Community Toolkit

City of Manteca Toolkit

Created by: Gabby Farrer, Sophie Corbett, Emily Smith, Sophia Rooney

Acknowledgement: Jonathan Pruitt, Environmental Justice program coordinator

This innovative and helpful toolkit was created by four extremely talented students from Santa Clara University, under the guidance of Jonathan Pruitt, who wanted to create something that even common residents can utilize effectively who have a desire to make a difference in the community.

What is this toolkit?
This toolkit is designed to be used by residents so that they can familiarize themselves with data that has been collected regarding air pollution and quality in Manteca. The data and information can be used for public comments to city council, letters to the editor, community education and more.

Why was this toolkit created?
Many residents have expressed the need to consolidate data and sources in regards to Manteca air quality and pollution. This toolkit can be used to give a basic overview of sources so that the sources and data can be used to advocate for air quality improvement in Manteca.

What is in this toolkit?
This toolkit contains data about air quality including PM 2.5, Diesel PM, and Ozone levels in Manteca, as well as the health impacts of these pollutants. It also contains advocacy information so that the data can be used to advocate for air quality protection and improvement in Manteca.

Resource List:

These external resources can be used to learn more about air pollution and advocacy.

CalEnviroScreen

CalEnviroScreen Contains data by census tract for several environmental justice concerns including ozone, PM 2.5, Diesel Particulate Matter, Asthma, and more.

California Healthy Places Index

California Healthy Places Index Contains ratings and percentiles by census tract for several parameters including clean environment, housing, education and more. Within the clean environment section there is data regarding ozone, PM 2.5, Diesel PM, and drinking water contaminants.

California Air Resources Board

California Air Resources Board Contains information about air quality resources and progress across the state. The topics they cover include health, transportation, and environmental justice.

EPA Environmental Justice Program

EPA Environmental Justice Program Contains resources and information about environmental justice and how you can advocate for your community. Also contains information about grants and technical help provided by the EPA for environmental justice concerns.

Environmental Justice - Resources for environmental justice.

Environmental injustice is a problem that is present throughout California and the San Joaquin Valley. History of redlining policies in combination with increased air pollution, and limited space for construction has led to disproportionate amounts of air pollution in close proximity to BIPOC communities and neighborhoods. Every single polluant studied in this paper showed higher rates in the city of Manteca compared to the state of California. This proved true for PM 2.5, diesel PM, ozone, and water contamination. Manteca is experiencing disproportionately high impacts of pollution and resulting health impacts, and these issues will continue to worsen as industrial pollution and warehousing become more prevalent.

Resources for environmental justice:

  1. EPA.gov provides information about what environmental justice is and what it means to advocate for environmental justice in our communities. 
  2. Central California Environmental Justice Network is an organization that focuses on environmental justice advocacy in the central valley specifically. 
  3. CEQA Guidelines can provide detailed information about your rights and the responsibilities of polluting agencies. 

California Environmental Justice Alliance is a statewide community-led alliance that works to achieve environmental justice by advancing policy solutions.

Air Pollution - Data about common air pollutants in Manteca and what causes overexposure to these pollutants.

*Note: There is an overall lack of data about air quality in Manteca. The following numbers are estimates based on available data, but air quality monitoring should be increased as a part of addressing air quality concerns. There is currently only one air quality monitor in Manteca, which does not provide enough data on air quality in Manteca*

Particulate Matter (PM 2.5)

Sources

  • Agricultural fields and construction sites 
  • Fires (wildfires and indoor fires)
  • Cars, trucks, and other vehicles

Health Impacts

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Respiratory problems 
  • Aggravated asthma
  • Can even cause premature death

Where to learn more

Map of PM 2.5 in Manteca

Figure 1. This map shows the concentration in (ug/m3) of PM 2.5 by census tract in Manteca. The city center generally has higher concentrations of PM 2.5.

  • Manteca has higher levels of PM 2.5 concentrations than 55% of census tracts in the state.
  • Asthma rates in Manteca census tracts are higher than 70-100% of census tracts in the state.

Diesel PM 

Sources

  • Exhaust from transportation (trucks, buses, trains, cars)
  • Diesel engines 

Health Impacts

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Respiratory problems 
  • Aggravated asthma
  • Can even cause premature death
  • Can cause the development of new allergies

Where to learn more

Map of Diesel PM in Manteca

Figure 2. This map shows the rates of diesel PM emissions (in tons/year) in Manteca. The center of the city generally has higher levels of diesel PM. 

