If Bradenton residents have noticed garbage pickups have been running later than usual, it's not for a lack of trying.
The city's solid waste department has been inundated with mechanical issues relating to the 2010 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's tightening of regulations for emission controls on diesel engines. Manufacturers were left to their own accord to come up with a solution and the Diesel Exhaust Fluid system was created. The DEF sends pollutants into the liquid rather than straight out of the exhaust. But like a lot of new technology, "What works good in the lab doesn't always work good in the field," said Claude Tankersley, public works director. "With new technology, it's not going to be perfect and it has been causing our trucks to break down more frequently."
The DEF system is designed to shut down operation of the vehicle if pollutants exceed federal regulations. In September, the German auto maker Volkswagen was caught by the EPA cheating after it implemented software that overrode the shut down system. The city doesn't use Volkswagen, but the DEF system is the same. The transition has affected diesel equipment manufactured since 2011. Prior to the Volkswagen scandal, solid waste was already battling the technology deficiencies.