Grace Smith Elementary School

File photo: Thomas Brinkerhoff, Imperial County Air Pollution Control District project manager, cuts a ribbon September 4, 2019, unveiling the new air filtration system at Grace Smith Elementary School in Niland.

IMPERIAL COUNTY — The Imperial County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday, November 17, granting the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District (ICAPCD) the authority to continue public school air filtration projects funded through the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) Assembly Bill (AB) 617 Community Protection Program (CAPP), according to a press release.

In response to AB 617, the CAPP was established to reduce exposure in communities most impacted by air pollution through community participation and localized air pollution strategies. According to the release, the ICAPCD and Comite Civico del Valle were successful in establishing the El Centro-Heber-Calexico community corridor as one of the initial AB 617 selected communities for the first-of-its-kind state-wide program. 

One of the goals identified by the CAPP, AB 617 Community Steering Committee (CSC), and the ICAPCD is the installation of high-efficiency air filtration projects to reduce air pollution exposure to students and faculty at public schools within the corridor.

To date, the ICAPCD, in conjunction with IQAir Foundation, has been successful in completing air filtration projects at the following schools:

  • Dogwood Elementary in Heber (Installed September 2020)
  • Heber School in Heber (September 2020)
  • De Anza Magnet School in El Centro (September 2020)
  • Grace Smith Elementary School in Niland (August 2019)
  • Seeley School in Seeley (March 2020)

ICAPCD Project Manager Thomas Brinkerhoff said, “The ICAPCD looks forward to continue the implementation of enhanced air filtration projects at schools in Imperial County.  These projects will reduce the health risk and air emissions exposure for students, which are one of the most sensitive receptor groups in our communities and assist us with meeting our goals and commitments of the AB 617 Program.”

The approval from the Board of Supervisors grants the ICAPCD and Imperial County Air Pollution Control Officer the authority to execute funding agreements with local eligible school districts and helps to ensure the timely execution of documentation needed to continue implementing the projects. Per the mitigation commitment in the Imperial County Year 1 Community Emissions Reduction Program Plan, the ICAPCD will implement air filtration projects at a minimum of 12 school sites within the El Centro-Heber-Calexico corridor through 2024, according to the release.

For more information, visit the El Centro-Heber-Calexico AB 617 website at www.ICAB617Community.org or contact ICAPCD Projects Manager Thomas Brinkerhoff at (442) 265-1800 or ThomasBrinkerhoff@co.imperial.ca.us.

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