Tier 0 Engines in California Must Be Completely Retired

It’s not new news, but it is important. As outlined in the California Air Resources Board Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM), portable tier 0 diesel engines rated at 50 bhp or greater were to be completely removed from service as of January 1st 2017. We’ve all known this was coming as it’s already been over 7 years (time flies) since the same category of engine was relegated to only low-use, emergency application.

Why do we have to retire our tier 0 engines?

In order to reduce particulate matter in the atmosphere, diesel engines have had to meet more and more stringent emission standards over time. Tier 1 standards were phased in between 1996 and 2000, tier 2 between 2001 and 2006, tier 3 between 2006 and 2008, and finally tier 4 between 2008 and 2015. The “backside” of these requirements is that older, more polluting, engines need to be retired in order to ensure that new engines are actually put into service and the environmental benefits realized.

What kinds of equipment are subject to mandatory retirement?

This ATCM applies to all portable diesel engines rated at 50 bhp and greater. Therefore, the regulation encompasses vehicles, farm equipment, and other non-stationary equipment such as portable generators.

What to do now?

It is critical that your organization immediately take any portable equipment with tier 0 engines out of service. If you fail to do so you will be in violation and risk citation and fines. As you consider adding equipment to your fleet, keep in mind that it will be time to retire tier 1 engines soon (see below) so you’ll want to start budgeting for that too. If you need help properly disposing of your tier 0 generator, let us know. We can help connect you with appropriate resources.

What’s coming next?

There is no rest for the weary. Over time regulators will require that other older engines be removed from service completely. We expect this to be the case for low-use, emergency-only tier 1 engines in 2019 or 2020.

Maneuvering through the maze of regulations can be challenging. While the rule discussed here is statewide, other rules are established at county and other municipal levels. Our California-based generator compliance team is here to guide you through it. Give us a call at (925) 229-2700 or (916) 564-2622. We’re happy to help.

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