Chapter 70.120 RCW

MOTOR VEHICLE EMISSION CONTROL

Sections

70.120.010Definitions.
70.120.020Programs.
70.120.070Vehicle inspectionsFailedCertificate of acceptance.
70.120.080Vehicle inspectionsFleets.
70.120.100Vehicle inspectionsComplaints.
70.120.120Rules.
70.120.130Authority.
70.120.150Vehicle emission and equipment standardsDesignation of noncompliance areas and emission contributing areas.
70.120.160Noncompliance areasAnnual review.
70.120.170Motor vehicle emission inspectionsFeesCertificate of complianceState and local agency vehicles.
70.120.190Used vehicles.
70.120.210Clean-fuel performance and clean-fuel vehicle emissions specifications.
70.120.230Scientific advisory boardComposition of boardDuties.
70.120.902Effective date1989 c 240.

NOTES:

Environmental certification programsFeesRulesLiability: RCW 43.21A.175.


Definitions.

Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.
(1) "Department" means the department of ecology.
(2) "Director" means the director of the department of ecology.
(3) "Fleet" means a group of fifteen or more motor vehicles registered in the same name and whose owner has been assigned a fleet identifier code by the department of licensing.
(4) "Motor vehicle" means any self-propelled vehicle required to be licensed pursuant to chapter 46.16A RCW.
(5) "Motor vehicle dealer" means a motor vehicle dealer, as defined in RCW 46.70.011, that is licensed pursuant to chapter 46.70 RCW.
(6) "Person" means an individual, firm, public or private corporation, association, partnership, political subdivision of the state, municipality, or governmental agency.
(7) The terms "air contaminant," "air pollution," "air quality standard," "ambient air," "emission," and "emission standard" have the meanings given them in RCW 70.94.030.

NOTES:

IntentEffective date2011 c 171: See notes following RCW 4.24.210.
Finding1991 c 199: See note following RCW 70.94.011.
Effective dates1991 c 199: See RCW 70.94.904.
Severability1979 ex.s. c 163: "If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [ 1979 ex.s. c 163 § 19.]



Programs.

(1) The department shall conduct a public educational program regarding the health effects of air pollution emitted by motor vehicles; the purpose, operation, and effect of emission control devices and systems; and the effect that proper maintenance of motor vehicle engines has on fuel economy and air pollution emission and a public notification program identifying the geographic areas of the state that are designated as being noncompliance areas and emission contributing areas and describing the requirements imposed under this chapter for those areas.
(2)(a) The department shall grant certificates of instruction to persons who successfully complete a course of study, under general requirements established by the director, in the maintenance of motor vehicle engines, the use of engine and exhaust analysis equipment, and the repair and maintenance of emission control devices. The director may establish and implement procedures for granting certification to persons who successfully complete other training programs or who have received certification from public and private organizations which meet the requirements established in this subsection, including programs on clean fuel technology and maintenance.
(b) The department shall make available to the public a list of those persons who have received certificates of instruction under subsection (2)(a) of this section.

NOTES:

Finding1991 c 199: See note following RCW 70.94.011.
Effective dates1991 c 199: See RCW 70.94.904.
Severability1979 ex.s. c 163: See note following RCW 70.120.010.



Vehicle inspectionsFailedCertificate of acceptance.

(1) Any person:
(a) Whose motor vehicle is tested pursuant to this chapter and fails to comply with the emission standards established for the vehicle; and
(b) Who, following such a test, expends more than one hundred dollars on a 1980 or earlier model year motor vehicle or expends more than one hundred fifty dollars on a 1981 or later model year motor vehicle for repairs solely devoted to meeting the emission standards and that are performed by a certified emission specialist authorized by RCW 70.120.020(2)(a); and
(c) Whose vehicle fails a retest, may be issued a certificate of acceptance if (i) the vehicle has been in use for more than five years or fifty thousand miles, and (ii) any component of the vehicle installed by the manufacturer for the purpose of reducing emissions, or its appropriate replacement, is installed and operative.
To receive the certificate, the person must document compliance with (b) and (c) of this subsection to the satisfaction of the department.
Should any provision of (b) of this subsection be disapproved by the administrator of the United States environmental protection agency, all vehicles shall be required to expend at least four hundred fifty dollars to qualify for a certificate of acceptance.
(2) Persons who fail the initial tests shall be provided with:
(a) Information regarding the availability of federal warranties and certified emission specialists;
(b) Information on the availability and procedure for acquiring license trip-permits;
(c) Information on the availability and procedure for receiving a certificate of acceptance; and
(d) The local phone number of the department's local vehicle specialist.

