Office of Sustainability
Air Quality
Ozone

Emissions from industrial facilities and electric utilities, motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, and chemical solvents are some of the major sources of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC).

About Air Quality

San Antonio is home to a pleasant, warm climate, booming economy and growing population. In fact, San Antonio stands to welcome one million more residents by the year 2040. With these new residents come challenges for transportation, providing services and keeping the air we breathe clean.

San Antonio’s air doesn’t look dirty, but the truth is we have surpassed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) health-based clean air standards. We must work together to reduce pollution and clean up our air. Clean air benefits the entire community.

Specifically, Bexar County is in exceedance of ground-level ozone standards. Ground-level ozone forms when Nitrogen Oxides (such as from burning fossil fuels in combustion engines) combine with Volatile Organic Compounds in the air and sunlight to make ozone.

CONSEQUENCES OF AIR POLLUTION

Put simply, air pollution damages lung tissue in ways similar to second hand tobacco smoke. Air pollution triggers heart attacks and strokes. It causes diseases like bronchitis and lung cancer. It sends people to the emergency room with respiratory problems such as asthma attacks.

Beyond impacting your health, poor air quality is bad for our economy. A stricter federal air quality standard means additional regulations for businesses that want to expand or relocate to San Antonio, putting new jobs and investment in the area at risk. Join us as we work together to clean up our air quality.

Poor air quality is costly for business in San Antonio. Stricter federal air quality standards result in more regulations, a higher cost of doing business and can lead to health issues for your employees.

According to the Alamo Area Council of Government’s Potential Cost of Nonattainment in the San Antonio Metropolitan Area report, Bexar County could face a $2.1 to $28.4 billion loss of gross regional product. Your business can help clean up our air and save money in the long run

Register for the Air Pollution Control Program

The program provides educational consultations to businesses regarding city ordinances to help reduce air pollutants. By registering, the program can assist with identifying air pollution issues.

This program is a way for your business to address concerns from neighbors. This program also coordinates with state and local agencies.

Program Requirements

Please view the requirements and examples of facilities required to register. (English | Español)
NOTE: Refer to the following link for Industry Specific Permits By Rule (PBR).

Click the button below to download the registration form

For new businesses needing to make their registration payment:

  • Call 210.207.8732 to set up an account
  • If no answer, leave a message. Your call will be returned within 24-48 hours.
  • Without an account, you are unable to make a payment over the phone or in person.
  • To make a payment over the phone, send registration paperwork to APC Customer Support
  • To mail your payment, send it to
    City of San Antonio, Metro Health Department
    Attention: Fiscal Operations
    111 Soledad Street, Suite 1000
    San Antonio, TX 78205

For renewing accounts that received an invoice in the mail:

  • To make a payment over the phone call the Finance Department at 210.207.8667.
  • To mail your payment, send it to
    City of San Antonio, Metro Health Department
    Attention: Fiscal Operations
    111 Soledad Street, Suite 1000
    San Antonio, TX 78205

Please review the Resources section for additional information on ozone nonattainment.

Breathe Today. SA Tomorrow. Clean Air for Kids! School Anti-Idling Program

The Clean Air for Kids! Program helps kids and parents understand how to prevent air pollution caused by the idling of cars, trucks and buses, especially around schools.

Excessive and unnecessary vehicle idling is a serious, avoidable contributor to environmental pollution and poor human health. This behavior occurs throughout virtually all transportation activities, including parents picking up children after school, customers waiting in line at a drive-through ATM or restaurant, trucks delivering goods, and buses waiting to pick up passengers.

Unnecessary idling significantly contributes to air pollution, which in turn worsens environmental and health problems, including contributing to the dramatic rise of childhood asthma.

You can make a big difference with little changes to your lifestyle!

Clean Air For Kids! School anti-idling program

The program includes little changes like adding idling reduction signs in drop-off/pick-up areas and sending homes quick facts for parents. Kids and parents can sign an anti-idling pledge to help improve air quality in San Antonio.

If your school wants to learn about idling behavior, understanding air quality data and working together to create big changes to small behaviors contact Julia Murphy, City of San Antonio Office of Sustainability, 210.207.6372.

School Toolkit

School Anti-Idling Toolkit

  1. Clean Air for Kids! Presentation (PDF)
  2. Making It a Student Project (PDF)
  3. How to Conduct Observations (PDF)
  4. Observation Form (PDF)
  5. Parent Pledge Form (English & Spanish - PDF)
  6. Anti-Idling Sign (PDF)

This toolkit is provided for schools who want to improve air quality, and provides an easy-to-follow methodology to help all people become aware of ways they can help reduce air pollution.

