Using a leaf blower? Remember to check the air quality in Sacramento first

When the air quality is unhealthy in Sacramento, the City prohibits the use of any leaf blowers (electric or gas) to avoid contributing to harmful particles in the air. 

The Sacramento City Council last year approved an ordinance that prohibits the use of all portable blowers when the air quality index (AQI) is at or above 101. The code is applicable to businesses and residential homeowners who use portable blowers to clear areas of debris such as dirt and leaves. 

“Code Enforcement will investigate complaints relating to the use of leaf blowers when the air quality is unhealthy,” said Jose Mendez, Code Enforcement Manager. “However, since this complaint is transitory in nature, a response from my department may formulate in the form of a notice to the property and/or business owner.

“Our hope is to bring awareness and education on this new regulation to residents and businesses owners,” Mendez said. “This process will require collaboration and cooperation. We hope we can work together with community members, business and property owners to gain compliance.” 

Other cities in Northern California, including Davis and Palo Alto, have adopted portable blower restrictions when air quality is unhealthy. This restriction is in place because leaf blowers can contribute to dust emissions and gas exhaust, which are harmful to breath and can severely impact persons with asthma and other respiratory issues.  

Local air quality can become unhealthy during summer months when the state experiences wildfires, as Sacramento has seen recently with the Dixie Fire. But winter months also can have unhealthy air when there are certain weather conditions combined with the emission of particulate matter from people burning in fireplaces.   

Before taking out the leaf blower, check the AQI for the Sacramento region on Spare the Air’s website.

To report use of a leaf blower when the AQI is at or above 101, file a complain by calling 311 or 916-808-5011 or emailing 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. 

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