CARB fines county, beverage distributor for emissions violations

By Charlie Morasch, Land Line contributing writer | 9/2/2014

Just as private trucking companies have found, the California Air Resources Board isn’t afraid to levy fines of several hundred thousand dollars over emission rule violations.

The air quality agency proved this week that government bodies with diesel trucks aren’t above the rules either.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works has been fined $256,375 for violating three different emissions rules.

According to a CARB news release, the county public works department failed to properly self-inspect its diesel trucks to meet state smoke emission standards; didn’t properly affix Emission Control Labels onto the engines of its fleet trucks; and also failed to follow requirements of the state’s Transit Fleet Vehicle and Public Agency and Utility Rules.

The fine was announced as a warning shot to other government truck owners.

“This significant fine reflects the serious nature of LADPW’s violations,” CARB Enforcement Chief Jim Ryden said, according to the release. “We hold public agencies accountable for their mistakes the same as we do private businesses. We hope that this fine sends a message to public and private fleet managers that they must follow the law and maintain their vehicles and records properly.”

CARB said the county department provides regional bus service for residents in Los Angeles County in addition to public works vehicles that maintain roads and county infrastructure. In addition to the fine, Los Angeles County agreed to send staff responsible for compliance to diesel education courses; instruct its vehicle operators to comply with California idling regulations; ensure trucks have the most recent low-NOx software installed; and provide documentation to CARB that smoke opacity inspections are being conducted during the next three years.

In addition to Los Angeles County, CARB announced last week it had fined Tennessee-based DBI Beverage Inc. $116,400. In a news release, CARB said a routine investigation by its enforcement division showed the company failed to properly self-inspect its diesel trucks in 2011 and 2012. California’s Smoke Inspection Program requires self-inspection to ensure that fleets meet state smoke emission standards.

DBI Beverage also failed to properly affix Emission Control Labels on the engines of its trucks. The company also did not report all vehicle information to CARB’s database as required by California’s Statewide Truck and Bus Regulation. DBI Beverage operates 185 big rigs and is the corporate parent of companies that operate eight distributorships in California.

Enforcement Chief Ryden said the company had been cooperative after it was notified of CARB’s findings.

“While DBI Beverage Inc. did violate California’s air quality regulations, the company does not have a history of past violations,” Ryden said in the news release. “It benefits all of us who live and work in California when air pollution rules are observed and enforced.”

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