Why Should we Help San Antonio’s Air Quality?

Poor air quality affects our most vulnerable residents including children, elderly and those who work outside. San Antonio has reached “non-attainment” air pollution status. Together, we can clean up our air to improve our community’s health.

A 2017 City of San Antonio study found that approximately 24 deaths could be avoided annually if San Antonio air quality improves to a lower level than the EPA’s standard. The avoided cost of these deaths is estimated to be $220 million.

In addition, school representatives from the South Texas Asthma Coalition (STAC) report that absences and trips to school clinics due to asthma are frequent, and therefore a top concern in need of mitigation. Though triggers for asthma attacks are widely varied and complex, the need exists to work solutions to the problem from all angles and employ proven tactics that reduce exposure to harmful emissions, especially for children waiting to be picked up by their parents from school.

How is San Antonio Helping?

COSA works with area partners to enact policies and programs that mitigate air pollution through regulation and voluntary action. In 2016, San Antonio and Bexar County passed anti-idling legislation for large trucks and buses. The City’s SA Tomorrow Sustainability Plan (adopted in 2016) and SA Climate Ready Plan outline desired Outcomes and Strategies in critical focus areas to keep the city’s natural resources, including clean air, healthy and available for all present and future residents. The award-winning public information campaign entitled “Breathe Today, SA Tomorrow” seeks to encourage all residents of our region to consider ways to reduce harmful emissions by working together.

Here are some easy ways to improve our air quality:

  • Drive less by combining errands into as few trips as possible, consider carpooling, use public transportation, walk or take a bike.
  • Conserve fuel by reducing idling of your vehicle by parking instead of utilizing drive-thru, avoid aggressive driving by starting and stopping your vehicle gradually, drive the posted speed limit, shut off the engine while waiting outside of schools businesses and other waiting areas, keep excess weight out of your vehicle, don’t continue to fill your gas tank after the pump has automatically shut off and seal the gas cap tightly.
  • When possible, plan ahead to avoid traffic delays by anticipating construction and other congested areas or leave earlier or later than rush hours to avoid traffic.
  • Other things residents can do:
    • Keep car engines and yard equipment maintained
    • Keep tires properly inflated
    • Consider buying a “cleaner” or more fuel-efficient vehicle. (Watch for more information about the City’s goals around electric transportation.)
    • Conserve electricity
    • Use paint and/or cleaning products with less or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

Ozone

From March through November, we want the entire community to join together to support clean air for all. Be part of our Ozone Action Days by working with us to reduce emissions and help everyone breathe easier!

The Ozone Action Day Plan establishes guidelines and procedures for reducing emissions of ozone-forming compounds into the atmosphere, both on “Ozone Action Days" as well as throughout the ozone season (March 1 - November 30).

City Departments, through voluntary compliance with the Ozone Action Day Plan, will modify certain activities on Ozone Action Days. Read more about the Ozone Action Day Plan (PDF).

Read about the Ozone Attainment Master Plan (PDF - English | Español).

OZONE EFFECTS ON YOUR HEALTH

Ozone in the air can be harmful to your health, especially on hot, sunny days.

Even relatively low levels of ozone can cause health problems and can be serious in people with respiratory diseases such as asthma. Groups, including children, the elderly and outdoor workers are most sensitive to increased levels of ozone.

HEALTH IMPACTS OF OZONE POLLUTION

A 2017 City of San Antonio study found that approximately 24 deaths could be avoided annually if San Antonio air quality improves to a lower level than the EPA’s standard. The avoided cost of these deaths is estimated to be $220 million.

HELP STOP AIR POLLUTION!

You can help prevent ozone pollution by:

  • Share a ride
  • Take the bus
  • Walk or ride a bike
  • Avoid drive through lanes, if eating out.
  • Wait until after 6:00 PM to fill your car with gas or mow the lawn.
REDUCE YOUR EXPOSURE TO AIR POLLUTION

While exercising outdoors can be detrimental during high ozone days, the health benefits of being physically active far outweigh the risks from poor air quality in San Antonio. Residents can reduce risks associated with high ozone levels by signing up to receive daily air quality forecasts and ozone alerts from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Non-Attainment Information

San Antonio and Bexar County are in exceedance of federally mandated ground-level ozone standards and effectively have until the end of 2020 to attain the standard or face stricter regulations. The most recent measurements for 2018 show the region just 2 parts per billion (ppb) above the standard of 70 ppb. This number will be the first of three years averaged to determine whether San Antonio is in attainment by 2020.

