The California Air Resources Board (ARB) fined the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works $256,375 for failure to comply with the state’s air quality regulations.
During a routine investigation, ARB’s Enforcement Division documented that LADPW failed to properly self-inspect its diesel trucks to ensure they met state smoke emission standards; properly affix Emission Control Labels on the engines of their fleet vehicles; and follow requirements of the Transit Fleet Vehicle and Public Agency and Utility Rules.
“We hold public agencies accountable for their mistakes the same as we do private businesses,” said ARB Enforcement Chief Jim Ryden. “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.”
LADPW provides regional bus service for Los Angeles County residents and also operates a public works fleet to maintain roads and county infrastructure. Following ARB’s investigation, LADPW realized that the transit and public works fleet required more hands-on management, and its staff have since worked with ARB to ensure that both fleets are in compliance.
As outlined in the settlement agreement, the LADPW paid $192,281 to the California Air Pollution Control Fund, which provides funding for projects and research to improve California's air quality, and $64,094 to the Peralta Colleges Foundation to fund diesel education classes conducted by Los Angeles Trade Tech College.
As part of the settlement, LADPW must also comply with the following: Ensure that staff responsible for compliance with diesel truck maintenance attend CCDET diesel education courses; instruct vehicle operators to comply with California idling regulations; ensure that trucks have the most recent low-NOx software installed; provide documentation to ARB that smoke opacity inspections are being conducted for the next three years; and ensure that all 1974 and newer diesel-powered vehicles are up to federal emissions standards for the vehicle model year and are properly labeled with an Emission Control Label.
"Following the audit, the Department moved quickly to rectify the inconsistencies with improved staff training in diesel emission testing and emission control labels, and the purchase of new testing equipment," said in a statement from LAPDW.