Construction - Water Pipes

Vehicle Idling Policy


SUBJECT: Vehicle Idling Policy


RENEWED: 6.05-06



Purpose: Air pollution is a major public health concern in Portland Water District’s Service Area. Air pollution can cause or aggravate lung illnesses as well as impose significant economic costs and negative impacts on our quality of life. Exhaust from both on- and off-road vehicles is a source of carbon monoxide, particulate matter, toxic air contaminants, and greenhouse gases. The Portland Water District can play an important role in improving air quality by limiting the amount of time the District vehicles are allowed to idle. As an environmental leader in the water and wastewater fields the District has the responsibility to be a leader by the adoption of effective policies to improve air quality. Under this policy, limitations and guidelines on engine idling are established by the District to reduce the idling of District vehicles.


  1. “Driver” means any person who drives, operates, or is in actual physical control of a vehicle.
  2. “Emergency” means a sudden, urgent, usually unforeseen, occurrence.
  3. “Equipment Operator” means any person who is in actual physical control of a piece of off-road equipment.
  4. “Idling” means the engine is running while the vehicle is stationary or the piece of off-road equipment is not performing work.
  5. “Traffic Control Device” means any sign, signal, marking or device placed or erected for the purpose of regulating, warning, or guiding traffic. “Off-road Equipment” means all non-road equipment such as bulldozers, loaders, backhoes, compressors, etc.
  6. “Vehicle” means any on-road, self-propelled vehicle that is required to be registered and have a license plate by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Scope: This policy applies to all District vehicles regardless of gross vehicle weight rating, all heavy duty vehicles regardless of the fuel being used, all off-road diesel equipment regardless of horsepower rating, and all off-road equipment regardless of fuel being used, except as provided as specific exceptions stated in the policy. This policy also applies to contractors working for the Portland Water District and shall be included in the contract documents. Responsibility: The interpretation of this policy shall be the responsibility of the General Manager.

Policy: The driver of a vehicle shall turn off the engine upon stopping at a destination and shall not cause or allow an engine to idle at any location for: 1. More than ten consecutive minutes or 2. a period or periods totaling more than ten minutes in any one hour period.

An equipment operator of an off-road piece of equipment shall not cause or allow an engine to idle at any location for: 1. More than ten consecutive minutes or 2. a period or periods totaling more than ten minutes in any one hour period The District shall ensure that a driver or equipment operator, upon employment and at least once per year thereafter, is informed of the requirements of this policy.

This idling policy does not apply to a vehicle or a piece of equipment for the period or periods during which:

  1. idling is necessary while stopped:
  2. and the vehicle is being used for a traffic control device (Using strobe lights, light-bars, etc.) to protect employees while working in the street from traffic.
  3. for traffic conditions over which the driver has no control, included but not limited to: stopped in a line of traffic, at a railroad crossing, etc.
  4. at the direction of a law enforcement officer
  5. idling is necessary to determine that the vehicle and / or the off-road equipment is in safe operating condition and equipped as required by all provisions of the law, and that all equipment is in good working order, either as part of the daily vehicle inspection, or as otherwise needed.
  6. idling is necessary for the testing, servicing, repairing, and diagnostic purposes.
  7. idling is necessary, for a period of 3 minutes or as recommended by the manufacturer, to cool down a turbo- charged vehicle before turning off the vehicle.
  8. idling is necessary to accomplish work for which the vehicle / equipment was designed, other than transporting goods, for example: operating a lift, crane, pump, drill, hoist, or other auxiliary equipment other than a heater or air conditioner.
  9. idling is necessary to operate defrosters, heaters, air conditioners, or other equipment to prevent a safety hazard such as melting ice on the windshield, but not solely for the comfort of the driver or passengers for a period not to exceed twenty minutes.
  10. idling is necessary solely to recharge a battery or other energy storage unit of a hybrid electric vehicle / equipment.
  11. idling is permitted when vehicles are occupied by personnel and being actively used as a work station, i.e. TV truck, using computers, etc. I. idling is permitted to provide a habitable environment during breaks during extreme weather conditions, hot or cold (above 80 degrees F or below 32 degrees F)

Discipline: Any violations of the above policy will be subject to the District’s disciplinary procedure.

Expiration Date: This policy will expire one year from the date it was put into effect. During this period of time it will allow the District to evaluate the effectiveness of the policy and decide whether to renew, revise or terminate this policy.

Complaint Procedure: Any concerns about this policy should be directed to the Director of Operations.