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Bay Area Ford dealers pay penalties to settle Clean Air Act violations

Release Date: 10/04/2006
Contact Information: Mark Merchant (415) 947-4297

(10/04/06 - San Francisco) SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fined three Bay Area auto repair shops a collective $35,000 for alleged violations of the federal Clean Air Act.

Hayward Ford of Hayward, South City Motors of South San Francisco and Broadway Motors of Oakland failed to comply with the requirements of the Clean Air Act’s regulations for mechanics who service and repair automobile air conditioning systems.

Hayward Ford has agreed to pay a $10,000 penalty; South City Motors has agreed to pay a $20,000 penalty; and Broadway Motors has agreed to pay a $5,416 penalty.

The Clean Air Act requires that air conditioning mechanics pass an EPA-certified training and testing course. The EPA training is required regardless of any other training or certification mechanics may have. The facility must also maintain adequate records to demonstrate EPA certification of their mechanics and refrigerant recovery and recycling equipment.

The training regulations help ensure the proper handling of ozone-depleting and global warming substances that go into a car’s air conditioner, thereby minimizing the release of these chemicals into the atmosphere. The adverse effects of ultra-violet radiation from a thinning ozone layer include skin cancers, cataracts and immune system suppression.

“It is important to take every precaution to prevent Freon and its alternatives from escaping into the atmosphere,” said Deborah Jordan, Director of the Air Division in the EPA’s Pacific Southwest regional Office in San Francisco. “Mechanics who service these systems play a key role in preventing the release of these potentially harmful chemicals, and need to be properly trained.”

The EPA alleged that Hayward Ford and South City Motors employed two and four non-EPA certified mechanics, respectively. The EPA also alleged that Hayward Ford, South City Motors and Broadway Motors each failed to maintain proper records.

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