The California Air Resources Board recently fined a Central Valley environmental services company $14,250 for diesel smoke emissions violations.

MP Environmental Inc., headquartered in Bakersfield, Calif., was cited for failure to maintain diesel emissions records for the period of 2005 and 2006, as required by law.

ARB requires on-road, heavy-duty diesel vehicle owners to conduct annual smoke inspections and repair vehicles with excessive smoke emissions. ARB's enforcement team randomly audits fleets, maintenance and inspection records, and tests a representative sample of vehicles. Vehicles failing the emissions test must be repaired and retested. A fleet owner that neglects to perform the annual smoke inspection is subject to fines.

As part of the settlement, MP Environmental Inc. must comply with the following: 

  • Guarantee that employees responsible for conducting the inspections attend a mandatory California community college training class on diesel emissions and provide certificates of completion within one year
  • Ensure that heavy-duty diesel equipment has the most recent low-NOx software installed
  • Provide documentation to ARB that the inspections are being carried out between 2007-2010 
  • Ensure that all diesel trucks are up to federal emissions standards for the vehicle model year and are properly labeled with the manufacturer's factory engine certification label 
  • Instruct all employees on ARB's truck idling regulations.  

The company will pay $14,250 in penalties: $1,781 will go to the California Air Pollution Control Fund, which provides funding for projects and research to improve California's air quality; $1,781 will go to Peralta Community College District to fund emission education classes conducted by participating California community colleges under the California Council for Diesel Education and Technology; and, the remaining $10,687 will go to the California Pollution Control Financing Authority to fund low-interest loans for owners of off-road, diesel-powered construction vehicles.

More than a decade ago, the ARB listed diesel particulate matter as a toxic air contaminant in order to protect public health. Exposure to unsafe levels of diesel emissions can increase the risk of asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases. California has aggressively worked to cut diesel emissions by cleaning up diesel fuel, requiring cleaner engines for trucks, buses and off-road equipment, and limiting unnecessary idling.