South Coast AQMD issues violation to Delta Airlines for jet fuel release that impacted Los Angeles area schools, public

DIAMOND BAR—The South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD) today issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to Delta Airlines following a jet fuel dump on January 14, 2020 that impacted students, teachers and other members of the public in Los Angeles County.

The NOV alleges that Delta Airlines caused a public nuisance in violation of the agency’s Rule 402 and California Health and Safety Code Section 41700. South Coast AQMD’s investigation was prompted by community complaints which resulted in inspectors being dispatched to several locations. Complaints regarding the exposure to the jet fuel were reported at multiple schools within the Los Angeles Unified School District, the Cudahy Public Library, and two schools within the El Rancho Unified School District. 

Delta Airlines Flight 89 was headed to Shanghai, China from LAX when an in-flight emergency was declared, causing the plane to return to the airport. As part of its emergency landing, 15,000 gallons of jet fuel in the form of mist was released into the atmosphere impacting multiple areas of Los Angeles.

Once issued, NOVs can result in civil penalties. In some cases, the company can choose to implement voluntary measures to reduce emissions or otherwise prevent further violations. If no settlement is reached, a civil lawsuit may ultimately be filed in superior court.

South Coast AQMD has coordinated with, among others, the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the El Rancho Unified School District.

South Coast AQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, including the Coachella Valley. For news, air quality alerts, event updates and more, please visit us at, download our award-winning app, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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