Release 08-50
May 29, 2008

    Dimitri Stanich
(916) 322-2825

ARB cites Apria Health Care $14,000 for air quality violations
Settlement used to mitigate pollution, encourage clean technology and provide education

SACRAMENTO - The Air Resources Board fined Apria Health Care headquartered in Lake Forest, Ca, $14,000 for violations of California's clean air laws requiring diesel fleet owners to maintain the exhaust systems of their truck engines.

An ARB investigation revealed that Apria Health Care failed to properly inspect and document their diesel trucks as required by law. Violations occurred between 2006-2007 when the company did not follow the Heavy Duty Vehicle Inspection Program. This program along with the Periodic Smoke Inspection Program allows ARB to inspect vehicles for excessive smoke emissions and engine tampering.

"As a health care business, Apria should be especially sensitive to the impacts of its trucks on public health. CARB will continue to hold all fleet owners accountable for inspecting and maintaining their vehicles" said ARB Chairman Mary Nichols.

Apria's violations occurred in facilities located in Concord, Modesto, San Leandro, South San Francisco, Stockton, El Segundo, Lancaster, Oxnard, Santa Fe Springs, Tustin, and Van Nuys.

The California Air Pollution Control Fund, established to mitigate sources of pollution through education advancement and use of cleaner technology, will receive $10,500 from the settlement. The remaining $3,500 will go to the Peralta Community College District which maintains a diesel technology education training and program for diesel operating staff.

In addition to the fine, Apria has agreed to ensure that all staff responsible for the compliance with state regulations attend the California Council on Diesel Education and Technology class and provide proof of completion within one year. Apria must provide copies of all compliance records for 2008 and the subsequent four years, and maintain proof that each vehicle in its fleet meets emissions standards at least as stringent as the U.S. federal standards. Finally, the company's vehicle operators will be instructed to comply with state idling regulations.

Diesel exhaust contains a variety of harmful gases and over 40 known cancer-causing substances. In 1998, California identified diesel exhaust as a toxic air contaminant based on its potential to cause cancer, premature death and other health problems. People exposed to higher levels of emissions from diesel-fueled engines are at increased risk for cancer.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.