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News Releases - 1999

Enhanced Vehicle Emissions Tests Scheduled To Begin Feb. 1

For Immediate Release
Jan. 28, 1999
Contact: Julie Neposchlan 217-782-6936
TDD: 217-782-9143

Springfield, Ill. -- The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing that the enhanced vehicle emissions test program with new motorist convenience features is scheduled to start on Mon., Feb. 1.

The new tests target the pollutants that contribute to ground-level ozone (smog). Ozone is a respiratory irritant that can cause health problems, especially for children, the elderly, and people with heart and lung diseases.

Vehicles contribute about one-third of the pollutants that cause ozone, and the metropolitan Chicago and East St. Louis areas currently fail to meet minimum health-based standards for ozone. The enhanced test program is estimated to be twice as effective in reducing pollution.

New features of the test program, such as test stations now being open on Mondays in the Chicago area, additional stations in the East St. Louis area, and a hotline that provides the wait time at a station, are designed for greater motorist convenience. The test will continue to be performed at no cost to the motorist.

"Despite the program's success since it began in 1986 in significantly improving air quality, improved testing procedures are needed to address the problem of high concentrations of ground-level ozone that are still present in Illinois' urban areas," said Illinois EPA Director Tom Skinner. "It is anticipated that this new test, supplemented by our other pollution-reduction programs, will help us meet our goal of healthier air.

"We are all stakeholders in our environment; its future depends on citizens participating in programs like this one. We've worked hard to design the new testing program to be as easy as possible for consumers," Skinner added.

A 1994 Illinois EPA study showed the current program reduced Chicago-area ozone-forming hydrocarbon emissions by 11 percent and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions by 20 percent. East St. Louis-area hydrocarbon emissions were reduced by 5 percent, and CO emissions were reduced by 10 percent (reductions in the East St. Louis area are lower because of the smaller vehicle population subject to testing).

When fully implemented, it is estimated that CO will be reduced by 35 percent and that hydrocarbons will be reduced by 30 percent.

"The enhanced inspection and maintenance program is one of the most effective means of reducing air pollution in the Chicago area", said Brian Urbaszewski, director of Environmental and Health Policy, American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago. "It ensures that a car's emission control system is working properly and polluting less. When combined with other strategies to reduce air pollution, the inspection and maintenance program is vital to lung health."

"When you fix your car's emission problems, you're helping people with asthma breathe easier. That is why the new emissions program is so important to our region," said Karen Lanter, senior director of the American Lung Association, Southwestern Service Area.

While the current test procedure is effective in testing pre-1981 model-year vehicles that have carburetors, new technology is necessary to test newer vehicles' advanced emission-control systems.

The enhanced test uses a treadmill-like device called a dynamometer to simulate typical city driving. It is more accurate in identifying problems with a car's emission-control equipment.

Features of the new test include:

New Test Procedure

  • A certified inspector drives the vehicle onto the test equipment while the motorist and passengers watch from a waiting booth.

  • Most 1981 and newer vehicles will be tested on a dynamometer a treadmill device that simulates driving conditions. Most 1968-1980 vehicles will be tested using the idle test procedure (tailpipe probe).

  • The vehicle's exhaust is captured and its emission contents are identified and measured at different acceleration and deceleration points.

  • The vehicle's gas cap is also tested to ensure that is working properly by preventing fuel vapors from escaping into the atmosphere.

  • If the vehicle fails, the motorist receives a vehicle inspection report and a repair diagnostic report with useful information for making the required repairs.

New Program Features

  • Vehicles will be tested every other year beginning when the car is four model-years old. For example, a 1996 vehicle will be tested in 2000, 2002, 2004, etc.

  • The Clean Air Act Amendments require an expanded testing area. New areas included under the program include 22 new zip code areas in the Chicago metropolitan area and 16 zip codes in the East St. Louis metropolitan area.

  • More stations were built, existing stations were renovated and some stations were closed to accommodate the changing populations, the increased number of vehicles to be tested and the additional time required to perform the test. There will be a total of 28 stations in the metropolitan Chicago area and 7 in the Metro-East St. Louis area.

