Emissions stations in line for leniency?

Sep 15 2010 - 12:08am

OGDEN -- Emissions testers in Weber County are hoping for a little forgiveness.

At a meeting of the Air Quality Advisory Committee on Tuesday, committee members said they want to look into amending the current regulation to create a way to erase failed inspections by covert county vehicles.

Under current regulations, any station that does emissions testing in Weber County will get a written warning following a failed audit. On the fourth warning, the station will be suspended for three months from doing emissions testing.

A station fails a county audit when a health department undercover car which should fail inspection passes.

The problem with the current system is that a station that has tightened once-lax standards still has the threat of suspension hanging over its head, even years after the offenses, said Jerry Paskett, committee member. An innocent mistake could then suspend the shop's license and cost it a lot of money.

He proposed that the committee ask the Board of Health to amend the regulations so the oldest violation would be erased after two consecutive passed tests by a covert health department inspection vehicle.

The other members supported the motion.

"I think we're all shooting for a better program," said Dave Griffin, committee member. "I don't like the us versus them feeling (between shop owners and the health department)."

However creating a way to erase past violations after a certain number of passed tests may cause the Board of Health to make penalties more restrictive, said Brian Cowan, Weber-Morgan Health Department inspection and maintenance program manager.

Cowan said he has been told by health department administration that the Weber County penalties are the least restrictive in the state and a move to make them more lenient in one way may create more restriction in another area.

Paskett said removing old violations isn't leniency, it's a reward for good behavior.

The committee is working to set up a meeting with Director Gary House in November to talk to him about creating a way to erase old violations by having a good record, while not making penalties more of a burden for business owners.

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