Air Agency Fines Bottled Water Co.

The California Air Resources Board in July fined DS Waters of America, Inc., $74,250 for violations of the state's clean air laws that require heavy-duty vehicle owners to inspect their diesel fleets.

Violations by DS Waters, a leading bottled water company, occurred in facilities located in Irvine, Lakeside, Orange, Riverside, Santa Ana, Temecula, Chico, Fresno, Manteca, Milpitas, Sacramento, Salinas, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Bakersfield, Covina, Gardena, Lancaster, Los Angeles, Oxnard and Van Nuys.

The agency's investigation revealed that DS Waters, headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., failed to inspect its diesel truck fleet for excess emissions or document those inspections, as required by law.

"The ARB will continue to enforce clean air regulations throughout California" said agency Chair Mary Nichols. "Each penalty should be taken as a lesson for companies who use non-compliance as a basic business practice."

The California Air Pollution Control Fund, established to mitigate sources of pollution through education advancement and use of cleaner technology, will receive $55,687.50 from the settlement. The remaining $18,562.50 will go to the Peralta Community College District, which funds the statewide diesel technology education training and program for diesel operating staff.

In addition to the fine, DS Waters has agreed to ensure that all staff responsible for the compliance with state regulations attend the community college diesel emissions education courses and provide proof of completion within one year. DS Waters 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 federal standards, and maintain its engine labels for Low NOx/reflash compliance. Finally, the company's vehicle operators will be instructed to comply with state idling regulations.

Each year in California, diesel particulate matter contributes to an estimated 2,900 premature deaths, 3,600 hospital admissions, 240,000 asthma attacks and respiratory symptoms, and 600,000 lost workdays. Overall, diesel engine emissions are responsible for the majority of California's potential airborne cancer risk from combustion sources.

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