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Portable Equipment Permitting

Know Your Portable Equipment Permitting and Registration Requirements

Do you operate a portable diesel engine and / or portable equipment that emits air pollution? Portable equipment includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • cranes
  • power generation
  • pumps
  • diesel pile-driving hammers
  • welding
  • service or work-over rigs
  • well drilling
  • dredges on boats or barges
  • wood chippers
  • tactical support equipment
  • compressors
  • vacuum trucks

Portable equipment units include, but are not limited to, the following portable engine-associated units:

  • confined and unconfined abrasive blasting operations
  • concrete batch plants
  • sand and gravel screening
  • rock and pavement crushing and recycling
  • tub grinders and trammel screens

Any equipment with a portable diesel engine attached having a brake horsepower rating of 50 or more, that does not provide motive power to a vehicle, is required to have either a permit from the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District (NSAQMD) or, if the engine is portable, may instead have a Portable Equipment Registration Program (PERP) registration issued by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). In addition to engines, any ancillary equipment that emits pollutants to the air exceeding 2 pounds per day should also be registered under PERP; otherwise a separate NSAQMD permit is required for operations in Nevada, Sierra or Plumas Counties. The NSAQMD recommends obtaining a PERP registration in lieu of a NSAQMD permit unless the portable equipment will remain in Nevada, Sierra or Plumas Counties at a single location for 12 continuous months or more.  The CARB’s “Airborne Toxic Control Measure for Diesel Particulate Matter from Diesel Engines Rated at 50 Horsepower and Greater” Final Regulation Order sets additional requirements and compliance dates for diesel-fueled engines. Please visit the California Air Resources Board’s website for information on both the Statewide Portable Equipment Registration Program, and the portable engine Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM).  Currently portable equipment with certified engines that meet the most stringent emissions standards are eligible to register in the PERP. Older certified engines (Tier 1 and above), that were resident to California between March 1, 2004 and October 1, 2006, are also eligible to register in PERP for a limited time. After January 1, 2010, all portable diesel-fueled engines registered in the State program must be certified engines. Since uncertified engines (Tier 0) are ineligible to register in PERP, the NSAQMD is allowing Tier 0 engines to be permitted and operated throughout the NSAQMD until January 1, 2010.  

If You Rent Portable Equipment

You should receive a copy of the registration certificate from the rental company and a certification label should be affixed to the equipment.

PERP Program Information

Information regarding the Statewide Portable Equipment Registration Program and Application Forms can be obtained by calling (916) 324-5869, by e-mailing, or from the California Air Resources Board’s website.

State Limitations on Engine Idlings

There are two regulations addressing engine idling.

State Limits on the Idling of Diesel-Fueled Commercial Motor Vehicles

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has adopted restrictions on the idling of commercial motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds. While operating in California, the regulations, with specified exceptions, require the affected diesel-fueled vehicles do not idle for more than five consecutive minutes or a period of time equaling five minutes in any one hour. For more detailed information please visit the CARB website 

State Limits on School Bus Idling and Vehicle Idling at Schools.

The CARB has adopted restrictions on the idling of school buses, transit buses, and commercial motor vehicles at and near schools with grades K-12 regardless of fuel type. At a school, school bus, transit bus, and commercial vehicle drivers are required to turn off the engine upon arriving and restart it no more than 30 seconds before departing. Transit bus and commercial vehicles within 100 feet of a school are prohibited from idling more than 5 minutes. In addition, school bus drivers are prohibited from idling more than 5 minutes at locations beyond schools. For more detailed information please visit the CARB website.

New Off-Road Diesel Regulations Adopted

The ARB adopted a regulation to reduce cancer-causing diesel particulate matter (PM) emissions from in-use (existing) off-road diesel vehicles in California. The regulation may require you to retrofit, repower, or replace your off-road diesel fueled vehicles gradually over the next decade. In addition, the regulation could require you to take action as early as 2008 and will affect off-road diesel vehicles greater than 25 horsepower. The off-road program does not include any engine which is already included in another state program, nor does the off-road program include recreational vehicles. For more information visit the CARB website on In-Use Off-Road Diesel Vehicle Regulations click here.

Have Questions? Visit the Portable Equipment FAQ for more info.

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