Paramount Given Clean Air Award
Paramount Given Clean Air Award by the South Coast Air Quality Management District
On Friday, October 5, at the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s (SCAQMD) 30th Annual Clean Air Awards at the L.A. Grand Hotel in downtown Los Angeles, the City of Paramount was named winner of the Model Community Achievement Award.
The Clean Air Awards program recognizes companies, organizations, and individuals who have made outstanding clean air contributions to the health of our communities and economy.
Paramount was honored for its work over the last two years related to air quality issues discovered by SCAQMD.
In late 2016, elevated levels of hexavalent chromium were found in a Paramount industrial neighborhood. Since then, the City has dedicated an unprecedented amount of time, energy, and resources to meet the issue head on.
These efforts involved a wide range of participants – local, county, and state agencies; residents; businesses; clergy; and more. Partnerships were formed, and communication and transparency were crucial.
The award is a great show of support that the approach taken to protecting the community was sensible, decisive, and appropriate. It is significant that the City’s main partner in dealing with this, SCAQMD, saw these actions as worthy of this honor.
City staff interacted extensively with SCAQMD in areas such as placing air-quality monitors around town, investigating metal-related businesses, weekly conference calls, and free use of City facilities. City communication pipelines also spread the word about SCAQMD public meetings and investigation results.
Other actions included a moratorium on the opening or expanding of metal-related businesses for two years to let the City study and amend its zoning codes. Paramount purchased its own air samplers for long-term monitoring. There was constant communication with legislative representatives. To provide further public information, the City created an environmental website for information, updates, and links to help consolidate answers on a range of questions and activities.
It was a great challenge. But Paramount has a history of creating partnerships to overcome challenges. It’s always been about working together to find solutions and devise innovative responses.
The award recognized that, in many ways, new ground was charted during this time when it came to inter-agency action in the midst of environmental tribulation. SCAQMD has acknowledged that this could be a blueprint for other cities to follow in such cases.While the work is not done, great progress has been made. In its June 2018 “Updated Air Monitoring Plan for Paramount” that detailed the removal of most of the air samplers in town, SCAQMD noted: “It is evident that ambient Cr6+ concentrations at all locations have declined substantially over time … Cr6+ levels in the City of Paramount have been declining steadily and are now within the typical levels.”