Special Air Monitoring Projects

Learn about special purpose air quality monitoring projects in the Bay Area and monitoring at refineries.

Local Air Monitoring Projects

In addition to regulatory air monitoring at long-term air monitoring stations, the Air District uses a variety of methods to measure air quality at other locations in the Bay Area for shorter duration studies. These special air monitoring projects may have a variety of objectives for gathering data, such as:

  • Identifying and characterizing emissions crossing a facility fenceline,
  • Determining the impacts of facility emissions on nearby communities,
  • Assessing cumulative impacts of multiple sources of air pollution on overburdened communities,
  • Collecting more information about the local-scale variation in the levels of specific pollutants, and
  • Finding out whether air quality measurements at the closest long-term air monitoring station are accurately representing pollutant levels in an area of interest.

The Air District also provides technical support to community groups conducting air monitoring and data analysis projects through a third-party contract called the Bay Air Center. Visit the Bay Air Center website to learn more.

Upcoming and Recent Air Monitoring Projects

South Bay Odor Attribution Study

Odor issues have been ongoing for many years in Milpitas and the surrounding communities due to their proximity to landfill, transfer station, sewage treatment plant, and compost and organic waste processing operations. The Air District conducted an Odor Attribution Study to identify odorous compounds impacting the local community and characterize the odors generated by three closely located facilities with similar odor profiles (Newby Island Resource Recovery Park, San Jose-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility, and Zero Waste Energy Development), as well as other potential odor sources in this area. The goal of the study was to determine the contribution and variability of odors from these facilities and any other sources in the vicinity, as well as support a strategy to reduce the odors impacting the local community. Visit the South Bay Odor Attribution Study web page to learn more.

East Oakland Community Air Monitoring

The Air District, Communities for a Better Environment, and the University of California, Berkeley are partnering to implement a multi-year community air monitoring project in East Oakland. This project is partially funded by a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency for enhanced air quality monitoring for communities. Visit the Community Air Monitoring in East Oakland web page to learn more.

Richmond-North Richmond-San Pablo Community Air Monitoring

The Air District is working with community members to improve air quality in the Richmond-North Richmond-San Pablo area. As part of California’s Community Air Protection Program, also known as Assembly Bill 617, a 35-member Community Steering Committee recommended an air toxics monitoring study using the Air District’s air monitoring van to measure how levels of certain pollutants vary from place to place. Results from this study provide the community with additional information as we work together to develop strategies to improve air quality in the area through a Community Emissions Reduction Plan. More information, including findings published in the StoryMap, can be found on the Richmond-North Richmond-San Pablo Community Air Monitoring Work and Materials web page.

Historical Air Monitoring Projects

View information about other air monitoring projects:

Monitoring at Refineries

Monitoring Expert Panel

In order to implement monitoring at Bay Area refineries the Air District assembled an Air Quality Monitoring Expert Panel to recommend technologies, methods, and tools to improve monitoring capabilities near these facilities.

Community Air Monitoring Near Refineries

While the Air District operates numerous ambient air monitoring stations across the Bay Area, the data from those stations do not reflect pollutant concentrations at every location. In addition, exposure to pollution varies from place to place and some communities near large industrial facilities may bear a disproportionate burden from air emissions or other forms of pollution. Additional steps are often needed to better understand and address cumulative environmental concerns in these “fenceline communities.”

To address these needs, the Air District launched its Major Stationary Source Community Air Monitoring Program in 2016 with a goal of establishing air monitoring stations in areas where large stationary sources of pollution may contribute to near-source impacts that are not captured by the Air District’s existing network. The Air District is initially prioritizing communities with petroleum refineries and large renewable fuels manufacturing facilities but monitoring stations may also be placed in communities with other types of facilities in the future. The additional data generated by these community monitors will provide the public with additional information about air quality conditions in communities near the refineries and other large facilities, and will support analysis of air quality trends and other air quality assessments.

The report below provides an overview of the Major Stationary Source Community Air Monitoring Program, and it outlines the general process for considering information to identify areas that would meet the objectives for new community monitoring locations. Also included in the report is a series of technical appendices, which provide case-by-case analyses for the identification of preferred locations for the specific monitoring stations near the five Bay Area refineries.

Refinery Stakeholders

Sign up to stay informed about rules, monitoring efforts, emission inventory guidelines, and other initiatives specifically involving refineries in the Air District’s jurisdiction.

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PM2.5 Design Values With and Without Wildfire Smoke Episodes

This preliminary analysis provides a rough evaluation of how air quality trends would be different without the impact of a few of the largest most recent wildfires, by removing days in 2017 and 2018 impacted by wildfire smoke from the calculation of PM2.5 design values.

As shown in this document, when days impacted by wildfire are excluded, the 2017-2019 PM2.5 design values are below the applicable state and federal standards.

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Last Updated: 3/12/2024