Construction Season Prompts Warning About Unnecessary Idling

Five-Minute Limit for Diesel Construction Equipment and Off-Road Vehicles

PITTSBURGH – As the summer construction season gets underway, the Allegheny County Health Department is reminding owners and operators of diesel construction equipment and off-road vehicles to eliminate unnecessary idling and reduce the emission of harmful air pollutants.

A Health Department regulation, adopted in 2010 and developed with input from the local construction industry and environmental organizations, limits the idling of such equipment and vehicles to no more than five consecutive minutes.

The idling limit applies to diesel-fueled compression ignition engines of 25 horsepower or greater which are operated in Allegheny County and power vehicles not designed to be driven on the road or not registered for on-road use.

“When idled unnecessarily, diesel engines produce excessive emissions of toxic air pollutants and consume excessive amounts of fuel.  So turning off diesel engines when not in use will not only protect public health but also save money,” said Acting County Health Director Dr. Ronald E. Voorhees.

A penalty of $100 may be levied for a first offense and a $500 penalty for any subsequent violations.  The regulation is enforceable by the Health Department and by municipal or local governmental units that have jurisdiction where a violation occurs.

Stickers are available from the Health Department free of charge to post inside cabs and remind equipment and vehicle operators of the idling limit.  The stickers may be obtained by contacting Alaina Conner at 412-578-8106 or aconner@achd.net.

Exemptions from the five-minute limit are allowed when idling is necessary for the following reasons: to accomplish the work for which the equipment is designed; to ensure safe operation of equipment; for the equipment operator’s physical well-being while working; and for any vehicle used in an emergency or public safety capacity.

The public is urged to report suspected violations by calling the Allegheny County Health Department at 412-687-ACHD(2243) or visiting its web site at www.achd.net.

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