When the air quality is unhealthy in Sacramento, an updated city ordinance will help prevent leaf blowers from making it worse.
The Sacramento City Council this week approved an ordinance amendment that prohibits the use of all portable blowers in the city when the air quality index (AQI) is above 101. The new code, effective Dec. 9, is applicable to businesses and residential homeowners who use portable blowers to clear areas of debris such as dirt and leaves.
“The intent behind this ordinance is to protect the public health, (and) the solution is workable and enforceable,” said Vice Mayor Jeff Harris, who supported the amendment being added to City code. “This is not meant to put landscapers out of work, but more to change behavior to benefit public health.”
Other cities in Northern California, including Davis and Palo Alto, have portable blower restrictions when the AQI is above 100. The reasoning for this restriction is leaf blowers can contribute to dust emissions and gas exhaust, which can be harmful for breathing, especially when the air quality is at an already unhealthy levels, officials said.
Here are some frequently asked questions about the new City code:
Why is the City prohibiting the use of portable blowers?
To address health concerns related to the use of portable blowers, the City has passed an amended ordinance that prohibits the use of portable blowers when the Air Quality Index (AQI) is at or above 101.
What is prohibited by the portable blower ordinance?
Use of all portable blowers is prohibited when the AQI is at or above 101. This includes commercial and residential use of electric and gas-powered portable blowers.
Where can I find the AQI for Sacramento?
The AQI specific to the Sacramento region can be found at http://www.sparetheair.com/aqi.cfm.
How will the leaf blower ordinance be enforced?
The City will respond to complaints of persons and businesses using blowers when the AQI is at or above 101. Violations of the ordinance are subject to warnings and then administrative penalties (after repeated violations).
Who will be impacted by this ordinance?
Anyone using a portable blower when the AQI is at or above 101.
How many days a year does Sacramento’s AQI reach this threshold?
According to the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, the AQI exceeded 100 an average of 34.4 days dating back to 2014. Due to recent wildfires throughout California this year, the AQI has been well above 100 often registering as “unhealthy for sensitive groups” up to “hazardous.”
How do I report someone using a blower when the AQI is at or above 101?
Complaints can be filed by calling 311 or 916-808-5011 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Complaints should include the address/location where the activity is occurring as well as the name of contractor, landscaping, or gardening company if appropriate.
Please visit the City’s portable blower webpage for more information.