  •  Manteca has higher levels of Diesel PM concentrations than 81% of census tracts in the state.
  • Increasing industry and transportation in the area will increase Diesel PM pollution in the future.

Ozone 

Sources

  • Cars, trucks and other vehicles
  • Power plants
  • Refineries

Health Impacts

  • Coughing and scratchy throat
  •  Inflamed airways
  •  Aggravates and increases asthma attacks
  •  Can make the lungs more susceptible to infection

Where to learn more

Figure 3. This figure shows the ozone percentile by census tract in Manteca. Several census tracts are above the 50th percentile.

  • Manteca has higher levels of ground level ozone pollution than 44% of census tracts in the state.

More About Air Pollution

Manteca experiences higher levels of exposure to air pollution than communities throughout the state. PM 2.5, diesel PM, and ozone are all common air pollutants that are present throughout Manteca in relatively high concentrations. The primary sources of these types of pollutants are vehicles including trucks, cars, and trains, as well as industrial pollution from refineries and factories. Oftentimes, these sources of pollution go hand in hand. For example, if a factory and warehouse moves into the area, that is a huge source of air pollution, but it is also likely to increase truck traffic in the area which increases air pollution even further. According to the CalEnviroScreen, Manteca is in the 80th percentile for diesel particulate matter pollution, the 55th percentile for PM 2.5, and 44th for ozone. In terms of both PM 2.5 pollution, Manteca is experiencing higher levels of those types of pollution compared to more than half of all census tracts in the state. In terms of diesel PM, Manteca is experiencing higher levels of pollution compared to 81 percent of census tracts in the state. PM 2.5, diesel PM, and ozone are all harmful to resident health which is why it is important to reduce sources of air pollution. If you feel that air pollution is negatively impacting your life or that pollution levels are high in your neighborhood, it is important to voice your concerns to local officials and residents.

Noise Pollution - Information on Crothall laundry and truck noise.

Noise pollution is defined as noise levels that are excessively high and can be harmful. In Manteca and across the state, there is a lack of data about noise pollution and its health impacts. It can be difficult to pinpoint noise sources and levels. However, if you feel that the noise levels you are experiencing on a regular basis are excessive or harmful, they are. It is important to reach out to key people to voice your concerns about noise pollution.

Sources

  • Road traffic and trucks
  • Construction
  • Factories
  • Jet planes

Health Impacts

  • Tinnitus
  • Lack of sleep
  • High blood pressure

Where to learn more

More About Noise Pollution

Fellow residents have expressed concerns about Noise pollution in Manteca due to the high amount of traffic through the area as well as Crothall Healthcare Laundry, a commercial laundry facility operating on Airport Way near the Del Webb Senior Community. Due to the high amount of warehousing and industry, semi truck traffic through the area along I-5, 280, SR 178, SR 4, SR 120, and more locally along Airport Way, the noise is frequent and comes from many directions. 

Standard commercial semi trucks with diesel engines emit an average of 100 decibels (dB) in addition to other noises from truck operation; for context, this is as loud as the average jackhammer. 100 dB is considered to be “very loud and dangerous to human hearing” (Savchuk, 2021). Starting at 5:00am until 7:00am the amount of truck traffic on the road increases from the traffic levels during the night. This unfortunately is a time of the morning when most people would like to remain asleep, and the usual hours that most people are sleeping more lightly (“Effects of Heavy Truck Volumes on Noise”, 2021). Unfortunately though, “state noise specialists have little information about some of the effects of heavy truck volumes that are often mentioned by residents in public hearings and workshops. Additional information about these effects could provide state officials with justification for the use of measures to better address public concerns about noise…” (“Effects of Heavy Truck Volumes on Noise”, 2021). When considering the amount of truck traffic and also residential traffic through the area, this becomes a very concerning issue in regard to human health and happiness and community relationships.

Crothall Healthcare Laundry is another noise-polluting facility that many residents brought up as an issue of concern during our focus groups and interviews. Data online does not exist on exactly how many dB the facility is emitting, but one resident reported that it emits 5 dB all day every day, and when trucks pass by it increases the noise significantly (Manteca Citizen (2/18), 2022). Crothall Healthcare Laundry was cited by multiple residents as an issue of concern that has been attributed to their lack of sleep and in some cases the development of tinnitus, which comes as the result of sustained levels of loud noise and causes a permanent ringing in one or both ears. The constant noise makes it difficult for the residents of Manteca to enjoy life and to sleep peacefully. If you feel that you are being affected by noise pollution, reach out to the city to voice your concerns.

Traffic Pollution/Data - Data on diesel PM, PM 2.5, and ozone pollution. Maps and graphics of diesel PM and PM 2.5.

