Washington fire sparks DPF recall

A forest fire 12 miles northeast of Goldendale, WA on Sept. 7 has lead to a suspension of a diesel particulate filter made by a California company. Last week Humboldt, CA school officials pulled 17 buses out of service that were fitted with Cleaire LongMile® diesel particulate filters, fearing catastrophic system failure.

According to the Times-Standard, the buses were equipped with LongMile filters, which catch soot and other matter made by the diesel engine. Cleaire Advanced Emission Controls is based in San Leandro, CA. Calls from BUSRide were not returned.

Cleaire immediately suspended sales and installations of the LongMile filters until the suspension is lifted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which sent a letter to Cleaire in September.

Fire officials in Washington State speculate the fire was started by a truck traveling along Highway 97. Reportedly, sparks from the vehicle’s tailpipe landed in dry grass, starting a blaze that destroyed more than 100 structures, including 29 residences, according to press reports. It took more than 700 firefighters 11 days to contain the fire that blackened 3,600 acres of forest canyons and flat land.

On its website Cleaire states that it is working diligently to address the problem and to take steps to address issues brought up in the letter from CARB. The company also immediately recalled and removed from service all LongMile filters installed on exhaust gas recirculation-equipped (EGR-equipped) Cummins ISX engines and all installed on buses, and all AllMetal filters installed on off-road equipment.

The website statement goes on to say that Cleaire’s agreement to take the steps outlined in CARB’s letter is not an agreement that these products do not comply with the conditions and requirements of the applicable CARB Executive Orders and Verification letters, nor an agreement that there was any defect in these products. The statement continues, saying Cleaire remains confident that their products can be safely deployed to continue to benefit California’s air quality goals. The company intends to respond appropriately to CARB’s directives, and to provide the same high level of quality products and product support to its dealers in support of their customers.

On Oct. 20, 2010, CARB approved the LongMile diesel particulate filter as Level 3+ for on-road applications. The CARB Level 3+ designation means the LongMile suc­cessfully demonstrated diesel particulate matter (PM) emission reductions of greater than 85 percent while meeting the NO2 emission standard.

Cleaire has a manufacturing facility in San Diego. The company was acquired by NewWorld Capital Group in August. NewWorld is a private equity firm focused on investing in areas of environmental concerns.