Heavy Diesel Truck Pollution Issues

  • There are several components to air pollution. One of the most severe is ozone. Nevada County is presently in violation of Federal Standards for ozone pollution on many summer days. This problem is getting worse without any local increase in ozone.
  • Recently the City of Grass Valley passed a Resolution which states, in part,
    “…RESOLVED that the City Council of Grass Valley will support all reasonable and available efforts to substantially reduce ozone pollution in Nevada County and create a clean, healthy environment for all of our citizens.”(1)
  • “The most significant emissions from heavy-duty diesel vehicles are NOx and particulate matter, both of which contribute to serious public health problems in the United States. NOx emissions from diesel vehicles play a major role in ground-level ozone formation.”(2) The 265 heavy diesel truck trips per day plus onsite mine operations will increase our ozone problem as well as pollution from diesel particulates.
  • We have computed that mine trucks will add AT LEAST 3650 TONS of ozone producing NOx to our air (3)
  • The State of California considers over 40 chemicals in diesel exhaust as toxic air contaminants. Exposure to this mixture may result in cancer, respiratory effects and other health problems. (4)
  • The health risk from diesel exposure is greater for children, the elderly, people who have respiratory problems or who smoke, people who regularly strenuously exercise in diesel-polluted areas, and people who work or live near diesel exhaust sources.
  • We have computed that mine trucks will add AT LEAST 132 TONS of particulates to our air (3)
  • More detail on diesel pollution effects is provided here.


(1) Resolution to Address Health Concerns Resulting From Ozone Pollution in Grass Valley and Western Nevada County.

(2) Heavy-Duty Diesel Engines: Trucks and Buses. Air Quality Impacts, New Hampshire Dept of Environmental Services, ARD-34

(3)Using numbers from the California Air Resources Board 2007 Almanac data for calendar year 2006, we can calculate the amount of pollution added to our air by the mine operation. Based on CARB data, each heavy diesel truck adds 1.8x10-3 tons Nox per day and each heavy diesel truck emits 7x10-5 tons of particulate matter per day.
The assumptions leading to the number of truck trips per time period are not stated in the project application. Neither is the amount of diesel powered equipment that will be used for construction or actual mining. Using the permit application as a source, the number of outbound trucks required is estimated at 128 per day. Using 256 trips per day (both incoming and outgoing) and no factor for mine construction or ongoing mine operations we find that 182 TONS of NOx are created each year of operation. Projecting the 20 year life yields 3650 TONS of NOx. In addition to NOx, diesel engines emit significant amounts of particulate matter. Again using CARB data and the mine application, we find that 6.6 TONS of particulates per year are added to our air ( 132 TONS for the 20 year life span).

(4)Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ) Dangers of Diesel

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