City of Long Beach
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd,
Long Beach, CA 90802
The Long Beach City Council, in February 2017, directed City staff to work with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) to determine and to address potential health, safety, and environmental impacts to Long Beach residents caused by the high levels of hexavalent chromium recently found in the City of Paramount. The City has since assembled a multi-disciplinary team of inspectors from the Long Beach Fire (LBFD), Health and Human Services (DHHS), and Development Services (DS) Departments in order to take affirmative measures to address possible air quality impacts in Long Beach’s industrial areas.
“The City takes public health concerns very seriously,” said City Manager Patrick H. West. “Working with the AQMD, the Long Beach Health and Fire Departments are doing their due diligence in carefully investigating, determining possible impacts, and quickly taking any preventive measures necessary."
As a result of a series of metallic odor complaints from the local community, AQMD staff began conducting an investigation into local emissions in the City of Paramount. The purpose of these activities is to determine the source of emissions and develop potential air pollution control strategies. Based on the air monitoring results, there are two metals of concern: nickel and hexavalent chromium.
As part of the AQMD's ongoing hexavalent chromium air monitoring activities, the agency has recently added new air quality monitoring sites near the Long Beach/Paramount border, as well as within the City of Long Beach. The City is tracking data collected by the AQMD at these monitoring locations to build a profile of businesses in the area as a proactive measure. Long Beach is also conducting its own fire and health inspections to ensure that industrial businesses are up to safety code.
"The Health Department has been diligently monitoring this issue and is working closely with our Fire Department, AQMD, Los Angeles County Health and other agencies to ensure this matter is addressed as effectively as possible, with the ultimate purpose of protecting the health of residents in the area," said Department of Health and Human Services Director Kelly Colopy.
On July 13, the City of Long Beach and AQMD collectively conducted Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) inspections at two facilities in Northeast Long Beach identified as potential sources hexavalent chromium emissions, tracked at two new monitoring sites near the Long Beach/Paramount border. The inspection found excessive amounts of hexavalent chromium in the ambient air, which violates California Health & Safety Code §41700 and District Rule 402 that prohibits any person from discharging from any source whatsoever such quantity of air contaminants that will endanger the health or safety of any considerable number of persons or to the public. This finding resulted in a Notice of Violation letter being issued by AQMD to Lubeco, Inc.
The AQMD has filed a petition with the AQMD Hearing Board for an Order of Abatement concerning the violation found at Lubeco, Inc. An approved Abatement Order would require the company to abate the violation or shut down its operations. The petition can be accessed at the following link: http://bit.ly/2urk98A. AQMD is the lead agency on issues related to air quality, and will be providing information on their regulatory process separately.
The City of Long Beach will monitor the Order of Abatement and continue to work closely with AQMD moving forward.
About Hexavalent Chromium
Hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium 6 (Cr6), is the toxic form of the metal chromium. While some less toxic forms of chromium occur naturally in the environment (soil, rocks, dust, plants, and animals), hexavalent chromium is mainly produced by industrial processes. Inhaling hexavalent chromium for long periods of time can increase the risk of lung and nasal cancers and can cause non-cancer respiratory health effects. People can also be exposed to hexavalent chromium through eating or drinking contaminated food or water, or through direct skin contact.
About the City of Long Beach
Home to approximately 470,000 people, the multiple award-winning and innovative City of Long Beach offers all the world-class amenities of a large metropolitan city while maintaining a strong sense of individual and diverse neighborhoods nestled together along the California coast. Long Beach is home to the Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific, several museums and theaters, a highly rated school district, Long Beach Airport, the Port of Long Beach, as well as many award-winning City departments such as Health, Parks, Recreation and Marine, Development Services and more. The City also has a highly respected university and city college, two historic ranchos, five hospitals, five golf courses, 170 parks, miles of beaches, marinas, bike paths, and a Bike Share program.
For more information about the City of Long Beach, visit http://longbeach.gov/. Follow us on social to keep up with the latest news: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.