18 January 2013

In a court settlement with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), automotive electronics manufacturer Edge Products has agreed to pay a $500,000 civil penalty for manufacturing and selling electronic devices that allowed owners of model year 2007 and later GM, Ford and Dodge diesel pickup trucks to remove diesel particulate filters (DPF) from their vehicles.

The company, located in Ogden, Utah, sold more than 9,000 of these devices nationwide, over the period of January 2009 through April 2011. This resulted in an estimated 158 tons of excess PM emissions—equivalent to the emissions from 422 new long-haul semi trucks operating for a period of 29 years, according to the EPA.

In addition to the fine, the consent decree requires Edge to offer to buy back the devices from anyone who possesses one. In order to sell the device back to Edge, the truck from which the device came must be returned to its original factory programming. Edge is also required to spend at least $157,600 to implement an emission mitigation project to offset the excess PM emissions that it caused. Edge will use the additional funds to offer rebates to individuals who own old wood-burning stoves and who wish to replace them with cleaner burning appliances such as new pellet stoves or EPA-certified wood stoves.

The civil penalty of $500,000 is based on the United States’ determination that Edge has a limited ability to pay a penalty in this matter.

Shortly after the introduction of diesel particulate filters in the United states in 2007, a number of suppliers started offering DPF removal kits (also known as “DPF delete” kits) which allow for the removal of the DPF in order to improve vehicle mileage and performance. Most of the kits have been targeting medium-duty engines, such as those used in pickup trucks. The DPF delete kits include a section of open piping that mechanically replaces the DPF and an electronic kit that simulates the DPF sensors and other functions for the engine controller. The case against Edge appears to be the first instance of an enforcement action by the US federal authorities against the sales and installation of DPF delete kits.

Source: US EPA | US DOJ