Tesla Ordered to Address Air Quality Violations at Fremont Factory

Tesla has been ordered to address air quality violations at its Fremont manufacturing facility by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD).

The districts says the root of Tesla’s air quality violations lies in the breakdowns and operational failures of its thermal oxidizer system, which is used for controlling emissions in the paint shop. These breakdowns allow harmful pollutants to escape into the atmosphere. Additionally, operational decisions to shut down the abatement systems due to other equipment problems have exacerbated the issue.

According to the BAAQMD, the abatement order requires Tesla to undertake a two-step corrective process. Firstly, Tesla must hire an independent third-party consultant to evaluate the current air quality management practices and recommend improvements. Following this, Tesla is required to develop and submit an implementation plan for these recommendations to the district’s hearing board for approval.

Upon approval, Tesla must implement the necessary changes, except in cases where such actions might compromise safety.

The BAAQMD’s independent enforcement arm has cited Tesla for over 100 violations since 2019. These infractions involve the release of harmful precursor organic compounds and toxic air contaminants, primarily from the facility’s paint shop. The violations, which have health implications for the surrounding community, prompted the district to issue a formal abatement order.

Philip Fine, executive officer of the BAAQMD, emphasized the importance of this order: “Tesla’s ongoing violations at their Fremont facility pose a risk to public health and air quality in the surrounding community. This order is crucial to ensure that Tesla takes prompt and effective action to stop harmful emissions and comply with all air quality regulations to protect the health of those living near the facility.” (via AP)

This is not the first order against Tesla’s Fremont factory for environmental concerns. In February 2024, Tesla agreed to a $1.5 million settlement following allegations of improper disposal of hazardous waste at multiple sites, including the Fremont factory.

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