Combustion engine-powered leaf blowers and string trimmers are those powered by an internal combustion or rotary engine using gasoline, alcohol, or other liquid or gaseous liquid. These devices pose significant health hazards to both equipment operators and Oakland residents, including the discharge of particulate matter, carbon monoxide, unburned fuel, and ozone. They also contribute to climate change by emitting carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and generate significant noise pollution, a paramount concern for Oakland residents.
Oakland City Council unanimously adopted Ordinance No. 13616 C.M.S. on October 6, 2020, adding Chapter 8.64 to the Oakland Municipal Code prohibiting the following on public and private property in the City of Oakland:
- No person shall operate any combustion engine-powered leaf blowers or string trimmers in Oakland in either public or private settings;
- No owner of real property, tenant in possession of real property, or person in control of real property shall allow the operation of combustion engine-powered leaf blowers or string trimmers on the property; and
- No person who owns or operates a gardening, landscape maintenance or similar service shall operate or allow an employee or agent of that service to operate combustion engine-powered leaf blowers or string trimmers.
The City is urging users to replace the combustion engine-powered equipment with electric and/or non-motorized alternatives. Examples of electric equipment can be found at https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/our-work/programs/zero-emission-landscaping-equipment/zero-emission-lawn-equipment.
Penalties (OMC Chapter 1.12) will be imposed beginning in April 2021 for violations related to combustion engine-powered leaf blowers and October 2021 for violations related to combustion engine-powered string trimmers.