Growers in the eight-county San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, which includes Merced County, have until January 2010 to replace older, high-polluting, Tier 0 diesel engines greater than 50 horsepower with EPA-certified Tier 3 or Tier 4 engines.
The rule is the latest installment in complying with District Rule 4702, which regulates air pollution emissions from ag engines not used in tractors or ag implements, such as irrigation pump engines. Growers statewide will need to meet a similar requirement by January 2011 under parallel rules by the State Air Board.
In addition, San Joaquin Valley growers after January face more onerous permitting requirements if they plan to install or modify ag engines, depending on whether they qualify as a "significant polluter." The cutoff for "significant polluter" will be lowered from 12.5 tons per year due to the severe non-attainment for ozone status of the San Joaquin Valley.
The classification is based on NOx and VOC emissions determined by type and number of internal combustion motors and hours of operation. Estimates indicate farming operations with as few as two or three irrigation pump motors greater than 50 horsepower may exceed the limit that allows them to register under the District’s Permit Exempt Equipment Registration program. Those growers will instead need an “Authority to Construct” permit, which requires significantly more process and paperwork.
Contact the SJV Air District at (559)230-6000 for additional information.