The City’s consultant, Yorke Engineering, completed an Air Toxics Study and Health Risk Assessment related to their air monitoring work near the All American Asphalt facility in Irvine. The report summarizes Yorke’s evaluation of health impacts based on the air monitoring they did in the community earlier this year and available data about plant emissions from AQMD. The report indicates that, based on the data available, health risks were within acceptable standards and consistent with background levels for the area and region. Also included with the report is a peer review of the report by AQMD. The agency notes that the study is based on limited data making it difficult to attribute emissions to the plant or to other sources. AQMD notes that it will require more comprehensive testing of the facility over time which will provide better estimates of health impacts attributable to the plant.
The Yorke Air Toxics Study / Health Risk Assessment and the AQMD Peer Review is available at the link here.
AQMD/City of Irvine Fact Sheet
South Coast AQMD and the City of Irvine recently completed a joint fact sheet summarizing the results of air monitoring efforts that have been completed by multiple parties over the last year and associated health impacts. Click on the fact sheet image for more detailed information.
|Summary||Air Monitoring Programs||Public Meetings||City Litigation||Correspondence|
All American Asphalt Inc. operates an asphalt batch plant at 10671 Jeffrey Road in the North Irvine area which has been at the center of numerous odor complaints by residents and others in the area in recent years. The plant has been in place since the early 1990s and was approved by the County of Orange, prior to the land being incorporated into the City of Irvine.
Regulation of industrial emissions and odors lies with an agency called the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD). The City has worked hard to hold AQMD accountable and bring enforcement actions at the plant to eliminate odor and identify and eliminate any potentially harmful emissions. As a result of the attention drawn to the plant by the City and concerned residents, AQMD has issued several citations for violations at the plant which have resulted in the installation and testing of new mitigation equipment. AQMD also instituted an air monitoring program to help identify the source of odors and the presence of any other potentially harmful emissions from the plant. A summary of the actions taken by AQMD, the status of plant permitting, and the results of its air monitoring program can be found on the AQMD website here.
While enforcement responsibility lies with AQMD, and the City does not have the power to immediately close the plant or eliminate the odor, the City has initiated independent efforts to help identify potential risks due to plant emissions and protect public health. These efforts include an independent air monitoring program at the plant site and within the nearby community as well as an audit of the plant to ensure the facility is built and operating consistently with all appropriate permits. The City has also filed a lawsuit on behalf of residents, against All American Asphalt aimed at eliminating public nuisance. Included below are links to relevant information and resources regarding the All American Asphalt plant.
Should you experience asphalt odors in the area of the plant, we encourage you to register your complaint with AQMD at:
- AQMD online Complaint System: aqmd.gov/home/air-quality/complaints
- AQMD Complaint Phone Number 1-800-288-7664
This link provides a map showing the All American Asphalt Plant and the immediate vicinity. The map provides the names of nearby neighborhoods and major streets, for reference, as well as the underlying zoning designations for the area.
This link provides a timeline of relevant operating and approval milestones for the All American Asphalt Plant.
A Seller Disclosure is a notification provided by a home seller to a home buyer that outlines known issues with a property or other historical details. Available at this link is the Seller Disclosure currently provided by the Irvine Company to nearby homebuyers related to the All American Asphalt Plant.
City of Irvine Air Monitoring Program
From November 2020 through January 2021, the City of Irvine commissioned an air monitoring program through a third-party firm, Yorke Engineering. The program included 24-hour air samples taken at four separate locations; on-site at the All American Asphalt plant, just outside the plant, and at two locations in the community. The air was tested for over 100 individual chemical compounds known to be potential emissions from the asphalt production process.
A summary of the findings, as well as the detailed lab reports for the City’s air sampling program, can be found at this link. The results of the testing show that the chemicals in the air are within typical regional background levels as reported in studies conducted by the AQMD. Results from the City’s air monitoring program showed concentrations that are less than all published health-based reference exposure levels developed by the California Office of Environmental Health and Hazard Assessment (OEHHA). The reference levels developed by OEHHA are used by agencies and health risk managers to evaluate the hazard associated with exposure to a specific chemical contaminant and the impact it has on target organs in the human body.
AQMD Air Monitoring Program
In response to community concerns, AQMD began an air sampling program in December 2020 in the North Irvine area near the All American Asphalt plant. This link to the AQMD webpage provides a summary of the program and the results of the air sampling. A summary of the findings from the AQMD sampling program is included below;
“Based on the data our scientists have collected and analyzed thus far, we do not have evidence to conclude that there are elevated air toxics levels that would cause a health threat to the residents of the community near the facility. The monitoring data provides information about the overall levels of air pollution in the community. The sampling data that we have thus far have shown relatively typical (“background”) levels of toxic air pollution in the community.”
