Newport Beach Air Quality Report by Dr. Karleen Boyle
Dr. Karleen Boyle, a noted scientist with a Ph.D from UCLA, was hired by Newport Beach in the summer of 2009 to assess the air quality from the airport to the ocean in Newport Beach to determine if aviation pollution was detectible. Dr. Boyle found both large and small particulates resulting from aircraft.
However, the level of particulates do not violate the Clean Air Act.
Dr. Boyle noted in her presentation that regulations often lag behind the science. For example, ultrafine particulate matter (UFM or UF) is not regulated, but scientific equipment has made such progress that its detection is now possible.
Dr. Boyle's report is in the box to your right. Below you will find a summary of her conclusions.
FACT SHEET- Newport Beach Air Quality Study- September 27, 2010
1. Air Quality Study. This study was conducted at the request of the City of Newport Beach in response to concerns voiced by City residents about emissions from aircraft departing John Wayne Airport and their possible health effects. Numerous residents near the flight path have observed layers of “soot” accumulating on their vehicles and patio furniture. Soot is one type of atmospheric particulate matter (PM), which is considered a criteria pollutant by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is regulated under The Clean Air Act. Many air quality studies have documented associations between high levels of PM and adverse impacts to human health, including increased risk of death from respiratory and cardiac causes. The smallest size class of particles, those less than 2.5μm (PM2.5) are considered a greater risk than larger particles. Consequently, this study focused on measuring the quantities and chemical composition of PM2.5 at locations in the city at various distances from both the airport and another primary source of particulate emissions - area freeways. The objectives of the study were: • To measure the concentrations of particulate pollutants in the air, and to characterize the chemical composition of these particles, at different locations in the city of Newport Beach, California. • To determine whether chemical profiles specific to different locations and emission sources could be distinguished, and whether the relative contributions of airport vs. automotive emissions could be assessed for the different sampling sites. The study was designed and conducted by Karleen A. Boyle, PhD, a recognized expert in the field. Chemical analyses of the air samples were conducted by Desert Research Institute of Reno, Nevada, the environmental research division of the Nevada System of Higher Education which specializes in air pollution research. Field measurements of air particles were made at six locations in varying proximity to the two largest potential emission sources in the study area, high volume freeways (the 405 and the 5) and the John Wayne Airport. Concentrations of particle-associated metals, trace elements and hydrocarbons were measured. Chemical profiles of each sampling location were constructed and compared to see whether certain chemicals were more highly associated with the airport or freeway sites, and in what proportions these chemicals were present at sampling locations in varying proximity to these emission sources. While the study was designed as a preliminary assessment of the feasibility of using field air sampling to detect differences in the amounts and chemical composition of particulate matter in relation to various sources, the fact that several findings proved statistically significant at a low level of replication suggests that many of the trends observed are real.
2. Dates of Field Study. The field study was conducted over a period of August 3-19, 2009.
3. Locations of six (6) field sampling stations:
Lifeguard Headquarters (Lifeguard “HQ”): Directly adjacent to the Pacific coast. Located 10 km upwind of the Runway sampling station. Eastbluff Boys’ and Girls’ Club (Boys’ Club): Residential area 5 km upwind of the Runway site and adjacent to the jet departure corridor. Located 6 km from the coast, 5 km from the airport. Santa Ana Heights Fire Station (Fire Station): Located 7 km from the coast and 3.4 km upwind of the Runway. Directly under the flight path of jets departing from JWA. Runway: Sampling station located downwind of jet terminals, taxiway, and aircraft takeoffs and landings. 37 meters upwind of and adjacent to the 405 freeway. Main Street Parking Lot (“Parking”): 208 meters downwind of the 405 Freeway and 314 meters downwind of Runway site. Samplers were stationed on the roof of a structure in the Main Street parking lot serviced by airport shuttle buses. The Intersection of the 5, 57, and 22 Freeways (“Freeway”): Designed to attempt to isolate freeway emissions for comparison to Runway and Parking stations. Samplers were located in an area that would receive high inputs of freeway emissions, but was distant from potential aircraft emissions. Samplers were located on an island adjacent to six lanes of merging freeway traffic and a freeway overpass at the junction of the 5-57- 22 Freeways (the “Orange Crush”) in the City of Orange, CA. The Freeway station was located 10.36 km northwest of the Runway site.
