Underground Market Faces Tier 4 Equipment Adjustments In 2011

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | April 2010 Vol. 65 No. 4
The Cummins model QSB6.7 with a displacement of 6.7 and available power rating ranging from 155 – 300 hp.

Contractors and other operators of off-road, diesel-powered equipment are encountering a growing number of public construction projects that require retrofits of diesel engines powering older equipment. These requirements may take the form of ordinances or laws such as in New York City or more local bid specification requirements.

The EPA takes air emission samples in every county in the U.S., and tests include measuring ozone and particulate matter. If samples exceed specified levels, the area is determined to be in non-attainment status and must develop a plan to improve. One plan is to restrict older equipment from public projects unless they are retrofitted or repowered.

How widespread such restrictions will become is unknown. A worst case scenario, says Campbell, is that an equipment operator may find he can’t use his equipment on a project.

“Retrofitting older engines to meet higher emission standards is costly,” says Campbell. “With smaller machines, the expense may exceed the value of the equipment.”

The most stringent emissions regulations are in California, he pointed out. “Among the many regulations of the California Air Resources Board, the in-use rule requires fleet owners to annually calculate emissions and compare results to established goals. If the fleet misses the goals, actions such as retrofit, repower or machine replacement must be taken.”

Another California rule is the Portable Equipment Registration Program (PERP) applying to portable, non self-propelled construction equipment. Registration allows equipment to work on projects anywhere in the state without having to obtain permits from local air districts. In order to be registered, a machine must meet current Tier standards for its horsepower class.

As most contractors are aware, the effect of regulations on their work increases every year.

“However,” Campbell says, “equipment users can be assured that OEMs and engine manufacturers are working very hard to meet the new exhaust regulations while minimizing their impact on end user operations.”

Ditch Witch underground construction equipment is manufactured by The Charles Machine Works, Inc. and includes trenchers, vibratory plows, compact excavators and skid-steer loaders, horizontal directional drilling equipment, vacuum excavators and related products.

Ditch Witch, (800) 654-6481, www.ditchwitch.com

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