Despite significant ozone level improvements over the past decades, continued focus on air quality is needed to reach the health-based standard established by the Environmental Protection Agency. Local stakeholders are working closely together to prioritize action steps to reduce emissions that contribute to ground-level ozone and minimize pollution exposure. Partners include Bexar County, Alamo Area Council of Governments, Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, VIA Metropolitan Transit, CPS Energy, Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA), independent school districts and other community-based organizations.

Funding opportunities for emissions-reducing opportunities are available through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ.) In addition, these TCEQ resources are available

City Administrative Directives Related to Air Quality

Anti-Idling for City-Owned Vehicles – AD 1.3 Anti-Idling for City-Owned Vehicles (PDF)

City Ordinances Related to Air Quality

Air Pollution Control Program – Ordinance 2015-11-10-0967 (PDF):

The City of San Antonio’s Air Pollution Control Program requires a business facility located within the City that is a source of air pollution to register with the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District. A $200 per year registration fee is required per facility. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate or cause to be operated any business facility unless there is current registration for the facility. A Health Inspector must be contacted to schedule an onsite inspection. The inspection can be scheduled in conjunction with a Certificate of Occupancy inspection by contacting the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District.

Examples of facilities required to register include but are not limited to the following:
NOTE: Refer to the following link for Industry Specific Permits By Rule (PBR):

In 2015 the San Antonio City Council passed ordinance #2015-----11-19-0967 requiring business facilities with air pollution emissions to register with Metro Health and pay an annual registration fee of $200.00 per facility. This registration process will help identify local sources of ozone components and develop steps to lower emissions and improve air quality for residents. Below you can find the registration form, a copy of the ordinance and a helpful Q&A.

Anti-Idling Ordinance

Coal Tar Sealant Ordinance

DR. JEFFRIES REPORT

Final Report - October 2018 (PDF)

Partners

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality - Protects the state's human and natural resources consistent with sustainable economic development. TCEQ’s goal is clean air, clean water, and the safe management of waste.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Protects human health and safeguards the natural environment — air, water, and land — upon which life depends with its partners, pursues innovative solutions that will serve generations to come.

Alamo Area Council of Governments - Enhance the lives of all residents of the Alamo Region by working in mutual respect and partnership with all levels of government, the business sector, and the community at large to meet regional challenges and to create regional strengths

The Texas Emissions Reduction Program (TERP) – Provides financial incentives to eligible individuals, businesses, or local governments to reduce emissions from polluting vehicles and equipment.

Current Ozone 1-Hour Levels - Map showing current ozone level at Texas monitors.

Four Highest Eight-Hour Ozone Concentrations in 2019 - Table of 4th Highest 8 hour ozone concentrations.

Compliance with Eight-Hour Ozone Standard - Ozone Design Values

TCEQ Air Information

Texas Clean Air Working Group

San Antonio AQ Business Coalition

AIR QUALITY INDEX

The AQI is an index for reporting daily air quality. It tells you how clean or polluted your air is, and what associated health problems might be a concern for you. The AQI focuses on health problems you may experience within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air. EPA calculates the AQI for five major air pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act: ground-level ozone, particle pollution (also known as particulate matter), carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. For each of these pollutants, EPA has established national air quality standards to protect public health.

Ground-level ozone is the pollutant of concern in the San Antonio area that poses the greatest threat to human health.

The EPA has assigned a specific color to each AQI category to make it easier for people to understand quickly whether air pollution is reaching unhealthy levels in their communities. You can find out the daily air quality index levels of health concern for San Antonio at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s “Today’s Air Quality Forecast

Air Quality Index Levels of Health Concern Numerical
Value
Meaning
Good 0 to 50 Air quality is considered satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk.
Moderate 51 to 100 Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.
Unhealthy for
Sensitive Groups
101 to 150 Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is not likely to be affected.
Unhealthy 151 to 200 Everyone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.
Very Unhealthy 201 to 300 Health alert: everyone may experience more serious health effects.
Hazardous 301 to 500 Health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected.

Contact the Program

Program-related questions: 210.207.4052
Payment-related questions: 210.207.8732