The city of Tacoma, Washington will pay a settlement to the EPA due to a flawed refrigerator disposal project it was running. The disposal service was mismanaged from 2004 to 2007, releasing chlorofluorocarbons into the environment. More than 14,600 appliances were serviced in order to recover refrigerants that can damage the ozone layer. The recovery process accidentally released 4,600 pounds of refrigerant, which reportedly is equivalent to 32,000,000 pounds of CO2. CFCs cause ozone depletion, which contributes to climate change and can have negative health impacts on humans. The accidental releases violated the Clean Air Act.
Dennis McLerran, Regional Administrator for EPA Region 10 said, “Every pound of CFCs that enters the environment is a blow to the Earth’s protective ozone layer and a setback in controlling climate change.”
The penalty portion of the settlement is a payment of $225,000. In addition the city will spend about $300,000 on air pollution prevention. To reduce climate change emissions, the city will replace one diesel waste collection truck with a hybrid one that has better fuel efficiency. A diesel tractor used at the city landfill will also be replaced by a hybrid one. Additionally ten diesel tractors will be fitted with particulate matter filters to reduce air pollution.
These measures will help offset the accidental emissions caused by the faulty disposal program. It was not reported exactly what the figures are in emissions reductions, but at least it is a start.
In 2008, the city passed a resolution stating they would be in sync with the climate change reduction goals of the Kyoto Protocol.