SACRAMENTO, CA --- The California Air Resources Board last month fined Montebello-based waste hauler Key Disposal Inc. $500,000 for failing to adequately inspect its fleet and retrofit some of its vehicles with diesel filters as required by state law. 

"This significant fine reflects how seriously we take violations of our air quality regulations," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "Big rig diesel trucks can belch noxious fumes that pollute neighborhoods and affect public health, which is why we require companies to clean them up. Any business that fails to take its responsibilities seriously or attempts to take short cuts can expect to pay a high price for its actions." 

ARB initially offered to settle with Key Disposal and its president, John Katangian, for a lower amount. But because no agreement was reached, the California Attorney General's office sued the company in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The case was ultimately settled for $500,000. 

According to the court order, the company and Katangian will pay $250,000 and the balance of the fine will be stayed, pending no further violations. Payments will be made to the Air Pollution Control Fund, which supports research and projects to improve air quality. 

As a condition of the settlement, Key Disposal and Katangian were required to bring their entire fleet of vehicles into compliance with ARB programs and regulations. The vehicles must remain in compliance as long as they are in use. In addition, Key Disposal employees responsible for fleet maintenance must complete a community college diesel emissions compliance education class conducted by the California Council on Diesel Education and Technology. 

In other news, CARB in September also fined Pacific Petroleum $21,000 and fined EDCO Disposal Corp. $219,500 because they each failed to comply with emission inspection requirements for their respective truck fleets.