The highlighted area (surrounding Del Webb retirement community) is an area of particular concern. Warehousing is expected to increase in the coming years which will increase truck traffic and noise pollution. Residents have stated that Airport Way is being used for truck transportation which violates local ordinances about truck traffic. The main concerns associated with increasing truck traffic are noise pollution and increased air pollution.

More About Traffic Impacts

Traffic from trucks and cars is an area of concern in Manteca because it contributes to noise and air pollution. Industrial development can lead to worsening air quality because of increases in emissions due to development, distribution and production. Industrial pollution is a large contributor to PM 2.5 and Diesel PM pollution. Factories in Manteca are polluting the air, and the increase in warehousing and resulting truck traffic has led to increased pollution and truck traffic. Industrial sources of pollution are set to increase as the city has continued to approve new developments near residential areas. Several fellow residents expressed concern about warehousing and air pollution from industrial sources.

The city of Manteca plans to expand development in many sectors which will lead to increased air and noise pollution as a result of increasing transportation. Big private employers such as Wells Fargo, Amazon, Walmart, Target, and many more all have warehouses in Manteca. These warehouses use large numbers of trucks to move products to and from the warehouses which contributes to pollution. As warehousing increases in the area, the resulting pollution will also become worse. Additionally, increasing factories in Manteca is the increased amount of Diesel PM, and PM 2.5 that will grow exponentially with the trucks that transport goods to and from these warehouses. The EPA notes that “the transportation sector generates the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation primarily come from burning fossil fuel for cars, trucks, ships, trains, and planes.” As warehousing increases and these impacts get worse, it is important to express your concerns about increasing traffic and pollution in the area.

Map of Traffic in Manteca

Figure 3. This map shows the amount of traffic in vehicle kilometers per hour per kilometer of roadway. 

Figure 1. Comparison of health impacts and sources of PM 2.5 and diesel particulate matter.

Health Impacts - Consolidated data on health impacts (particularly asthma and cardiovascular diseases). Map of asthma and train lines.

Air and noise pollution, as well as drinking water pollution can all cause adverse health effects. If you feel that you are experiencing negative health effects from a pollutant, voice your concerns.

Pollutant Type: Particulate Matter (PM 2.5)

Health Impacts

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Respiratory problems 
  • Aggravated asthma
  • Can even cause premature death

 Where to Learn More

More About Health Impacts

According to CalEnviroScreen data, Manteca falls within the 70-100th percentile for asthma rates. Particulate matter from diesel, PM 2.5, and ozone can be potential causes for these symptoms. A lot of areas in Manteca are in the 80-100th percentile for low birth weight (CalEnviroScreen, 2022). Low birth weight, increased miscarriages, and birth defects can be attributed to various kinds of drinking water pollution (Oehha, 2022). Drinking water pollution is more common in communities with residents in low socio-economic statuses (Oehha, 2022). Low birth rate is disproportionately high for the amount of births occurring in the area. High rates of exposure to diesel particulate matter and PM 2.5 can cause problems with cardiovascular disease. Manteca is in the 90th percentile in the state for hospitalizations due to heart attacks (CalEnviroScreen, 2022). Manteca is experiencing disproportionately high rates of health problems associated with air pollution.

Pollutant Type: Diesel PM

Health Impacts

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Respiratory problems 
  • Aggravated asthma
  • Can even cause premature death
  • Can cause the development of new allergies

Where to learn more

Pollutant Type: Ozone

Health Impacts

  • Coughing and scratchy throat
  •  Inflamed airways
  •  Aggravates and increases asthma attacks
  •  Can make the lungs more susceptible to infection

Where to learn more

Pollutant Type: Drinking Water Pollution

Health Impacts

  • Low birth weight
  • Miscarraige
  • Birth defects
  • Chronic disease such as cancer
  • Gastrointestinal problems

Where to learn more

Pollutant Type: Noise Pollution

Health Impacts

  • Tinnitus
  • Lack of sleep
  • High blood pressure

Where to learn more

Environmental Justice - Resources for environmental justice.

Environmental injustice is a problem that is present throughout California and the San Joaquin Valley. History of redlining policies in combination with increased air pollution, and limited space for construction has led to disproportionate amounts of air pollution in close proximity to BIPOC communities and neighborhoods. Every single polluant studied in this paper showed higher rates in the city of Manteca compared to the state of California. This proved true for PM 2.5, diesel PM, ozone, and water contamination. Manteca is experiencing disproportionately high impacts of pollution and resulting health impacts, and these issues will continue to worsen as industrial pollution and warehousing become more prevalent.