NOTES:

Finding1991 c 199: See note following RCW 70.94.011.
Effective dates1991 c 199: See RCW 70.94.904.
Severability1979 ex.s. c 163: See note following RCW 70.120.010.



Vehicle inspectionsFleets.

The director may authorize an owner or lessee of a fleet of motor vehicles, or the owner's or lessee's agent, to inspect the vehicles in the fleet and issue certificates of compliance for the vehicles in the fleet if the director determines that: (1) The director's inspection procedures will be complied with; and (2) certificates will be issued only to vehicles in the fleet that meet emission and equipment standards adopted under RCW 70.120.150 and only when appropriate.
In addition, the director may authorize an owner or lessee of one or more diesel motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating in excess of eight thousand five hundred pounds, or the owner's or lessee's agent, to inspect the vehicles and issue certificates of compliance for the vehicles. The inspections shall be conducted in compliance with inspection procedures adopted by the department and certificates of compliance shall only be issued to vehicles that meet emission and equipment standards adopted under RCW 70.120.150.
The director shall establish by rule the fee for fleet or diesel inspections provided for in this section. The fee shall be set at an amount necessary to offset the department's cost to administer the fleet and diesel inspection program authorized by this section.
Owners, leaseholders, or their agents conducting inspections under this section shall pay only the fee established in this section and not be subject to fees under RCW 70.120.170(4).

NOTES:

Finding1991 c 199: See note following RCW 70.94.011.
Effective dates1991 c 199: See RCW 70.94.904.
Severability1979 ex.s. c 163: See note following RCW 70.120.010.



Vehicle inspectionsComplaints.

The department shall investigate complaints received regarding the operation of emission testing stations and shall require corrections or modifications in those operations when deemed necessary.
The department shall also review complaints received regarding the maintenance or repairs secured by owners of motor vehicles for the purpose of complying with the requirements of this chapter. When possible, the department shall assist such owners in determining the merits of the complaints.
The department shall keep a copy of all complaints received, and on request, make copies available to the public. This is not intended to require disclosure of any information that is exempt from public disclosure under chapter 42.56 RCW.

NOTES:

Severability1979 ex.s. c 163: See note following RCW 70.120.010.



Rules.

The director shall adopt rules implementing and enforcing this chapter in accordance with chapter 34.05 RCW. The department shall take into account when considering proposed modifications of emission contributing boundaries, as provided for in RCW 70.120.150(6), alternative transportation control and motor vehicle emission reduction measures that are required by local municipal corporations for the purpose of satisfying federal emission guidelines.

NOTES:

Finding1991 c 199: See note following RCW 70.94.011.
Effective dates1991 c 199: See RCW 70.94.904.
Severability1979 ex.s. c 163: See note following RCW 70.120.010.



Authority.

The authority granted by this chapter to the director and the department for controlling vehicle emissions is supplementary to the department's authority to control air pollution pursuant to chapter 70.94 RCW.

NOTES:

Severability1979 ex.s. c 163: See note following RCW 70.120.010.



Vehicle emission and equipment standardsDesignation of noncompliance areas and emission contributing areas.

The director:
(1) Shall adopt motor vehicle emission and equipment standards to: Ensure that no less than seventy percent of the vehicles tested comply with the standards on the first inspection conducted, meet federal clean air act requirements, and protect human health and the environment.
(2) Shall adopt rules implementing the smoke opacity testing requirement for diesel vehicles that ensure that such test is objective and repeatable and that properly maintained engines that otherwise would meet the applicable federal emission standards, as measured by the new engine certification test, would not fail the smoke opacity test.
(3) Shall designate a geographic area as being a "noncompliance area" for motor vehicle emissions if (a) the department's analysis of emission and ambient air quality data, covering a period of no less than one year, indicates that the standard has or will probably be exceeded, and (b) the department determines that the primary source of the air contaminant is motor vehicle emissions.
(4) Shall reevaluate noncompliance areas if the United States environmental protection agency modifies the relevant air quality standards, and shall discontinue the program if compliance is indicated and if the department determines that the area would continue to be in compliance after the program is discontinued. The director shall notify persons residing in noncompliance areas of the reevaluation.
(5) Shall analyze information regarding the motor vehicle traffic in a noncompliance area to determine the smallest land area within whose boundaries are present registered motor vehicles that contribute significantly to the violation of motor vehicle-related air quality standards in the noncompliance area. The director shall declare the area to be an "emission contributing area." An emission contributing area established for a carbon monoxide or oxides of nitrogen noncompliance area must contain the noncompliance area within its boundaries. An emission contributing area established for an ozone noncompliance area located in this state need not contain the ozone noncompliance area within its boundaries if it can be proven that vehicles registered in the area contribute significantly to violations of the ozone air quality standard in the noncompliance area. An emission contributing area may be established in this state for violations of federal air quality standards for ozone in an adjacent state if (a) the United States environmental protection agency designates an area to be a "nonattainment area for ozone" under the provisions of the federal Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq.), and (b) it can be proven that vehicles registered in this state contribute significantly to the violation of the federal air quality standards for ozone in the adjacent state's nonattainment area.
(6) Shall, after consultation with the appropriate local government entities, designate areas as being noncompliance areas or emission contributing areas, and shall establish the boundaries of such areas by rule. The director may also modify boundaries. In establishing the external boundaries of an emission contributing area, the director shall use the boundaries established for ZIP code service areas by the United States postal service.
(7) May make grants to units of government in support of planning efforts to reduce motor vehicle emissions.

