In a court settlement with the EPA, Edge Products, a manufacturer of electronic power modules for diesel engines, has agreed to pay a $500,000 fine for manufacturing and selling electronic devices that allowed owners of Chevy, GMC, Ford and Dodge/Ram diesel pickup trucks (2007 and later) to remove the programming for diesel particulate filters from their vehicles.
The Ogden, Utah, company is reported to have sold more than 9,000 units from January 2009 through April 2011. This is said to have resulted in an estimated 158 tons of excess particulate matter emissions — the equivalent of 422 new long-haul semitrailers operating for 29 years, according to the EPA.
The civil penalty of $500,000 is based on the United States’ determination that Edge Products has a limited ability to pay a penalty in this matter.
In addition to the fine, Edge Products is required to offer to buy back the devices. To sell the device back to the company, the truck from which the device came must be returned to its original factory programming. Edge Products is also required to spend at least $157,600 to implement an emission mitigation project to offset the excess particulate matter emissions it caused. Edge Products will use the additional funds to offer rebates to individuals who own old wood-burning stoves and wish to replace them with cleaner burning appliances such as new pellet stoves or EPA-certified wood stoves.
Shortly after the U.S. introduction of diesel particulate filters in the in 2007, a number of suppliers started offering DPF removal kits (also known as “DPF delete” kits). These kits allow for the removal of the DPF without triggering any engine trouble codes, with potential side benefits being improved vehicle mileage and performance. The kits were also popular with diesel truck racers who wanted to run their daily driver at the track.
Most of the kits targeted three-quarter- and one-ton turbodiesel engines (mostly Duramax and Powerstroke). The case against Edge Products appears to be the first instance of an enforcement action by the U.S. against the sales and installation of DPF delete kits.
To our knowledge, there are no companies selling these types of kits at this date. For more EPA information on the case and settlement, click here.