AQMD Evaluation of UCI Sensors
AQMD recently completed testing on equipment supplied by the June Wu research group at UCI, and used by members of the community to evaluate air quality near the All American Asphalt plant. The equipment, called Atmotube Pro sensors, measures total volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are man-made chemicals often produced as an industrial byproduct. Readings from these sensors have led to concerns in the community of more significant health impacts than the data produced by the air monitoring equipment of either the Air Quality Management District (AQMD) or the City’s consultant. A summary of AQMD’s testing on the sensors is included below. A more detailed overview along with a technical report summarizing the testing is provided on the AQMD website here.
“All Atmotube Pro sensors were run side-by-side with a more expensive and reliable 'reference' instrument to assess performance. Testing results indicate that VOC concentrations measured by the Atmotube Pro sensors did not correlate with measurements recorded by the “reference” instrument. The sensors overestimated VOC concentrations and reported high levels of VOCs when concentrations were low, suggesting levels measured in the Irvine community were not accurate or precise, and were biased high. The testing results suggest the sensor devices should have been tested and calibrated prior to field deployment.” – AQMD
Data Reporting Errors Lead to Misconceptions in the Community
Recent reports from members of the community posted to online platforms suggest that there were significant increases in emissions of certain chemicals from the AAA plant in 2017. The City has followed up with AQMD on these reports and AQMD has provided the following response. Additional information on the topic can be found on the AQMD website here;
“The differences in emissions that are being shown between 2016 and 2017, are due to calculation methods, and do not represent increases in production or a large change in emissions from year to year. The information displayed by the community accurately reflects data submitted to South Coast AQMD by AAA. This information is available on South Coast AQMD’s FIND website. However, the information displayed by the community does not accurately represent AAA’s emissions and should not be used to draw any conclusions on the emissions coming from the facility until correct information is provided. AAA used various emission factors incorrectly in both 2016 and 2017, resulting in inaccurate emissions estimates. AQMD reviews information provided by the facility, discovered the calculation errors and is now requiring a more comprehensive Air Toxics Inventory Report as well as testing of individual equipment to evaluate specific sources to get better information about the facility’s emissions. Once the methodology differences noted in the various community posts online have been corrected, the reported emissions between 2016 and 2017 will look similar, as production levels were similar in both years. Recent community air sampling efforts from South Coast AQMD show that average levels of air toxics at each community monitoring site are within background levels and below long-term health thresholds.” For more information on this topic, please refer to the AQMD website.
AQMD has held two public meetings regarding the situation with the All American Asphalt plant. This link to the AQMD website provides the presentations that were given at the meeting by experts from AQMD, the City’s consultant, Yorke Engineering, and from two different academic research groups from the University of California, Irvine. The site also includes archived videos from both meetings.
In July 2020, the City of Irvine filed a public nuisance lawsuit on behalf of residents against All American Asphalt. More information about this litigation can be found at the links below:
The links below provide access to a variety of correspondence related to the All American Asphalt plant:
- October 15, 2020 letter from Irvine City Council to residents regarding City efforts at All American Asphalt
- October 30, 2020 letter from All American Asphalt to residents
- November 17, 2020 letter from Irvine City Council to AQMD Chairman and Board Members regarding emissions from All American Asphalt and Bowerman Landfill
- November 24, 2020 letter from AQMD to Irvine City Council regarding efforts at All American Asphalt and Bowerman Landfill (View the letter in Mandarin here)
- December 2, 2020 letter from Irvine City Council to UC Irvine regarding university involvement in the public nuisance at All American Asphalt
- January 8, 2021 correspondence between Dean Baker and Irvine Mayor and City Council regarding appointment of expert panel and work being conducted by City and AQMD
- January 13, 2021 letter from UC Irvine to Irvine City Council regarding university involvement in the public nuisance at All American Asphalt
- January 19, 2021 letter from Mayor Khan to AQMD Chairman and Board Members requesting a public meeting
- February 5, 2021 letter from AQMD to Mayor Kahn regarding AQMD efforts at All American Asphalt
- February 8, 2021 letter from All American Asphalt to Irvine City Council in response to an article in the Voice of OC
- May 13, 2021 letter from All American Asphalt to City of Irvine staff and Councilmembers related to the Granulated Activated Carbon Unit.