New law limits leaf blower use

SOLANA BEACH — In an effort to reduce hydrocarbon emissions, noise pollution and the amount of debris entering storm drains, the city known as a leader in environmental sustainability began 2011 by banning two-stroke gas-powered leaf blowers.
Council members unanimously adopted the new law in June 2009. But the ordinance didn’t take effect until this past Jan. 1, giving residents, landscapers and gardeners a year and a half to replace existing machines with compliant ones.
Electric, battery-powered and four-stroke gas-powered leaf blowers are allowed and can be used Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Only noncommercial residential is permitted on Sundays.
According to an earlier staff report, two-stroke gas engines waste about 30 percent of their fuel by boosting it out through the exhaust and into the air. The remaining fuel is burned inefficiently, reaching emission levels that would preclude a car from passing a smog inspection.
Leaf blowers also contribute to the discharge of pollutants, specifically organic contaminants, into the city’s storm drain conveyance system.
First-time violators of the new law will receive a warning. Repeat offenders could receive a $100 administrative fine.


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