Public agencies in the Portland Metro Area have partnered together to reduce diesel emissions from construction projects through the Clean Air Construction (CAC) Program.
These emissions reductions will be accomplished in 2 ways:
1. Enacting idle reduction procedures on construction sites. A phase-in schedule that restricts older diesel engines from operating onsite, requiring retrofit or upgrades for non-compliant equipment.
2. This regional program requires contractors on applicable projects to register equipment online. Compliance with the CAC requirements is verified in several ways, including onsite audits.
There are various state grant programs available to assist with the costs of retrofitting your older diesel construction vehicles. CAC also offers free technical assistance to small firms and COBID-certified contractors
Participating in reducing diesel particulate matter emissions will provide Portland residents with better air quality, eliminate potential noncompliance fines, and see the real-time results of your efforts.
CAC Phase-In Schedule
The phase-in schedule describes requirements for all diesel-powered nonroad construction equipment greater than 25 horsepower and all on-road dump trucks and concrete mixers used on public construction projects.
All equipment working on a CAC project will need to be registered in CAC’s online compliance database, The Yard.
Schedule Your Fleet Assessment Today!
The City of Portland is offering free fleet assessments and compliance plans for COBID-certified and small firms in light of the Clean Air Construction Standard (CAC) requirements that went into effect on January 1, 2022.
Support You’ll Receive
Review of equipment and vehicles that are subject to the CAC regulations
A compliance plan that indicates the date by which your equipment can be used on a CAC site, and which equipment can be upgraded for extended compliance
An inventory of equipment that will help you meet CAC requirements, including registration in the CAC database
Most of the information needed to apply for future grant opportunities.
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CAC Retrofit Assessment Voucher Program
One way to comply with Clean Air Construction requirements is to install and maintain an engine retrofit. Retrofitting may be appropriate for older equipment with engines manufactured 10-15 years ago or more. For some equipment, a retrofit can be very effective at reducing diesel emissions from engine exhaust.
Who can apply for a retrofit assessment voucher?
COBID-certified or small construction firms that currently perform work as a subcontractor or a prime contractor with an agency in the Clean Air Construction Collaborative may apply.
A voucher provided by the Clean Air Construction Program covers the cost of the retrofit assessment.
What does the retrofit assessment provide?
An assessment is the first step to determine if engine retrofit is a suitable solution for a particular vehicle/piece of equipment. If a retrofit is suitable, a diesel particulate filter (DPF) or a diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) may be recommended, and associated costs will be outlined.
In some cases, the assessment may find that retrofit is not suitable. If this is the case, the Clean Air Construction program will help you identify other compliance pathways.
Who conducts the retrofit assessment?
Engine retrofit specialists at Diesel Emissions Service (DES) provide this service in the voucher program. Diesel Emissions Service is a leader in the application of retrofit technologies and has installed over 18,000 emission control devices since 2006. DES is authorized by manufacturers to do this work for all major makes/models of nonroad and on-road diesel vehicles/equipment.
The agency/agencies your business holds contracts within the Clean Air Construction collaborative
Primary contact name, email, and phone number
If COBID certified, please include the certification number and type
If not COBID certified, please list bonding capacity (for small businesses)
Include the equipment/vehicle registration number (or Equipment ID in the absence of a registration number) from The Yard (Portland.gov/CAC/TheYard) for each piece of equipment/vehicle requested.
What happens after I make the request for a voucher?
After eligibility is verified:
The Clean Air Construction Program will provide a voucher code and contact information for the retrofit assessment specialists.
Appointments for the assessment can then be scheduled directly with the retrofit assessment specialists (Diesel Emissions Service) at this point.
What can I expect during the retrofit assessment?
The technician will record all necessary information about the equipment and determine whether it is safe to install a retrofit while the machine is in operation. DES will then decide if the equipment is suitable for a Passive system, Active system, or Diesel Oxidation Catalyst based on their review. If a Passive system can be utilized, a data logger will be installed to track the temperature of the engine exhaust. The data logger will be removed once the required operating hours have been completed. The results will be available within one week.
During the appointment, a technician will document all necessary information about the vehicle and determine the best location to install the retrofit. A temporary data logger will be installed in the exhaust stream to monitor the temperature of the engine exhaust, which will provide insight into the vehicle’s duty cycle. Once the required time for testing has been completed, the truck will return to the location to have the data logger removed. The results of the test will be available within one week.
On trucks that cannot use a passive system, the same process applies but a data logger will not be installed.
What’s the next step after the retrofit assessment?
The vendor will send a recommendation report for diesel emissions reduction technologies to the contact email of each participating firm.
