Trash Hauling Company Sued for Failing Clean Air Test

Not For Immediate Release
September 11th, 2001

Contact: DDA Andrea L. Burke (714) 347-8739

Trash Hauling Company Sued for Failing Clean Air Test

SANTA ANA — The Orange County District Attorney’s Office settled a consumer protection lawsuit against a trash hauling company that violated clean air standards by either not testing its vehicles or operating trucks that failed a test.

Waste Management Collection & Recycling, Inc., 1800 S. Grand Ave., Santa Ana, has agreed to pay $75,000 in penalties and investigative costs for failing to comply with the requirements of the Air Resources Board’s Periodic Smoke Inspection Program.

The inspection program requires fleets of two or more heavy-duty diesel-powered vehicles to self-test its engines for smoke opacity levels.  Where an opacity test shows an engine exceeding the applicable ARB smoke opacity standard, the fleet is required to make repairs on the failed engine.  A post-repair test is required to ensure that it meets the applicable standard.  Opacity tests record the amount of smoke emitted from the vehicle.  The monitoring of excessive smoke from diesel vehicles is an important part of the state’s effort to curb pollution.

The ARB, after conducting an audit and inspection of the facility, found 43 vehicles eligible for the inspection program had not been tested.  Of those tested, the opacity meter used malfunctioned on several occasions and gave false results.  During an ARB inspection of vehicles, six were found to be in violation.

Superior Court Judge John C. Wooley approved the terms of the settlement. Investigation of the matter was conducted by the District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit and California Environmental Protection Agency, Air Resources Board.

Without admitting wrongdoing, the defendants have agreed to the terms of a permanent injunction and final judgment designed to insure compliance with various provisions of the Health and Safety Code and the California Code of Regulations pertaining to opacity testing responsibilities.