The Next compliance phase of the Airborne Toxic Control Measure for In-Use Diesel-Fueled Transport Refrigeration Units (TRU) and TRU Gen Sets, and Facilities Where TRUs Operate begins next year. This subsequent step deals with operator requirements and TRU engine performance standards.

This regulation, from the California Air Resources Board (CARB), uses a phased-in approach during the next 15 years to reduce the diesel particulate matter (PM) emissions from TRUs and TRU generator set engines that operate in California.

Established in 1967, CARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through the effective and efficient reduction of air pollutants, while recognizing and considering the effects on the state's economy.

The regulation, commonly referred to as TRU ATCM (Transport Refrigeration Unit Airborne Toxic Control Measure), became effective on December 10, 2004. It has two parts: one-time facility reporting requirements for “large” facilities, and owner/operator requirements for TRUs and TRU gen sets that operate in California, regardless of whether their vehicles are registered in or outside of the state. This includes all carriers that transport perishable goods using diesel-powered refrigeration systems on trucks, trailers, shipping containers, and railcars.

The facility reporting requirements apply to “large” facilities in California — those with 20 or more loading dock doors — that serve refrigerated areas where perishable goods are loaded or unloaded for distribution on trucks, trailers, shipping containers, or railcars that are under facility control. One-time facility reports were due January 31, 2006.

The next phase-in of the TRU ATCM requires owners of TRU and TRU generator set engines that operate in California to meet in-use performance standards that vary by horsepower range. Compliance with these standards is phased in, starting December 31, 2008.

Owners of California-based TRU's are required to file applications for CARB Identification Numbers (IDN) by January 31, 2009. Non-California based TRUs may file, but are not required to obtain an IDN. Operators of California-based TRUs must also submit specifically identified reports to CARB by January 31, 2009

CARB estimates its TRU ATCM will reduce emissions from TRU and TRU gen set engines by approximately 65 percent in 2010, and by some 92 percent in 2020, resulting in significantly improved air quality and associated health benefits.

To get the specifics on the latest TRU ATCM compliance regarding in-use engine performance standards that vary by horsepower range, Refrigerated Transporter's editor-in-chief David A Kolman spoke with Rod Hill, a CARB staff air pollution specialist:

Question: There seems to be a lot of confusion about this next compliance phase. Does it institute stringent requirements in terms of TRU diesel engine emissions, limit TRU engine operation, or ban TRU engine operation entirely?

Answer: The regulation establishes in-use performance standards for TRUs that operate in California. Owners and operators of TRUs are responsible for making sure that TRUs that operate in the state meet the in-use emission standard requirements.

The regulation establishes two levels of in-use performance standards: low emission and ultra low emission. These will be phased in based upon model year of the TRU engine

In general, the TRU ATCM doesn't limit or ban engine operations. However, if the owner chooses an alternative technology compliance option, such as electric standby or hybrid cryogenic temperature control, diesel engine use at a distribution center must be eliminated as a condition of compliance.

Question: The in-use performance standards part of the rule applies to any TRU that operates in California, including those based outside of California. What about a carrier that seldom runs in California? Can it get an exemption to the in-use performance standard requirements?

Answer: No. CARB considered this during rulemaking but found that it would require an overly complicated recordkeeping and reporting program to confirm such occurrences and make the provision enforceable.

In proposing the regulation, the staff weighed the costs that the regulation could impose on owners/operators who want to continue limited operations in the state against the difficulties that exemptions would pose for effective enforcement and the consequential health risks to persons who live and work near TRU distribution facilities.

Question: What are the engine performance standards that must be met?

Answer: There are two levels of stringency for the TRU in-use performance standards: LETRU (Low-Emission TRU) and ULETRU (Ultra-Low-Emission TRU).

LETRU is less stringent and only applies to the older TRUs - model year (MY) 2002 and older. But, even these older TRUs would eventually have to meet the more stringent ULETRU if they are to continue operating in California.

Newer TRU engines - MY 2003 and subsequent - skip the LETRU in-use performance standards and must meet ULETRU standards by the end of the seventh year after their model year.

Question: How can these standards be met?

Answer: TRU engines that are in the less than 25-horsepower category can comply with LETRU standards by using an engine that has been tested and shown to emit 0.30 grams per brake horsepower-hour or less of particulate matter (PM), or by using a retrofit emission control device that has been verified by CARB as a Level 2 verified diesel emission control strategy (VDECS).

Level 2 VDECS have been reviewed by CARB and found to reduce PM by 50 percent or more.

