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Cash Up in Smoke: Another Bay State Waste Hauler Cited for Idling

Release Date: 10/29/2008
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Oct. 29, 2008) – For the third time this year, EPA has cited a Massachusetts waste hauler for exceeding the state’s five minute idling limit.

Waste Management of Massachusetts, Inc. will pay a penalty of $27,200 for excessive idling at its Stoughton, Taunton and West Boylston, Mass. depots. In total, EPA has collected $329,500 in penalties for idling violations from Capitol Waste Services, Allied Waste Services, and Waste Management.

Waste Management Inc. is the largest solid waste hauling company in the country, serving more than 25 million customers across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. In 2007 and 2008, EPA inspected numerous locations where trucks park in an effort to reduce habitual and systematic idling of fleets, especially in heavily populated areas. Specifically, EPA inspected Waste Management trucks in Attleboro, Sandwich, Stoughton, Taunton, West Boylston, and Woburn.

Diesel engines emit pollutants that can cause or aggravate a variety of health conditions, including asthma, other respiratory illnesses, and heart disease. Some of these pollutants also cause smog and contribute to climate change.

Even with diesel fuel prices over $4.00 per gallon, some fleet managers have not taken steps to minimize unnecessarily vehicle idling. Although idling to perform required engine-on vehicle safety checks is generally permitted, excessive idling often occurs out of habit or due to outdated assumptions about engine function. Taking steps to improve arrival and departure logistics as well as to change driver behavior will not only help companies protect the health of their drivers and the surrounding community, but also will save fuel and money.

As part of the settlements, Waste Management and Allied Waste have agreed to make operational changes to minimize future idling. Waste Management has retrained its drivers about the state idling rule and will inspect all its Massachusetts facilities daily. Allied will train drivers, post signage, inspect yards twice daily, and insure that automatic engine shutoff devices are working properly in Brockton, Fall River, Quincy, and Revere – the four Allied locations cited for violations. Both companies will submit quarterly compliance reports to EPA.

Five New England states (Connecticut, Mass., Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island) have idling laws, and EPA has authority to help enforce limits in Conn., Mass. and R.I. EPA’s enforcement efforts are complemented by assistance to help vehicle operators find alternatives to idling.

This action contributes to EPA's record-shattering enforcement results for the 2008 Fiscal Year. Nationwide this year, EPA has concluded enforcement actions requiring polluters to spend an estimated $11 billion on pollution controls, clean-up and environmental projects, an all time record for EPA. After these activities are completed, EPA expects annual pollution reductions of more than three billion pounds.

More information: Enforcing idling limits in New England (

Note: Press release edited on 10/30/2008 - added "of Massachusetts" to first sentence of second paragraph (to clarify that the entity fined for idling was Waste Management of Massachusetts, Inc., not Waste Management, Inc.