The Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District, the local air district which regulates air quality in the High Desert portion of San Bernardino County & the Palo Verde Valley of Riverside County, is more than 20,000-plus square miles and structured in a manner which allows policy on air quality issues to be developed and debated by those who are most affected by it: regulated industry and the High Desert community. Thus, the MDAQMD employs a common-sense, inclusive approach to the development of its air quality management programs. The District’s mission is to attain and maintain a healthful environment while supporting strong and sustainable economic growth.
MDAQMD staff works in a pro-active manner with those impacted by regulatory mandates to find the most prudent and non-punitive course of action and to resolve conflicts to the maximum extent possible. As a result, local industry has more flexibility in meeting environmental mandates than their counterparts in neighboring air districts and even some nearby states.
One example of how the MDAQMD partners with local businesses to help them meet and exceed state and federal emission mandates is its annual presentation of the Exemplar Awards. The Exemplars recognize High Desert entities that demonstrate an exceptional commitment to clean air through the development of voluntary activities/projects that reduce or prevent air pollution within the MDAQMD’s jurisdiction.
In fall of 2014, a family-owned material recovery facility and the Victor Valley’s municipal wastewater treatment plant were recognized by the Governing Board of the MDAQMD, as the District presented its Exemplar Awards to Advance Disposal Company and the Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority for implementing innovative, energy-saving projects which are revolutionizing the waste disposal process while significantly reducing air pollution emissions.
Advance Disposal was recognized for recently doubling the size of its Hesperia Material Recovery Facility and replacing higher-emitting loading and conveyor equipment with state-of-the art, fuel- efficient equipment, while working to meet the demands of the upcoming 75% state mandated landfill diversion rate set to commence in 2020. As a result, the newly retooled MRF is now able to process the same amount of material in half the time, with a 50% decrease in fuel emissions, since equipment such as loaders, excavators and skidsters previously required to transfer material during the additional processing time are no longer necessary. A tunnel system designed for trucks entering the MRF has helped further reduce fuel emissions and cut in half the time it takes to load landfill-bound idling transfer trucks by loading directly from the floor into the top of the haulers. Advance Disposal also recently added a CNG-fueled refuse truck to its fleet, along with a propane-operated forklift.
VVWRA was awarded the Exemplar for partnering with Anaergia Services LLC of Carlsbad to retrofit a decommissioned anaerobic digester for the purpose of tripling its sludge and waste co-digesting capacity, and using the resulting biogas as fuel to generate electricity and offset natural gas usage at its Victorville plant. As a result, two combined heat and power engines have been equipped with lean-burn technology and are now operating on digester biogas, supplemented by natural gas. The new engines have replaced two of four existing internal combustion engines, which have resulted in an overall reduction of the facility’s nitrogen oxide, volatile organic compound and greenhouse gas emissions. The two remaining combined heat and power engines will run on 100% biogas and be used for backup purposes only. VVWRA also modified its formerly high energy-use UV treatment system to run on a single channel, which has reduced emissions from this source by 60% and further decreased energy demand. The OmnivoreTM project – which was commissioned in January of 2014 – is a developing technology and is the first of its kind in North America. As a result of its introduction, VVWRA is currently producing 1.4 MW of electricity onsite and is expected to be 100% energy neutral by the start of 2015.
To find out how doing business within the MDAQMD could be good for your business, call 760.245.1661 or visit us online at www.mdaqmd.ca.gov today!