Resources for environmental justice:

  1. EPA.gov provides information about what environmental justice is and what it means to advocate for environmental justice in our communities. 
  2. Central California Environmental Justice Network is an organization that focuses on environmental justice advocacy in the central valley specifically. 
  3. CEQA Guidelines can provide detailed information about your rights and the responsibilities of polluting agencies. 

California Environmental Justice Alliance is a statewide community-led alliance that works to achieve environmental justice by advancing policy solutions.

CEQA - CEQA timelines and processes, and how they can be used for advocacy.

CEQA is the California Environmental Quality Act which was created in 1970 during a wave of environmental legislation; its purpose is to help mitigate, minimize, and prevent environmental harm and degradation. The CEQA process is an important part of state, local, and private development projects that require agency approval. CEQA works through state and local government agencies by requiring them to study the potential environmental impacts of various development projects proposed and to reduce these impacts to an attainable level. Community involvement in the CEQA process can fundamentally change the outcome of various development plans. The key components of public participation in CEQA include scoping meetings, public notice, public review, hearings, and the judicial process.

If a proposed development project, private or public, is expected to likely have negative environmental impacts then the Lead Agency in the CEQA process is required to prepare an Environmental Impact Report. Most of the time when CEQA is enacted the Lead Agency is the county, but this is not true in all cases. Once the Environmental Impact Report is created and posted by the Lead Agency, the draft document is available for public comment for at least thirty days; this posting can be physical or digital. This is an important time for the public to be involved to state if they have concerns, what they are, and make important claims in regard to the necessity and ethics of the Environmental Impact Report and the considerations it is undertaking or potentially omitting. In some cases when other Responsible Agencies need more time to review the draft report, the public comment period is extended by the same length of time. Another way in which the public can involve themselves in the CEQA process is through litigation. In cases when the Lead Agency and/or the applicant are causing unreasonable delay in the CEQA process, there is unfortunately no way to effectively hold them to their responsibilities. This can lead to the public having to force its hand through bringing suit in the judicial process. However, as many people are familiar with, the judicial process is time consuming and expensive, which makes this a typically less attractive choice despite that it may feel necessary in many cases.

CEQA STEPS:

1. The Initial Study (IS)

a. This is a written description of the project and it includes how the project may affect the environment. The project is reviewed by the Lead Agency (usually a local agency). The agency has 30 days to decide whether or not the project description is complete or if more information is needed

i. The LA overseeing the project has 30 days (45 days for EIRs) to decide if the project should get an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND), or Negative Declaration (ND). The LA then files a Notice of Preparation (NOP) with the OPR (CEQA archivists).

ii. If it’s determined that the project will not cause environmental harm, a ND would be declared, which means that the proposed project is not expected to have negative environmental impacts and therefore does not require an EIR. 

iii. Responsible Agencies (RAs) are alerted that they have 30 days to review and comment on the NOP; a scoping meeting may happen during this time where the involved agency reps meet to discuss their questions or concerns.

2. The Environmental Impact Report (EIR)

a. If the Lead Agency determines that the project may have negative environmental impacts, an EIR will be created.

i. After this step of the process is completed, the LA files a draft EIR (or MND/ND) with OPR. In less than 3 days the county clerk (assuming the county is the LA) will post a copy of the draft EIR or MND on the county announcement board and/or post it online for the public to review; it will remain up for at least 30 days.

ii. The OPR alerts all RAs that a draft EIR or MND is available. The RA’s have 30 days to review the MNDs and 45 days for EIR drafts. The review period can be extended to 90 days with the applicant’s consent; if the review period extends, the public comment period will extend by the same amount.

iii. When the period ends, a letter is typically sent to all RAs notifying them that their comment period has closed; although this is accepted practice, it is NOT required. For a private project, an MND, the draft must be approved within 180 days (this can be extended 90 days if the LA and applicant agree. An EIN’s time limit is a full year with the same extension available.

iv. For private projects the draft must be approved within 6 months (this can be extended by 3 months if the LA and applicant agree). An EIN’s time limit is a full year.

3. Final Agency Decisions

a. The LA files a Notice of Determination within 5 days, which states that the CEQA process is concluded and if the draft is approved. This starts the 6 month-long Statute of Limitations to court challenges over the approval of the project. However, if there is unreasonable delay in the document preparation process caused by the applicant, it suspends all time limits. There are no means for dealing with agencies that disregard the time limits except bringing suit in court.  The project will not become Operational by Law if the time limits are ignored by any involved agencies. The LA could decide to:

i. Approve the project

ii. Deny the project

iii. Approve thee project with a Statement of Overriding Consideration

Advocacy Advice - Letter writing template and information on how to ask for the enforcement of laws and regulations.

