Tesla Ordered to Fix Air Quality Violations at Fremont, CA, Factory

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has come up with a two-step process for Tesla to address more than 110 notices of violations at the factory.


Tesla has been mandated by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) to rectify "ongoing air quality violations" at its Fremont Factory in Northern California, to curb the frequent and significant emissions issues linked to the factory's paint shop operations.

The BAAQMD issued an abatement order June 25 to halt the persistent violations. The agency said Tesla has accumulated more than 110 notices of violations related to air quality since 2019. Each of these violations has the potential to emit hundreds of pounds of illegal air pollution, posing risks to public health and the environment.

“Tesla’s ongoing violations at their Fremont facility pose a risk to public health and air quality in the surrounding community," said Dr. Philip Fine, executive officer of the BAAQMD. "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.”

Some of the violations stem from breakdowns in the factory's thermal oxidizer or other components of the abatement system, leading to periods where emissions are vented directly into the atmosphere without proper treatment. Additionally, Tesla has manually shut down the abatement system during equipment issues in the paint shop, exacerbating the problem.

To address these issues, the BAAQMD has outlined a two-step process for Tesla. First, the company must hire a third-party consultant to evaluate the situation and provide recommendations. Tesla must then develop and submit an implementation plan based on these recommendations to the hearing board for approval. Second, Tesla must execute the approved plan to prevent the avoidable release of uncontrolled emissions, except in cases where it is necessary for safety reasons.

This is not the first instance of air quality concerns at Tesla's Fremont Factory. In May 2021, Tesla agreed to pay a $1 million fine and install a solar roof project on top of the production plant as part of a settlement with the BAAQMD after 33 violations were identified.

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