How Will Scrap Metal Recyclers Be Impacted by New Air Quality Regulations in California?

How Will Scrap Metal Recyclers Be Impacted by New Air Quality Regulations?

The metals industry in California is currently the focus of aggressive rule-making by the South Coast Air Quality Management District that will spread to other Air districts in California. Ambient air monitoring rules such as AB 617 and proposed SCAQMD Rule 1480 will focus on FUGITIVE EMISSIONS and industry and process specific rules will impact cutting, grinding and welding operations.

Your Facility could be subject to enforcement actions and abatement orders if material handling and processing operations at your facility result in odors or fugitive emissions of 1 nanogram per cubic meter (ng/m3) or more of hexavalent chromium.

Is your facility prepared?

  • Are you prepared to totally enclose all metal cutting, grinding and welding operations?

  • Are you prepared to vent all cutting, grinding or welding operations to a baghouse equipped with a HEPA Filter and conduct biennial source testing of each baghouse?

  • Are you prepared to implement stringent housekeeping measures such as:

    • Semiannual wet cleaning or HEPA vacuuming of rooftops of metal cutting or grinding enclosures;
    • Daily wet cleaning or HEPA vacuuming of areas containing metal wastes from cutting or grinding operation, and for work station floors and entrance ways to total enclosures of cutting, grinding or welding enclosures.
  • Will you be prepared to store all metal cutting or grinding wastes in sealed containers unless stored in a total enclosure?

  • Will you be prepared to stop using compressed air cleaning or dry sweeping within 30 feet of any cutting or grinding operation?

  • Is your recordkeeping system setup to document:

    • Types of materials processed;
    • Monthly records of baghouse catches and metal wastes collected by housekeeping;
    • Inspection and maintenance records for baghouses; and
    • Daily and monthly reporting to document housekeeping measures.

Be involved with the rule-making process and understand what will be expected from your Facility to comply with new regulations. Your input is critical!

If you have any questions regarding the new air quality regulations and how they might apply to and impact your operations, please contact our Sacramento office at (916) 928-6169 ext. 229 or our Los Angeles office at (818) 626-8614, or email Albert Chung at

Blog Author


Albert Chung, Ph.D., P.E.
Senior Engineer, EHS Compliance Services

Contact Albert at