The Clean Air Construction coordinator will then follow up with any additional information or resources about the report recommendations. Grants or other resources to help offset the cost of retrofits may be available. The coordinator can provide more information about these resources.
More Information About Clean Air Construction & Equipment Registration
Tap/click the questions to expand/view the answer.
Just your subcontractors that have (or rent) equipment in the categories covered by the Clean Air Construction standard need to register: all non-road equipment (except hand tools) and all on-road dump trucks and concrete mixers – this includes any non-diesel equipment in these categories.
For example, a flagging subcontractor with just pickup trucks does not need to register.
The Engine Family Name (EFN) (may also be called emission family name/number) is a 10-to-12-character alpha-numeric code assigned by the engine manufacturer that allows specific engine certification information to be determined. It can be found on the engine control label (ECL).
The mailing of registration decals for CAC-applicable on-road vehicles will be delayed until late 2023. This is because the CAC requirements for on-road vehicles will not take effect until January 1, 2024. Delaying the mail date of the decals will extend their lifespan, reducing the need for replacements due to wear and tear.
After an equipment owner registers and attests their equipment in The Yard, the CAC Program Coordinator reviews the registration to confirm the compliance status. Once the equipment has been confirmed, it is added to a queue for decal assignment and mailing. This queue is processed every two weeks. You will receive a notice via The Yard when your registration decal(s) have been processed for mailing.
If more than two weeks have passed, please check your messages/notifications in The Yard for any requests for additional equipment details needed to confirm the equipment’s compliance status.
Complete as much information as you can and email the Clean Air Construction Program Coordinator for further assistance. You can also request replacement engine labels for your equipment by contacting the original engine manufacturer or equipment dealer and providing the engine serial number.
The prime contractor is ultimately responsible for ensuring compliance with Clean Air Construction requirements, as they are the entity that signed the contract with the relevant agency. Therefore, it is the prime contractor’s duty to ensure compliance with these requirements.
What the prime contractor’s expectations are around who is responsible for getting applicable Tier 2 subcontractors’/suppliers’ equipment registered is something that the prime and the first-Tier subcontractors need to work out within their agreements.
Within The Yard, any Equipment Owner User can invite another Equipment Owner to register their equipment in The Yard, so that functionality is accessible to subcontractors.
If you are looking to work on an applicable public agency’s construction project valued over that agency’s applicable CAC threshold on or after January 1, 2020, you need to be aware of the CAC requirements. CAC requirements include two components:
Idle reduction requirements that went into effect on January 1, 2020.
Phased-in diesel engine requirements – beginning with the oldest and dirtiest engines – went into effect on January 1, 2022.
The specific type of construction projects the CAC requirements apply to will vary by applicable public agency, depending on that agency’s applicable contract dollar threshold and how construction was defined in a specific agency’s CAC adoption document. See theClean Air Construction Overview & Requirements page for specifics.
In the Portland Metro area, levels of pollution from diesel engines exceed the State’s adopted health benchmarks. These engines produce fine, sooty particles that can enter the lungs and bloodstream, causing negative impacts on the cardiovascular and nervous systems and acting as a known carcinogen. Despite the significant health risks, the State of Oregon does not regulate diesel particulate matter, disproportionately affecting the residents and workers in the Portland Metro area.
To address this issue and improve air quality, public agencies in the Portland Metro area are implementing requirements from the CAC in their projects to reduce the negative health impacts of diesel pollution.
Diesel engines require a period of idling to cool down after periods of heavy operation in order to maintain their lifespan and performance. Shutting down a diesel engine before it has cooled down can cause damage and negatively impact its performance. The CAC’s nonroad idling requirement aligns with the State’s 5-minute idling requirement for on-road vehicles in the public right of way, which aims to reduce the negative impact of idling on engine life and performance.
The CAC idling requirements only apply to nonroad diesel engines. Individual public agencies adopting the CAC requirements may have additional project site idling requirements included in contract requirements as per separate ordinances, resolutions, or policies.
The CAC’s phase-in approach for engine requirements aims to balance the need for emissions reductions with the burden of compliance on contractors. This approach allows contractors to gradually upgrade their applicable equipment and vehicles, minimizing the impact on their business operations and competitiveness in bidding for local public projects. However, these upgrades can come at a significant cost, which is why the phase-in schedule is in place to give contractors time to plan and prepare for the necessary changes.
The CAC requirements only apply to nonroad construction equipment and on-road cement mixers and dump trucks. Flatbed trucks and other delivery vehicles are not otherwise subject to the CAC requirements.
