For the first time on record, the San Joaquin Valley had no August violations of the one-hour federal ozone standard.
Air officials said a new blitz of alerts about bad-air days might have been the difference, especially last week when pollution nearly eclipsed the federal standard.
If the Valley continues to avoid the violations over the next three years, the federal government will revoke a $29 million penalty for ozone levied on the region.
September could be just as close, officials said, though pollution should not be a problem this weekend. Last September, there were five violations of the one-hour standard.
Critics say the district dodged the bullet last month because an ozone monitor was closed down and moved in the Kern County community of Arvin. The monitor had recorded the nation’s highest number of ozone violations over the past decade.