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Contra Costa County

Air District Fact

The Winter Spare the Air Program runs during the winter, when particulate matter from woodstoves and fireplaces becomes a major health concern.

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1975 - 1980

The Air District began 1975 by inaugurating a new radio communication system using two new transmitters and a computer linkup, accelerating the dispatch of air pollution complaints to inspectors in the field for investigation. This was also the year that the California Air Resources Board adopted new emission standards for 1977-model automobiles and 1978-model motorcycles.

The Environmental Decade Continues

While a peanut farmer and former Governor of Georgia was struggling for attention as a credible presidential candidate in 1976, the Air District adopted a landmark odor regulation that set emission standards based on odor thresholds of chemically identifiable substances.

radio dispatch

Air District inspectors communicate with District headquarters, using the new radio dispatch system implemented in 1975 to facilitate investigation of complaints.

In 1977, the national Clean Air Act Amendments were adopted, with far-reaching effects on air districts across the country. That same year, the Air District began discussions on the shape and feasibility of an emissions offset rule for trading of industrial pollution credits.


The effects of air pollution on visibility are evident in these photos taken from San Francisco's Twin Peaks in 1976.

1978 was a year of transition for the Air District. State legislation changed the Air District's name from "Bay Area Air Pollution Control District" to "Bay Area Air Quality Management District," the Air District's toll-free complaint line (1-800-334-ODOR) became operational, and Milton Feldstein was named Air Pollution Control Officer. He would take office at the beginning of the next year, beginning a distinguished 17-year term as the head of the agency.


In 1979, Air Pollution Control Officer (APCO) Milt Feldstein began a long and fruitful term as head of the Air District. He worked as an employee of the agency for 38 years, serving as APCO until 1996. The San Francisco building housing the Air District's offices was dedicated to him in 1998.

In 1979, the Pollutant Standards Index (forerunner of the Air Quality Index, or AQI) was introduced by the EPA to give the public easily understandable information about air quality readings; and the Air District's New Source Review regulation for stationary sources of emissions was adopted, allowing facilities to "bank" emissions credits.

As the "environmental decade" came to a close, the Air District began preparing for the challenges entailed by soaring regional population growth, and the accompanying increase in the number of automobiles and miles traveled on Bay Area roadways.


The first integrated regional air quality ozone model in the nation is completed by the Air District, in conjunction with Lawrence Livermore Laboratories and NASA-Ames Research Center.

Bay Area emission limits on nitrogen oxides take effect.

The Air District begins use of a new radio communications system, involving two transmitters and a computer linkup, accelerating the dispatch of air pollution complaints to inspectors in the field for investigation.


ARB limits lead in gasoline in California.

The Air District adopts its first yearly permit renewal requirements. Facility operators must provide the Air District with yearly updates of certain emission parameters for their permitted operations.


Amendments to the Clean Air Act are enacted by the U.S. Congress.


The Air District's name is changed to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District


The New Source Review regulation is adopted, allowing for a system of emissions banking.

The Air District's Planning Division is created during a reorganization of the District's operating structure.

The Air District's regulations are recodified into an easier to use format.


The Air District unveils its proposal for an Inspection and Maintenance — or "Smog Check" — program for automobiles, which eventually is modified and signed into law.

Last Updated: 8/31/2011