Engine maker Cummins has agreed to pay a $2.1-million penalty to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and recall 405 truck engines after an audit revealed those engines were equipped with improper exhaust aftertreatment devices (ATDs).
The EPA complaint centers on 578,000 engines Cummins shipped between 1998 and 2006 that were fitted without the correct ATDs, which include catalytic converters and diesel particulate filters.
The State of California Air Resources Board (CARB) will receive $420,000 of the civil penalty under a separate settlement agreement with Cummins. That continues a federal government practice of sharing civil penalties with states that participate in clean air enforcement actions, EPA said.
“This settlement assures that the environment suffers no ill effects because it requires that Cummins not only install the proper pollution control devices but also mitigate the effects of the harmful emissions released as a result of its actions,” said Ignacia Moreno, Asst. Attorney General for the U.S. Justice Dept.’s Environment and Natural Resources Div..
Janet Williams, director of communications for Cummins, told FleetOwner that the engine maker agreed to the settlement to avoid costly and lengthy litigation. “We take our environmental responsibilities very, very seriously; this was just a mistake,” Williams said. “The important thing to note is that this settlement does not affect end users, nor does it affect our 2010 engine certifications.”
According to the EPA complaint, Cummins tested the engines with the ATDs to meet the standards, but Cummins failed to include the ATDs with the engines when the engines were shipped to vehicle manufacturers. Instead, Cummins relied on the truck OEMs to purchase and install the correct ATDs. The agency further alleged that the shipment of engines to vehicle manufacturers without the ATDs violated the Clean Air Act’s prohibition on the sale of engines not covered by certificates of conformity.
Cummins’ Williams, however, said the issue revolves around “delegated assembly,” whereby the OEM was permitted to treat the manufacture of aftertreatment parts separately from the engines. “Out of 578,000 engines, we were found to have ‘improper documentation’ for 405 engines – meaning we could not demonstrate that the right aftertreatment part got on the right engine,” she said.
Cummins is recalling those 405 engines found to have reached customers without the correct ATDs in order to install the correct ATDs, EPA added.