Engines in the 25 horsepower or greater category can comply with LETRU by using an engine that has been tested and shown to emit 0.22 grams per horsepower-hour or less of PM or retrofitting with a Level 2 VDECS.

Less than 25-horsepower engines can meet ULETRU by retrofitting with a Level 3 VDECS.

Level 3 means CARB has determined that the device will reduce PM emissions by at least 85 percent.

Engines with 25-horsepower or greater can meet ULETRU standards by using an engine that has been tested and shown to emit 0.02 grams per horsepower-hour or less, or by retrofitting with a Level 3 VDECS. Table 1 displays LETRU and Table 2 displays ULETRU.

Table 1: Low-Emission TRU In-Use Performance Standards

Horsepower Engine Certification Verified Diesel Emission Control Strategy (VDECS)
Less than 25 0.30 gram per hp-hr Level 2 or better(at least 50% PM reduction)
25 or greater 0.22 gram per hp-hr Level 2 or better (at least 50% PM reduction)

Table 2: Ultra-Low Emission TRU In-Use Performance Standards

Horsepower Engine Certification Verified Diesel Emission Control Strategy (VDECS)
Less than 25 Not applicable. Use other option. Level 3(at least 85% PM reduction)
25 or greater 0.02 gram per hp-hr Level 3 (at least 85% PM reduction)

Compliance with LETRU and ULETRU also can be achieved by using an alternative technology, such as electric standby, cryogenic temperature control systems, alternative fuel, alternative diesel fuel, fuels cells, or any other technology approved by CARB's executive officer that eliminates PM emissions while the TRU is at a facility. All alternative technologies must be used in such a way as to eliminate diesel PM emissions at the facility.

Question: Is it true that compliance with the engine performance standards will be phased in, based on the TRU engine model year?

Answer: Yes. For older TRU engines, model year 2001 and older, these engines must first meet LETRU by the end of 2008. MY 2002 engines must meet LETRU by the end of 2009.

If the 2001 and older engines are being used seven years later, they must meet ULETRU by the end of 2015. MY 2002 engines would also have to meet ULETRU by the end of 2016.

Model year 2003 engines skip LETRU and must meet ULETRU by the end of 2010. My 2004 engines must meet ULETRU by the end of 2011, and this pattern continues.

Subsequent model year engines must meet ULETRU by the end of the seventh year after the engine MY. Table 3 displays the in-use performance standard compliance schedule.

Table 3: In-Use TRU and TRU Generator Set Compliance Schedule

Engine Model Year Compliance Date for LETRU Compliance Date for ULETRU
2001 or older December 31, 2008 December 31, 2015
2002 December 31, 2009 December 31, 2016
2003 Not Applicable December 31, 2010
2004 and beyond Not Applicable December 31st of the model year +7 years

Question: Is fleet averaging possible to meet compliance standards?

Answer: No. We considered this approach during rulemaking and found it too complicated and unenforceable.

Question: Are there incentives for early compliance?

Answer: Yes, but it's almost too late to take advantage of this. MY 2002 and older engines could meet the LETRU standard early, and for every year of early compliance they could delay compliance with ULETRU the same amount.

By way of illustration, if a MY 2002 engine that was supposed to meet LETRU by the end of 2009 met LETRU by the end of 2008 (one year early), the compliance date for meeting ULETRU would be delayed one year, from the end of 2016 to the end of 2017.

Question: Are there state or federal funds or grants available to help carriers comply with the Transport Refrigeration Unit Airborne Toxic Control Measure?

Answer: Yes, CARB has the Carl Moyer Program and Small Business Administration loans are available. While Moyer funds, strictly speaking, are only available to achieve emission reductions beyond those that are required by statute or regulation, they can be used if compliance is at least three years away.

For example, after December 31, 2007, Moyer funds would be available for MYs 2004 and later. Stakeholders must realize, however, that the Carl Moyer Program has limited funds and only the most cost-effective proposals are awarded funds.

Question: Does the regulation include requirements that apply to TRUs equipped with electric standby? What about hybrid electric/diesel equipment?

Answer: There is no requirement to use electric standby or hybrid electric/diesel equipment, but it is a compliance option, provided they are used in a way that eliminates the TRU diesel engine's emissions while at facilities in California. This would require that electric power outlets and plugs be available at all facilities the TRU visits, with some limited exceptions.

Recordkeeping would be necessary to show the unit's engine is not operated except during normal ingress and egress operations.

Plugs and outlets would not be required at certain delivery points (e.g. grocery stores, restaurants, convenience stores), provided there are no more than two TRUs making deliveries at one time, and the TRUs didn't stay longer than 30 minutes.