4. Findings: • Differences in particle concentrations could be measured at the various sites • Differences in particle- associated chemicals could be distinguished at the various sites • Chemical Profiles of the various test sites exhibited differences Chemical profiles of source sites (Runway and Freeway) were compared to see if any elements were specific to one location and whether different emission sources could be distinguished from one another. Two elements were detected only at the Runway location. No elements were found to be unique to the Freeway or Parking sites. • Potential Runway-Associated Elements A total of 10 elements were identified as potentially associated with the Runway sampling site, meaning the highest concentrations of that element were measured at the runway, or at Runway-adjacent sites (Runway-adjacent sites = Parking downwind and Fire Station upwind). For three of these elements, antimony (Sb), palladium (Pd) and potassium (K), the effect of location was strong enough to be statistically significant. The remaining seven elements measured at their highest concentrations at, or adjacent to, the runway were: nickel (Ni) and vanadium (V), hafnium (Hf), indium (In), molybdenum (Mo), silver (Ag), and strontium (Sr). • Potential Freeway-Associated Elements Eight elements were identified as potentially freeway-associated: bromine (Br), cerium (Ce), gold (Au), rubidium, (Rb), samarium (Sa), zirconium (Zr), terbium (Tb) and titanium ((Ti). Of these elements, terbium and titanium exhibited a statistically significant effect of location. • Emissions Profiles The elements identified as runway or freeway-associated were used to construct emission profiles for both source locations. Several chemicals demonstrated decreasing concentrations as distance from either the runway or freeway increased, indicating that the relative contributions of these sources may be distinguished with further study. • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) A group of 7 PAHs displayed a strong association with the Runway sampling site. These compounds occurred at higher levels at the Runway or at Runway adjacent sites than at the freeway site.
5. Conclusions and Recommendations: • The study indicates that ambient particles are currently in conformity with the federal air quality standards. • These findings support those of studies from other airports which suggest that aircraft particulate emissions persist at distances farther from airports than vehicle particulate emissions persist from roadways. • Runway-associated emissions may be measurable at significant distances from John Wayne Airport; If validated with more extensive testing, these data suggest that significantly increased areas around airports should be considered as potentially influenced by airport emissions. These findings suggest that the spatial scale of air sampling near airports should be increased from the scale of meters to kilometers to better understand the dynamics of aircraft emission transport. • This study’s objective of using field air sampling to detect differences in the amounts and chemical composition of fine particulate matter in relation to various sources was achieved. • The study demonstrated that chemical profiles can be useful in distinguishing between airport-associated emissions, freeway emissions and urban background particulate matter.
6. Follow-up research to consider: • Increase the statistical power of the current data set by adding more sampling periods at the present study locations. • Add sampling stations in locations of concern to the airport or community, such as airport facilities or the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve. This estuary has a history of eutrophication and nuisance blooms of macroalgae. It is unclear whether the amount of aircraft-derived nitrate and ammonium deposition to the bay is significant. This potential environmental impact is not addressed by the current study. • Add sampling stations at a set number of locations that provide a more defined spatial pattern around the airport at crosswind and downwind locations. • Design a “before and after” field sampling study to assess the effectiveness of proposed mitigation strategies before extensive resources are expended on them.
7. Implications for airport planning and mitigation Based on this study and similar studies at other airports, it seems reasonable to direct future mitigation efforts towards reducing airport particulate emissions when possible. JWA has already implemented several measures that accomplish this, including: • Use of low-emission electric vehicles and support equipment on the commercial ramp. • Utilization of diesel-powered preconditioned air units by commercial aircraft along with ground-based electrical power in place of jet-fueled onboard Auxiliary Power Unit (APU). The ground-based units burn about 10 times less fuel than APU’s, reducing costs and lowering carbon emissions. • Installation of electric charging stations for ground service equipment and Airport vehicles. • Required operation of fleet vehicles, such as taxi cabs, using clean burning compressed natural gas (CNG) or other cleaner burning fuel alternatives. JWA’s taxi provider, Orange County Yellow Cab, uses 100 percent CNG vehicles. • Replacement of older emergency generators with newer clean-burning generators as part of the multi-year John Wayne Airport Improvement Program.
8. Additional PM mitigation strategies that can be considered include: • Encourage airlines to switch to lower sulfur fuels for aircraft. The EPA is working to encourage adoption of new ultra-low sulfur fuels. • Employ “single engine taxiing” practices which are likely to decrease hydrocarbon emissions. • Continue research that increases our understanding of aircraft emissions. Given the limited information currently available on airport-associated emissions, it is especially important to collect field data. Several recent studies have demonstrated that current values used for airport emissions modeling do not accurately reflect realworld conditions. Field studies are the most direct and effective way to improve the accuracy of airport emissions models, to measure actual emission exposure levels in the community, and to identify productive mitigation strategies.