It is important for community members to know the importance of enforcing existing laws and policies. Sometimes there are environmental laws put in place to protect the wellbeing of residents, but their enforcement is lacking. It is up to the community members to speak up to make sure that these laws are being observed and implemented. There can be faults within the literature of the laws, and their purpose to protect residents can be lost if the laws are followed to the word. State agencies, federal bureaus and agencies, or community boards are responsible for enforcing these laws. Residents should speak up when they notice a lack of enforcement, and it cannot be ignored, or when an appeal to violation has been ignored. To speak up against law enforcement it is important to: research similar laws/ regulations to use as evidence, know the history of the situation, and find out who to contact about enforcement. Once these steps have been completed, meet with your enforcement agency to report the violation, file a formal complaint, apply political pressure, then take legal action. Law enforcement can be maintained with the implementation of inspection/oversight rights for a community, public results of inspections, and appropriate penalties for violations. 

Advocacy is defined as any action that speaks in favor of, recommends, argues for a cause, supports or defends, or pleads on behalf of others (Advocacy Focus, 2021). Community advocacy is a proactive approach to allow citizens to participate in decisions affecting their lives. This can help create a greater community call for action, to improve conditions for everyone in the area. Community advocacy builds confidence in community members, allowing the community to deal with environmental/social impacts.

How to engage:

1. Identify the issue you would like to address. For example: a new proposed development, trucks driving through your neighborhood or too close to residential areas, contaminated water, industrial pollution from warehouses, or any other issue you would like to address with the city. 

2. Organize a group. A great way to gain momentum for your cause is by getting a group together that can help get the work done, and put more pressure on the city. Some great ways to get the word out are through personal contacts such as friends and family, social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and many others. Another great option is to create a petition using Change.org that you can share to family and friends and on social media. This way, anyone who comes across the petition can read about the issue, and sign to show their support.   

3. Use readily available resources to learn more about environmental justice and your rights. For example, you can email Alan Bacock- [email protected] who is the regional environmental justice coordinator for the EPA. Some websites with helpful information regarding environmental justice and advocacy are located below.

a. The California Air Resources Board Pollution Mapping Tool allows you to monitor pollution across the state.

b. CalEnviroScreen has information about pollution and health impacts across the state.

c. The 2017 state of California General Plan Guidelines provides information about how cities should be using their general plan. 

4. Gather data about your issue. CalEnviroScreen and California Healthy Places Index are great resources to collect data for pollution and health impacts. 

a. Include a video crosslink from the CHPI training during this section

5. Use the City of Manteca website to find the correct email for the department you are trying to contact, some examples are provided below. Use the letter template provided to send emails to the city. Send as many emails as you can in order to put more pressure on the city and to ensure that they know how concerned residents are about the issue at hand.

a. Planning Division: [email protected]

b. City Manager’s Office: [email protected]

c. Mayor and City Council: [email protected] 

6. Send your letter and encourage your friends and family to do the same.

Letter Template

Emails regarding planning can be sent to p[email protected], or you can read this script and call the planning department at 209-456-8500.

Dear The City of Manteca, 

My name is [Insert Name] and I have been a resident of Manteca for [#] years. I am writing to you to express my concern about the air quality here in Manteca. Currently, Manteca is experiencing high levels of air pollution and poor air quality as a result of truck traffic and development that the city has approved in the past. For example, our PM 2.5 concentrations are worse than 55 percent of all census tracts in the state of California. Our Diesel PM concentrations (pollution from truck traffic) are worse than 81 percent of all census tracts in the state. It is well known that PM 2.5 and diesel PM can both cause respiratory problems, aggravated asthma, and cardiovascular problems. Here in Manteca, the rate of asthma related emergency room visits is higher than 90 percent of census tracts in California. The air quality in Manteca is a serious concern, and I am deeply worried about the health effects that can occur as a result of exposure to air pollutants.

It has come to my attention that the city is currently planning to approve [Development name] for development. This development will increase truck traffic and pollution in this location and throughout the city of Manteca. This development is located near [Del Webb, schools, other points of interest], which will force people living near the development to be exposed to even higher levels of air pollution. Residents in Manteca are already exposed to high rates of air pollution, and we are experiencing health problems as a result. I am asking you to consider the health and safety of your residents by rejecting this proposal for development.

I look forward to hearing from you. 

Thank you, 

[Insert Name]

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