Electric standby would not be a good compliance option if the operator doesn't have an electric outlet/plug arrangement in advance at all of the distribution centers it visits.

Question: If a carrier uses an alternative diesel fuel such as biodiesel to reduce engine emissions, does it still have to comply with the requirements?

Answer: Using B100, which contains no conventional diesel fuel, is a compliance option that meets both the LETRU and ULETRU performance standards. But, biodiesel must first go through California's Multimedia Assessment (MMA) and be verified as an alternative diesel fuel in-use compliance strategy.

The MMA is currently in process, but this and verification aren't expected to be completed until mid-2009 or early 2010.

B100 must be used exclusively, with records maintained to show this. The operator cannot switch from biodiesel to conventional diesel without providing CARB notice within 10 days and proof of compliance with the in-use performance standards using another strategy.

Operators using B100 would also need to comply with the IDN (Identification Number) and operator reporting requirements.

Question: The TRU ATCM requires TRU owners/operators to get a CARB IDN and spells out recordkeeping and reporting requirements. Does this apply to all TRU owners and operators, whether based in or out of California? If so, what are the requirements?

Answer: Only California-based TRU owners are required to apply for the CARB IDN by January 31, 2009, and must have it stenciled onto the TRU within 30 days of issue.

Owners of TRUs that are based outside of California may voluntarily apply for an IDN, which may be desirable if they operate in California frequently.

We believe that having an IDN will greatly speed up the inspection process, since the inspector will be able to enter the IDN into a computer and check what's in the database as a result of the IDN application process.

Without an IDN, the inspector will need to open the TRU doors and inspect the engine or VDECS to see if the unit is in compliance.

We have left it voluntary for out-of-state TRU owners and operators, in that CARB staff wanted to minimize mandated recordkeeping for them, especially those who travel less frequently in the State.

Additionally, all operators of California-based TRUs must submit operator reports to CARB by January 31, 2009, and update them within 30 days if any required information changes.

Question: Suppose a carrier leases equipment with TRUs. Is it responsible for getting a CARB IDN and meeting the recordkeeping and reporting requirements?

Answer: The TRU owner (the lessor) is the party responsible for applying for the IDN and having it stenciled on the TRU housing for any TRU based at a California terminal (i.e., based at a California business that rents or leases a TRU).

At the same time, however, the lessee or renter of a California based TRU is responsible for making sure the TRU has an IDN and must list the IDN on its operator reports.

It should also be mentioned that the TRU owner/lessor shares responsibility with the lessee/renter for ensuring the TRU meets the in-use performance standards if the TRU is operated in California.

Question: How will the engine performance standards be enforced?

Answer: As mentioned previously, the IDN system is designed to preview how TRUs are brought into compliance and should speed up inspections at border crossings, roadside, weigh stations, and distribution centers.

Inspectors will conduct more thorough audits of records and equipment at operator terminals located in California.

Question: Are there penalties for non-compliance?

Answer: Penalty provisions are set forth in the California Health and Safety Code, Sections 39674, 39675, 42400 et seq, 42402 et seq, and 42410. Penalties will depend on the specific violations.

Failure to report, or reporting of false information, are violations that could result in civil penalties. Such penalties vary, depending on the circumstances, but can be as high as $35,000 per violation, if the defendant knowingly, and with intent to deceive, falsifies any required document (e.g. records and reports).

Violations of in-use requirements could result in penalties that range from $1,000 per day, up to $40,000 per day or up to one year in jail, or both.

Question: What is the appeals process for a violation?

Answer: After an inspector writes a citation, a settlement conference is conducted with the owner/operator so that all of the circumstances of the violation can be discussed. CARB then proposes a settlement that includes a compliance plan and fine.

If the owner/operator doesn't accept the settlement proposal, the CARB can seek administrative penalties before an administrative law judge or refer the case to a county district attorney or the attorney general's office for civil or criminal enforcement.

Question: For carriers selling their equipment with TRUs in California, do the TRUs have to be in compliance?

Answer: Yes. Once a compliance date passes for a model year engine, the regulation prohibits the sale in California of non-compliant equipment of that model year. However, non-compliant equipment could be sold out of state, brought into compliance, or scrapped.

Question: Where can fleets get additional information or have any questions or concerns addressed?

Answer: The TRU website is:

Compliance assistance documents and the regulation itself can be downloaded from the website.

You can also call me at the TRU Help Line at 1-888-878-2826 (1-888-TRU-ATCM).

I encourage interested parties to sign up for the TRU listserve so that they get automatic emailed status updates and notices on workshops, training, and compliance assistance news.