|CARB’s Portable Diesel Powered Engine Rules|
|Thursday, 22 December 2011 14:18|
Affects Concrete Pumpers and Others
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has three main regulatory classifications for their diesel powered engine rules: Off-Road, On-road Truck & Bus and Portable Equipment. We will try to explain the basic portable equipment rules or (PERP) in this article, a CARB rule that dates back to early 1997. The Board originally approved the statewide PERP regulation on March 27, 1997, and subsequently amended it on December 10, 1998, February 26, 2004, June 22, 2006, March 22, 2007, and December 11, 2008. For the detailed history of the program go to the CIAQC’s website or this link: www.ciaqc.com/assets/perp_changes/perpisor.pdf
On CARB’s website, it says, “Owners or operators of portable diesel engines and certain other types of equipment can register their units under (CARB’s) Statewide Portable Equipment Registration Program (PERP) in order to operate their equipment throughout California without having to obtain individual permits from local air districts.”
The rules were formulated by CARB and 35 separate air districts plus CARB are tasked with the enforcement. The air district boundaries are not the same as county lines and often cross one or more county. Air districts may interpret the rules and regulations differently than CARB. In the case of a dispute the local air district will generally prevail. All portable equipment must be registered either with CARB or the local air district.
Portable equipment is defined as equipment not self-propelled and not operated on the highway with a diesel engine in excess of 49 bhp. It could have tires or skids and for our discussion is diesel powered. Air compressors, generator sets, concrete pumps, trash pumps light towers and welders are all examples of portable equipment. If it cannot move by itself and has a diesel engine it is most likely portable. If it’s 50 bhp and greater and not bolted down, it’s portable. You “had” to have it registered with CARB or the local air district at least a year ago, no matter how old it is or you are.
So, how many have done this so far?
Specific to Pumpers
The engine on a concrete pump has a serial number tag attached. On that tag or stamping is a serial number and a second number with letters and numbers called a family name. The year of the engine, not the pump unit itself is important as well. You need the year of the engine, serial number, family name and brand of engine to get registered. The horse-power and brief description of the engine, number of cylinders and fuel type usually diesel is also helpful.
The family name information contains the tier type that taccording to which that the engine was built to. That means the emissions standards for the engine may be acceptable beyond any single year. The tier designation and thus, the emissions, determines the acceptability of your engine, this is what this is all about. There is no way to upgrade your tier number or bolt-on device to upgrade your emissions. No approved particulate filter is available to reduce the emissions. The only way to reach acceptable levels is replacement of the engine to the current tier level, level 3 or interim 4. This is very important information for you to know right now, and have it written down!
CARB has a registration program for portable equipment that allows you to operate statewide with one registration provided directly from CARB. The program is the foundation of the PERP. You can only participate in PERP if you operate current tier engines “3” or “Interim 4” or greater or if you have been registered in PERP. This allowance is based on the current emission rules, which is the reason for the tier 3 or 4 interim restrictions.
If your engine is tier “0” or tier “1”, the chances are slim that your district will accept a new registration, you may be able to continue operating if you have a current registration with the district. A tier “2” engine should have a better chance of acceptance by the local district for a new registrant. If you are already registered make sure you keep your registration current.
Those are the basic rules for portable equipment regardless of type of work it does. If the piece produces particulate matter it may require additional permits and there are rules for how long it stays at one location even though it is “portable”. There are of course a number of reporting documents and fees and annual reports required by the district or the CARB. Each engine must be registered with all specific information included.
If you do not or cannot comply with these rules with the engine you have, there’s basically little or no options available to you. Your concrete pump or other piece of equipment may not have the enclosure space to accommodate a new liquid-cooled engine and there is no practicable or even conceivable way to make one fit. It is also quite possible that investing $15,000 to $18,000 in an engine for a trailer pump that has a retail value of $15,000 to $22,000 does not make sense. It makes no sense to you and chances are it makes less sense to your banker.
I have received reports that a large air district in Southern California has started warning and even citing pumpers about their non-compliant engines. I have been told that the fines can be as high as $10,000 per violation! If one district is aware of these pumps it won’t be long that all of them become informed and the local districts get to keep the majority of the collected money. Remember these rules are in effect NOW!
This is not going away
Regardless of the long history of this rule and host of others like it, many in the industry are shocked to find out about it – the typical indictment of CARB’s pathetic outreach programs. Make no mistake that this is a real issue and requires line pump owners to communicate with each other and act as one unified group to address this regulatory problem. If you ignore it all, you will be knocked off one at a time. My concrete pumpers group may be able to assist in the battle.
There is no sure thing, but if you have an interest in keeping your business, why not join the California Concrete Pumpers Alliance, a equipment/transportation conference within the new California Construction Trucking Association? Or of course, you can “retire” from reality and hope for the best.
As Ayn Rand noted in her writings, “You can avoid reality but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.”