NOTES:

Finding1991 c 199: See note following RCW 70.94.011.
Effective dates1991 c 199: See RCW 70.94.904.



Noncompliance areasAnnual review.

(1) The director shall review annually the air quality and forecasted air quality of each area in the state designated as a noncompliance area for motor vehicle emissions.
(2) An area shall no longer be designated as a noncompliance area if the director determines that:
(a) Air quality standards for contaminants derived from motor vehicle emissions are no longer being violated in the noncompliance area; and
(b) The standards would not be violated if the emission inspection system in the emission contributing area was discontinued and the requirements of RCW 46.16A.060 no longer applied.

NOTES:

IntentEffective date2011 c 171: See notes following RCW 4.24.210.



Motor vehicle emission inspectionsFeesCertificate of complianceState and local agency vehicles. (Expires January 1, 2020.)

(1) The department shall administer a system for emission inspections of all motor vehicles, except those described in RCW 46.16A.060(2), that are registered within the boundaries of each emission contributing area. Under such system a motor vehicle shall be inspected biennially except where an annual program would be required to meet federal law and prevent federal sanctions. In addition, motor vehicles shall be inspected at each change of registered owner of a registered vehicle as provided under RCW 46.16A.060.
(2) The director shall:
(a) Adopt procedures for conducting emission inspections of motor vehicles. The inspections may include idle and high revolution per minute emission tests. The emission test for diesel vehicles shall consist solely of a smoke opacity test.
(b) Adopt criteria for calibrating emission testing equipment. Electronic equipment used to test for emissions standards provided for in this chapter shall be properly calibrated. The department shall examine frequently the calibration of the emission testing equipment used at the stations.
(c) Authorize, through contracts, the establishment and operation of inspection stations for conducting vehicle emission inspections authorized in this chapter. No person contracted to inspect motor vehicles may perform for compensation repairs on any vehicles. No public body may establish or operate contracted inspection stations. Any contracts must comply with the procedures established for competitive bids in chapter 43.19 RCW.
(d) Beginning in 2012, authorize businesses other than those contracted to operate inspection stations under (c) of this subsection to conduct vehicle emission inspections. Businesses authorized under this subsection may also inspect and perform, for compensation, repairs on vehicles. The fee limitations under subsection (4) of this section do not apply to the fee charged for a vehicle emissions inspection by a business authorized to conduct vehicle emission inspections under this subsection. The director may establish by rule a fee to be paid to the department for the oversight costs for each vehicle emission inspection performed by a business authorized under this subsection (2)(d).
(3) Subsection (2)(c) of this section does not apply to volunteer motor vehicle inspections under RCW 70.120.020(1) if the inspections are conducted for the following purposes:
(a) Auditing;
(b) Contractor evaluation;
(c) Collection of data for establishing calibration and performance standards; or
(d) Public information and education.
(4)(a) The director shall establish by rule the fee to be charged for emission inspections. The inspection fee shall be a standard fee applicable statewide or throughout an emission contributing area and shall be no greater than fifteen dollars. Surplus moneys collected from fees over the amount due the contractor shall be paid to the state and deposited in the general fund. Fees shall be set at the minimum whole dollar amount required to (i) compensate the contractor or inspection facility owner, and (ii) offset the general fund appropriation to the department to cover the administrative costs of the motor vehicle emission inspection program.
(b) Before each inspection, a person whose motor vehicle is to be inspected shall pay to the inspection station the fee established under this section. The person whose motor vehicle is inspected shall receive the results of the inspection. If the inspected vehicle complies with the standards established by the director, the person shall receive a dated certificate of compliance. If the inspected vehicle does not comply with those standards, one reinspection of the vehicle shall be afforded without charge.
(5) All units of local government and agencies of the state with motor vehicles garaged or regularly operated in an emissions contributing area shall test the emissions of those vehicles annually to ensure that the vehicle's emissions comply with the emission standards established by the director. All state agencies outside of emission contributing areas with more than twenty motor vehicles housed at a single facility or contiguous facilities shall test the emissions of those vehicles annually to ensure that the vehicles' emissions comply with standards established by the director. A report of the results of the tests shall be submitted to the department.
(6) This section expires January 1, 2020.

