Release 07-55
November 20, 2007

    Gennet Paauwe

ARB Settles with Waste Management for over $1 million

Trash hauler failed to inspect diesel trucks for excess smoke

SACRAMENTO - Waste Management recently settled with the California Air Resources Board for more than $1 million for failing to properly inspect its diesel truck fleet to assure state emission standards were met.

Waste Management, the nation's largest trash hauler, settled for air quality violations that occurred in 2004 and 2005 throughout the state.

"Trash pick-up is a critical service, but emissions spewed from uninspected trucks are not something Californians should pay for with their health," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "Our enforcement teams will continue to ensure clean air laws are taken seriously."

California's Periodic Smoke Inspection Program, which requires annual smoke opacity tests of California-based fleets, in conjunction with a roadside smoke inspection program, is used to ensure that all of California's heavy-duty vehicles are properly maintained, tamper-free and free from excessive smoke emissions.

In addition to the settlement monies, Waste Management has agreed to comply with the smoke inspection program and will require all fleet staff responsible for compliance with the ARB's regulations to attend classes conducted by the California Council on Diesel Education and Technology. Waste Management must also supply to ARB all smoke inspection records for the 2007 and subsequent four years.

All monies are being paid to the California Air Pollution Control Fund, which was established to mitigate various sources of pollution through education and the advancement and use of cleaner technology. This fund, upon appropriation by the Legislature, uses compliance settlement fees to support various pollution-related research projects and related programs.

The state has more than 12,000 diesel-fueled commercial and residential solid waste and recycling collection vehicles. Waste collection is a weekly event in most areas, and in some cases, neighborhoods are served by three collection vehicles each week. Unchecked, emissions from these trucks contribute to toxic diesel particulate matter levels that are a danger to public health. Diesel emissions contribute to poor air quality throughout the state.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.