Required Filters Making Fire Trucks Break Down

Officials Cite Problems With EPA-Mandated Filters

Fire trucks across the country are breaking down at record rates because of faulty filters the Environmental Protection Agency forces them to use.

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The 10News I-Team learned San Diego City Councilwoman Marti Emerald is asking the region's congressional delegation to petition the EPA to change their rules.

Additionally, Rep. Bob Filner is scheduled to meet with EPA officials and ask them for an exemption on the fire truck filters.

Filner sent the EPA a letter last week saying, "Fire equipment is breaking down or having to be taken off-line, at times putting lives and property in danger."

The EPA forces every diesel-powered vehicle to have a filter to keep soot out of the air, including fire trucks. The filters usually burn off soot before clogging the engine, but fire trucks don't do enough long-haul driving to get hot enough to burn the soot away.

"I think that would benefit public safety immensely if we did not have to follow these same rules," said Kevin Ester with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

Ester, who is in charge of fixing fire trucks in San Diego, said the filters cost $30,000 each.

The EPA has not said if they'll give fire departments a pass on filtering their diesel vehicles. Departments across the country have had similar problems with the filters as SDFRD.

Right now the military and construction industries are the only entities with an exemption.

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