Let’s Fix This: Berkeley’s Sidewalk-Cleaning Trucks Are Spewing Noxious Emissions

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Update: On September 26th I received this email from the Downtown Business Association, which owns the truck:

“Dave, Thanks for flagging the emissions issue on our pressure washer. This morning our supplier and service company (J&S Powerwashing Equipment) replaced the air and fuel filters, that had not been changed in several months and was causing the emissions problem. They will now make checking these filters and changing them when needs as part of their monthly service schedule. They apologized for not doing so in the past, and Matt Allen will make sure they do so going forward. Please let us know if you have other questions or concerns going forward, and thanks again for raising this issue.”


Watch the video:

I was surprised upon leaving the YMCA this morning to see this Berkeley city vehicle spewing noxious foul-smelling clouds of soot:

This belching diesel mechanism (a ‘Hydro-Tek mobile wash skid’), was powering a handheld washer being used to clean the sidewalk on Harold Way, but you could smell the fumes far around the corner on Allston.

I was surprised that the city employee operating the truck didn’t seem concerned about unleashing a toxic cloud to wash the sidewalk. But it’s not his job to question it… it’s ours.

Has the city has taken a look at the normal carbon emissions of this (and other) machines we use and asked if it’s worth it?

We’re at the point in the climate crisis where we need to look at the carbon emissions of everything we do and ask: ‘do we really need to do this?’

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