Landfill Equipment Manufacturers Brace for Production Changes

OFF-ROAD EQUIPMENT manufacturers, including landfill equipment companies, are concerned that engine emission regulations the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington, D.C., published in April may disrupt the off-road equipment market.

The new Tier 4 off-road diesel regulations are intended to bring off-road diesel fuel and equipment emission regulations on par with on-road emission requirements. By 2007, off-road diesel fuel must contain no more than 500 parts per million (ppm) sulfur, and by 2010, no more than 15 ppm sulfur.

The EPA also plans to phase-in regulations to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) over six years beginning in 2008.

During public testimony held in June, Darrin Drollinger, AEM vice president of technical and safety programs, asked the EPA whether creating technology to meet these regulations is feasible.

“This technology upgrade goes well beyond just the engine,” he says. “Manufactures cannot say, ‘just ship an engine that's Tier 4 compliant’ and expect it to meet the proposed rule. The rule will affect the exhaust system, require advanced electronics, not to mention impact the size and shape of the entire machine.” Drollinger adds that because the necessary technology is vaguely defined, estimating additional manufacturer and consumer costs is nearly impossible. “There is concern that with more compact machines, such as small loaders, the cost could double,” he says.

The AEM also is concerned that the staggered implementation timetable could result in “misfueling.” “Putting the higher-sulfur fuel in a machine that has been designed to handle low-sulfur fuel will damage the emission system,” Drollinger says. “The EPA must be sure the proper fuel is available at the proper time.” The AEM plans to submit detailed written comments by the EPA's Aug. 23 deadline.