Airwaves: MCAQ's Newsletter for Permitted Facilities


March 12, 2019  

Thinking Strategically by Leslie Rhodes, Director

“The technical proficiency of MCAQ staff is commendable.” – USEPA Technical Systems Audit

 “MCAQ goes above and beyond to help with air permit compliance.” – Regulated facility survey response

 “This group actively engages businesses, individuals and the public on how to improve air quality and promote transportation and industrial solutions to reduce mobile and point source air pollution.” – Sustain Charlotte Award Nomination

Excellence doesn’t happen by accident.  At Mecklenburg County Air Quality (MCAQ), we recognize this and, as a result, we think and plan strategically.  MCAQ is a division of the County’s Land Use and Environmental Services Agency, a department of approximately 500 employees with a customer-focused service approach.  To build upon our achievements in the areas of customer service and environmental stewardship, MCAQ is presently developing our strategic plan through Fiscal Year 2022. 

Our goals and objectives will be supported by innovative actions such as:

  • Design and install an Air Quality Learning Station to engage residents, visitors, and students;
  • Develop a path forward to create “Breathing Room” between local ozone concentrations and the federal health-based standard; and
  • Evaluate air monitoring technology with a smaller footprint for future use.

Take a look at the current strategic plan and stay tuned for more information about the development of the 2022 plan.

A Message From The Chair of Your Air Quality Commission

Citizen advisory boards, including the Air Quality Commission (AQC), are being increasingly called upon by the newly sworn-in Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).   As the Chair of the AQC, I appeared before the BOCC in December, at their request, to speak to proposed revisions of the Mecklenburg County Air Pollution Control Ordinance.  Their questions and comments signaled strong support for, and interest in, improving air quality for all residents of the County.

Engagement of the AQC by the BOCC continued when we were asked to identify our priorities for the FY2020 budget.  And most recently, the BOCC approved the formation of a new Environmental Stewardship Committee, which will encourage additional dialog on issues of importance to the AQC.  I am encouraged that the BOCC has asked for our input.  I hope the AQC can remain actively engaged with the BOCC through the year.

On behalf of the Air Quality Commission, I encourage you to attend or stay up-to-date on our monthly meetings by visiting our webpage.  We are a commission of diverse citizen volunteers from throughout the county with the mission and duty to promote the protection, preservation, and enhancement of the ambient air resources of Mecklenburg County.  Our purpose is to provide citizen and stakeholder input to the BOCC, local municipalities and staff.

Permitting & Enforcement Activities in 2018

MCAQ staff were out in the field a lot in 2018 and found that most Mecklenburg County permitted sites were consistently following their air quality permits.  In fact, 92% of our inspections resulted in a finding of “in compliance.”  More and more sites have improved their environmental management systems to comply with their air quality monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements.  Here’s a snapshot of Permitting & Enforcement (P&E) staff activities and the most common violations we encountered:

 P&E Staff Activities in FY18

 All Inspections – 576

  -  Permitted Sites – 184

  -  Stage 1 Gas Dispensing – 107

  -  Risk Management Program (RMP) – 6

  -  Asbestos NESHAP – 279

 Permits Processed – 87 (100% within 90 days)

 Asbestos NESHAP Notifications Reviewed – 467

 Complaints Investigated (Odor, Dust, Smoke) - 88