NOTES:

IntentEffective date2011 c 171: See notes following RCW 4.24.210.
Findings2005 c 295: See note following RCW 70.120A.010.
Effective date2005 c 295 §§ 5, 6, and 10: See note following RCW 70.94.017.
Finding1991 c 199: See note following RCW 70.94.011.
Effective dates1991 c 199: See RCW 70.94.904.



Used vehicles.

(1) Motor vehicle dealers selling a used vehicle not under a new vehicle warranty shall include a notice in each vehicle purchase order form that reads as follows: "The owner of a vehicle may be required to spend up to (a dollar amount established under RCW 70.120.070) for repairs if the vehicle does not meet the vehicle emission standards under this chapter. Unless expressly warranted by the motor vehicle dealer, the dealer is not warranting that this vehicle will pass any emission tests required by federal or state law."
(2) The signature of the purchaser on the notice required under subsection (1) of this section shall constitute a valid disclaimer of any implied warranty by the dealer as to a vehicle's compliance with any emission standards.
(3) The disclosure requirement of subsection (1) of this section applies to all motor vehicle dealers located in counties where state emission inspections are required.

NOTES:

Finding1991 c 199: See note following RCW 70.94.011.
Effective dates1991 c 199: See RCW 70.94.904.



Clean-fuel performance and clean-fuel vehicle emissions specifications.

By July 1, 1992, the department shall develop, in cooperation with the departments of *general administration and transportation, and Washington State University, aggressive clean-fuel performance and clean-fuel vehicle emissions specifications including clean-fuel vehicle conversion equipment. To the extent possible, such specifications shall be equivalent for all fuel types. In developing such specifications the department shall consider the requirements of the clean air act and the findings of the environmental protection agency, other states, the American petroleum institute, the gas research institute, and the motor vehicles manufacturers association.

NOTES:

*Reviser's note: The "department of general administration" was renamed the "department of enterprise services" by 2011 1st sp.s. c 43 § 107.
FindingsIntentPart headings not lawEffective date1996 c 186: See notes following RCW 43.330.904.
Finding1991 c 199: See note following RCW 70.94.011.
Effective dates1991 c 199: See RCW 70.94.904.
Clean-fuel grants: RCW 70.94.960.



Scientific advisory boardComposition of boardDuties.

The department shall establish a scientific advisory board to review plans to establish or expand the geographic area where an inspection and maintenance system for motor vehicle emissions is required. The board shall consist of three to five members. All members shall have at least a master's degree in physics, chemistry, or engineering, or a closely related field. No member may be a current employee of a local air pollution control authority, the department, the United States environmental protection agency, or a company that may benefit from a review by the board.
The board shall review an inspection and maintenance plan at the request of a local air pollution control authority, the department, or by a petition of at least fifty people living within the proposed boundaries of a vehicle emission inspection and maintenance system. The entity or entities requesting a scientific review may include specific issues for the board to consider in its review. The board shall limit its review to matters of science and shall not provide advice on penalties or issues that are strictly legal in nature.
The board shall provide a complete written review to the department. If the board members are not in agreement as to the scientific merit of any issue under review, the board may include a dissenting opinion in its report to the department. The department shall immediately make copies available to the local air pollution control authority and to the public.
The department shall conduct a public hearing, within the area affected by the proposed rule, if any significant aspect of the rule is in conflict with a majority opinion of the board. The department shall include in its responsiveness summary the rationale for including a rule that is not consistent with the review of the board, including a response to the issues raised at the public hearing.
Members shall be reimbursed for travel expenses as provided in RCW 43.03.050 and 43.03.060.



Effective date1989 c 240.

This act shall take effect January 1, 1990.