Contractors (prime and sub-contractors, and applicable suppliers) will be required to submit to the CAC Program all requested diesel equipment/vehicle information needed to verify compliance, including confirmation that retrofit devices are maintained on the equipment in proper operating condition. Further details on the compliance process and required information will be developed as part of the program development in 2020. While details are currently being developed, it is the intent that:
upon determining compliance with the requirements, the CAC Program will issue an equipment/vehicle decal for each compliant piece of equipment/vehicle, and the decal must be displayed on the compliant equipment/vehicle at all times in a location readily visible by agency staff.
random on-site inspections by agency staff (or approved program operator) will be conducted on a project-by-project basis.
contractor and vehicle compliance information will be housed in a database accessible by all local public agencies that have adopted the CAC requirements to verify compliance across jurisdictions.
Contractors may apply for exemptions to the diesel engine requirements on a per project basis in circumstances where:
The equipment/vehicle is required for an emergency (including for underground equipment operators).
The required emission control device would obscure operator lines of sight or otherwise impact worker safety, or the equipment is not able to be retrofitted with a verified emission control device, and no compliant rental equipment is available within 100 miles of the job site.
The contractor can demonstrate that due to the uniqueness of the equipment/vehicle or similar special circumstances, it is not reasonable to comply with the diesel engine requirement for a specific piece of equipment/vehicle.
Review the Compliance Options Protocol steps. The first few steps identify which construction equipment/vehicle engines are subject to the CAC requirements. See the Clean Air Construction Overview & Requirements page for specifics.
Please check the model year of the engine and ensure that all exhaust control systems are functioning properly. Vehicles with engines from 2007 or later and properly functioning exhaust control systems are in compliance.
There are technical and financial assistance resources for diesel equipment and vehicle owners to help comply with CAC requirements. For more details on grants, onsite technical assistance, and training resources, see the Clean Air Construction Assistance page.
As part of the program development process in 2020, the CAC Program will determine the details of contractor support, including the minimum level of technical assistance and web-based resources that will be provided to help contractors register their vehicles/equipment and ensure CAC compliance. These resources will be made available to assist contractors in navigating the requirements of the program.
Other aspects of contractor support currently being considered and/or pursued include:
Utilization of State of Oregon VW Settlement money for grants that support diesel engine retrofits or replacements.
Assisting contractors with pursuing EPA DERA grant funds for diesel engine retrofits or replacements.
Yes. One of the main goals in taking a regional approach to developing the CAC initiative is to reduce the administrative burden on contractors by not having multiple standards and multiple compliance processes.
Important Diesel Information
What is the significance of the diesel engine?
Diesel engines are a vital component of modern life, known for their high power output, fuel efficiency, and strong torque at lower speeds.
They are widely used to transport commercial goods across Oregon and the rest of the country, as well as to power a significant portion of heavy construction equipment. While new technologies offer the potential for cleaner engine alternatives, the reliable and durable diesel is likely to remain an essential part of commercial activity for the foreseeable future. However, the major issue with diesel engines is the air pollution they produce.
Does retrofit equipment affect the effectiveness of my diesel equipment?
Successful retrofits are very common as technology has improved over the years – but success also depends on how well the equipment owner understands how to maintain the retrofit device. The CAC Committee is working on training materials related to maintaining retrofits and will update resources as they become available on the Clean Air Construction Assistance page.
What is diesel exhaust?
Diesel exhaust is produced when fuel is burned in a diesel engine, resulting in a complex mixture of gases, fine particles, and toxic air pollutants. The main gases of concern are carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and nitrous oxide. Major particles include soot, hydrocarbons, sulfate, nitrate, and metals such as aluminum, iron, silicon, titanium, and zinc. The exhaust also contains various other toxic gases and particles, including formaldehyde, acetone, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The specific composition of diesel exhaust varies and is influenced by factors such as the type of vehicle, fuel type, use or task of the vehicle, vehicle speed, and maintenance status. Weather conditions, including air temperature, can also affect the gases and particles present in the exhaust.
What are the problems associated with diesel exhaust?
Diesel engines release pollutants that can harm the environment and impact human health. These pollutants can be deposited on land and eventually make their way into water bodies, causing acid rain and increasing nitrates in wetlands, lakes, and streams. Acid rain and soot deposition can also cause metal corrosion and reduce the lifespan of buildings, bridges, and other structures.
Communities near sources of diesel emissions, such as busy truck and bus routes, areas of chronic traffic congestion, freight terminals, and construction sites, are more likely to experience the negative impacts of diesel exhaust. In the Portland metro area, African American and Latino populations face up to three times higher exposure rates, due to their proximity to high development and transportation activities.
Diesel exhaust is the largest source of black carbon particles in the United States. Black carbon is a major contributor to global warming, second only to carbon dioxide. These particles are released into the atmosphere and absorb heat, which can increase air temperatures. When they fall on snow and ice fields, they absorb light and release heat, causing an increase in melting rates.
