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Thursday, May 29, 2008

ARB cites Apria Health Care $14,000 for air quality violations

Settlement used to mitigate pollution, encourage clean
technology and provide education

SACRAMENTO - The Air Resources Board fined Apria Health Care
headquartered in Lake Forest, Ca, $14,000 for violations of
California's clean air laws requiring diesel fleet owners to
maintain the exhaust systems of their truck engines.

An ARB investigation revealed that Apria Health Care failed to
properly inspect and document their diesel trucks as required by
law. Violations occurred between 2006-2007 when the company did
not follow the Heavy Duty Vehicle Inspection Program. This
program along with the Periodic Smoke Inspection Program allows
ARB to inspect vehicles for excessive smoke emissions and engine
tampering.

"As a health care business, Apria should be especially sensitive
to the impacts of its trucks on public health. CARB will continue
to hold all fleet owners accountable for inspecting and
maintaining their vehicles" said ARB Chairman Mary Nichols.

Apria's violations occurred in facilities located in Concord,
Modesto, San Leandro, South San Francisco, Stockton, El Segundo,
Lancaster, Oxnard, Santa Fe Springs, Tustin, and Van Nuys.

The California Air Pollution Control Fund, established to
mitigate sources of pollution through education advancement and
use of cleaner technology, will receive $10,500 from the
settlement. The remaining $3,500 will go to the Peralta
Community College District which maintains a diesel technology
education training and program for diesel operating staff.

In addition to the fine, Apria has agreed to ensure that all
staff responsible for the compliance with state regulations
attend the California Council on Diesel Education and Technology
class and provide proof of completion within one year. Apria must
provide copies of all compliance records for 2008 and the
subsequent four years, and maintain proof that each vehicle in
its fleet meets emissions standards at least as stringent as the
U.S. federal standards. Finally, the company's vehicle operators
will be instructed to comply with state idling regulations.

Diesel exhaust contains a variety of harmful gases and over 40
known cancer-causing substances. In 1998, California identified
diesel exhaust as a toxic air contaminant based on its potential
to cause cancer, premature death and other health problems.
People exposed to higher levels of emissions from diesel-fueled
engines are at increased risk for cancer.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California
Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and
protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through
effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and
considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air
pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain
health based air quality standards.

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