don't Light Tonight," Program, emphasizing checking air quality status anytime before using wood burning devices, not only at night. The voluntary program requests residents to voluntarily curtail using wood burning stoves and fireplaces on poor air quality days.

The program focuses on educating the public to check air quality through various media before lighting a residential wood fire.

BCAQ Program has been selected to participate in a wood-burning appliance change-out program required by a consent decree between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Powertrain, et. al.

The anticipated funds that would be allocated for this project could be up to $100,000 per year for a total of three years with a provision for administrative fees of 10 percent of the allocation associated with implementation of the project.

Senior Air Quality Compliance Specialist Stephen Ertle presented a report regarding the upcoming aboveground gasoline storage tank vapor recovery requirements. He gave a detailed, informative power point presentation explaining vapor recovery (EVR) in aboveground gasoline storage tanks and enhanced vapor recovery in regards to implementing the program in Butte County.

Vapor Recovery started in the late 1980's to control benzene emissions with enhanced vapor recovery in 2000 to reduce emissions further as part of the State Implementation Plan. EVR systems are now being certified for aboveground storage tanks use and will be phased in over time. It was agreed a letter would be sent to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to request suspension of any new requirements for the use of vapor recovery equipment that is already in widespread use sufficient to meet Federal Standards.