Why is the Portland Metro Area at a greater risk of exposure to diesel exhaust?
According to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Portland has a higher health risk from air toxins exposure compared to less densely populated areas of the state. DEQ has identified that the toxins of greatest concern in Portland are benzene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and soot from diesel engines. Since Portland is at a greater risk of exposure to these toxins, and since the increased risk is primarily due to diesel exhaust, it is likely that people living in the Portland Metro area are at a higher risk of exposure to diesel exhaust. This risk is primarily driven by the population density of the Portland Metro area, the number of vehicles on the roads, and the amount of construction, freight, marine, and rail activity within the Metro boundary.
How can diesel exhaust be reduced or controlled?
Improved technology can significantly reduce pollution from diesel engines, as we’ve seen in the commercial trucking industry over the last 15 years. These technologies include improved engine design, idle reduction, and cleaner fuels, as well as exhaust aftertreatment technologies such as improved catalysts, diesel particulate filters, and NOx reduction technology. Regular inspection and maintenance to ensure that the control technology is functioning properly is also important in keeping emissions rates low.
Why does the Clean Air Construction initiative focus on construction vehicles and equipment?
Construction equipment is designed and built to have a long lifespan, and it is not uncommon to see equipment that is 30+ years old on job sites. These older vehicles do not have the advanced pollution control technology for NOx and fine particulates that comes standard on the US EPA Tier 4 equipment that is manufactured today. Also, there are few incentives for business owners to retrofit or replace older equipment if that equipment remains operational. The Clean Air Construction program leverages public dollars to reduce diesel emissions on public construction projects, which in turn helps to minimize a large source of diesel emissions in the Portland area. Since these types of projects are within the Portland city limits, meaningful reductions will occur where people actually live and breathe.
What are the health impacts of diesel exhaust?
Exposure to diesel exhaust can have immediate health effects. Diesel exhaust can irritate the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs, and it can cause coughs, headaches, lightheadedness, and nausea. Exposure to diesel exhaust also causes inflammation in the lungs, which may aggravate chronic respiratory symptoms and increase the frequency or intensity of asthma attacks and increase susceptibility to respiratory diseases like COVID-19.
Diesel particulate matter is a known human carcinogen. There are also non-cancerous, long-term health effects associated with exposure which include asthma, heart disease, chronic lung disease, neurological damage, and premature mortality.
What are the societal costs of diesel exhaust?
The levels of diesel pollution in Oregon result in significant public health impacts. Including:
Over 400 premature deaths
Over 140 non-fatal heart attacks
Over 25,000 work loss days
The monetized value of diesel pollution health impacts in Oregon exceeds $3 billion annually.
Who is most impacted by diesel exhaust?
The elderly, people with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, children, and certain occupations such as railroad workers, truck drivers, loading dock workers, diesel mechanics, and construction equipment workers are most impacted by diesel exhaust due to their increased sensitivity and exposure to fine-particle pollution. In Oregon alone, over 29,000 workers are at risk of negative health effects from diesel exhaust. Children in particular are more susceptible to the effects of fine particles, which can lead to increased frequency of childhood illnesses and reduced lung function.
Who do I contact with questions related to the CAC initiative?
Do you have a medium- or heavy-duty diesel vehicle powered by a 2009 or older engine? Phase-out periods for these vehicles are also coming!
DES Portland can help you plan ahead for these additional regulations and vehicle restrictions arriving in both 2025 and 2029.
Diesel Emissions Services (DES) has successfully installed well over 15k retrofits in California and across the United States. Our Portland OR location has a complete DPF Cleaning facility and a full inventory of aftertreatment parts for servicing emissions systems. We have the equipment, expertise, and experienced retrofit installers for whatever you need.
We are honored to assist heavy-duty diesel fleets and equipment operators in the State of Oregon to help improve air quality and the environment for future generations.
We hope you found this article helpful. At DES, we believe in putting out educational and informative content to not only our customers but for the general industry to grow and benefit from.
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What you need to know about the Clean Air Construction Program
The Clean Air Construction (CAC) Program. Public agencies in the Portland Metro Area have partnered together to reduce diesel emissions from construction projects through the Clean Air Construction (CAC) Program.…
Diesel Emissions Service (DES) began its operations in 2006 as the emissions division of parent company North State Truck Equipment, Inc., which has been serving the heavy duty truck market since 1978. DES was established to help California businesses meet and exceed the strict CARB and EPA emissions regulations placed on diesel trucks. Since 2006, DES has sold and/or installed over 15,000 emission control devices, and is now an industry leader in diesel emissions on the west coast and beyond.