A joint effort between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Indiana-based Cummins Inc. found some of the manufacturer’s engines have faulty emissions control system components.
The company will recall about 500,000 medium- and heavy-duty trucks with model years between 2010 and 2015.
The recall affects trucks with selective catalytic reduction systems, SCR, to control nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. The faulty component can emit excess nitrogen oxides, an air pollutant known for its potency and contribution to smog in the atmosphere. The EPA said in a press release the SCR catalysts were less durable than required and degraded within a few years.
EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality Compliance Director Byron Bunker says the part is key to limiting the pollutant.
“It can reduce over 90 percent of the NOx submissions from a diesel engine,” says Bunker. “That’s very important to us because NOx emissions contribute to ground level ozone which is a problem in a number of communities and it’s converted to particulate matter in the environment which is also harmful to people.
Cummins External Communications Director Jon Mills says the recall was prompted by a chemical issue in the SCR component.
“There’s a degrading component or piece in the after treatment system that lead to certain engines exceeding the emissions level,” says Mills.
The problem was discovered through emissions testing programs conducted by the EPA and the California Air Resources Board. When Cummins was notified, the company examined the vehicles and determined it was a faulty piece that will need to be replaced in recalled vehicles. EPA Office of Air and Radiation Assistant Administrator Bill Wehrum said the recall is an example of how the government should work with industry to protect the environment.
“This is the way it’s supposed to work. Our follow-up testing seeks to make sure that pollution controls work throughout an engine’s useful life,” Wehrum said in the press release. “And, if they don’t, then companies step up to set things right.”
The Environment Protection Agency says it’s the largest-ever voluntary recall of medium to heavy duty trucks.
“In this case, Cummins voluntarily went down that [recall] path and agreed to replace the parts. And that’s a big win for their customers and the environment because it happens much quicker,” says Bunker.
Affected drivers should be notified soon. Mills stresses the recall is in the best interest of customers and the environment.
“We’re going to do everything we can to minimize the impact on our customers as we move through the recall process,” says Mills.
Vehicles affected are primarily commercial.
“The larger tractor trailers, as you would see on the highway for instance, to a little bit smaller vehicles,” says Mills.
The recall will come in two waves – with heavy-duty vehicles in August and medium-duty vehicles next March. An earlier recall involved Cummins engines in Dodge pickup trucks and the Ram 2500.