An Ogden truck-parts supplier has reached a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over sales of a device to allow exhaust to bypass pollution controls.
Edge Products LLC will pay a $500,000 civil penalty and will buy back the electronic devices that allow diesel pickup owners to remove emission controls from their vehicles.
The EPA said in a news release that diesel trucks use the device to boost performance by reconfiguring their computers. As a result, the trucks spew excess particulate matter (PM) as a trail of dark, black smoke.
"Our goal is to have these illegal devices removed and proper emission controls installed," said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's regional administrator for the Pacific southwest. "Allowing black smoke to billow conspicuously from the tailpipes of diesel pickup trucks is a practice that directly harms public health."
In a statement, Edge Products said the devices were sold explicitly for racing and legal closed-course diesel motorsports competitions.
"Unfortunately, some of these products were used in ways not in compliance with their intended use. In spite of its best efforts, the company concluded that its policies were not adequate to assure abuse is prevented," the statement said.
Edge said it cooperated with the EPA and voluntarily decided to discontinue its line of Edge Racing products.
The EPA release said Edge sold more than 9,000 of the electronic devices nationwide, including at least three on the Wasatch Front.
Those devices were responsible for around 158 tons of excess pollution being released into the atmosphere. The excess emissions were roughly equal to the emissions from 422 new long-haul semi trucks operating for 29 years, EPA said.
Particulate matter pollution is responsible for the smog currently building in northern Utah valleys. State regulators have been working for years to develop plans to cut PM 2.5 pollution, and they face a mid-2013 deadline to submit a comprehensive, PM 2.5-reduction plan to the EPA.
In addition to the fine and the buyback, Edge has agreed to spend $157,600 on an offset program in which it will offer rebates to those with old wood-burning stoves they'd like to replace with cleaner-burning appliances such as new pellet stoves or EPA-certified wood stoves.