  • For increased motorist convenience, test stations in the Chicago area now operate Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., while test stations in the Metro-East St. Lous area are open on different days of the week, but now operate on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

  • Motorists will be notified by the Illinois EPA as to when their vehicles are eligible for testing.

  • A new wait-time hotline will help motorists determine when waiting times are lowest.

Tips for Emission Testing

  • Make sure the gas cap in on, and bring the key if yours locks.

  • Leave your engine running at the test station unless you are asked to turn it off.

  • Warm up your vehicle--drive it at least 15 minutes before testing.

  • Call the hotline number listed in your test notice from the Illinois EPA to determine the up-to-the-minute wait time at the station you wish to use.

For more information, call the Illinois EPA at 847-758-3400.

Test Station List Follows

Northeastern Illinois Area Test Stations by Number

01 Waukegan
2161 Northwestern Avenue
Waukegan, IL 60087
Tele. #800-422-7888
02 Volo
26677 West Commerce Drive
Volo, IL 60030
Tele. #800-434-2935
03 Crystal Lake
195 Liberty Road
Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Tele. #800-436-6907
04 Lincolnshire
580 Bond Street
Lincolnshire, IL 60069
Tele. #800-436-7566
05 Wheeling
100 North Northgate Parkway
Wheeling, IL 62090
Tele. #800-437-1018
06 Palatine
508 South Hicks Road
Palatine, IL 60067
Tele. #800-437-1480
07 Schaumburg
1020 East State Parkway
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Tele. #800-437-1675
10 Streamwood
230 Roma Jean Parkway
Streamwood, IL 60107
Tele. #800-437-2632
11 Addison
425 South Lombard Road
Addison, IL 60101
Tele. #800-715-0566
12 Skokie
3555 West Jarvis Avenue
Skokie, IL 60076
Tele. #800-717-0479
13 Chicago-Forest Preserve
6959 West Forest Preserve
Chicago, IL 60634
Tele. #800-722-2024
14 Hillside
4141 West Harrison
Hillside, IL 60162
Tele. #800-722-4161
15 Chicago-Fillmore
5618 West Fillmore
Chicago, IL 60644
Tele. #800-722-4530
16 Chicago-Webster
1850 Webster Street
Chicago, IL 60614
Tele. #800-722-4563
17 Chicago-Wrightwood
4150 W. Wrightwood Avenue
Chicago, IL 60639
Tele. #800-722-4964
18 Chicago-14th Place
527 West 14th Place
Chicago, IL 60607
Tele. #800-722-5759
19 Chicago-43rd Street
1344 West 43rd Street
Chicago, IL 60609
Tele. #800-722-6216
20 Chicago-76th Street
3134 West 76th Street
Chicago, IL 60652
Tele. #800-722-6394
21 Chicago-114th Street
830 East 114th Street
Chicago, IL 60628
Tele. #800-872-0744
22 Bedford Park
5231 West 70th Place
Bedford Park, IL 60638
Tele. #800-872-0844
24 Naperville
435 Weston Ridge Road
Naperville, IL 60540
Tele. #800-872-1320
25 Aurora
1691 Landmark Road
Aurora, IL 60506
Tele. #800-872-1813
26 Joliet
3501 Mall Loop Drive
Joliet, IL 60435
Tele. #800-872-1862
28 Chicago Heights
191 South Halsted Street
Chicago Heights, IL 60411
Tele. #800-872-5701

Northeastern Illinois Area Test Stations by Number
Temporarily Closed for Renovation
in January 1999 - Approximately 4 Months

08 Elk Grove Village
2450 Landmeier Road
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
Tele. #800-437-1716
09 South Elgin
745 Schneider Drive
South Elgin, IL 60007
Tele. #800-437-1891
23 Downers Grove
5106 Walnut Avenue
Downers Grove, IL 60515
Tele. #800-872-0946
27 Markham
3824 159th Place
Markham, IL 60426
Tele. #800-872-4214

Metro East Illinois Area Test Stations by Number

29 Wood River
1710 Vaughn Road
Wood River, IL 62095
Tele. #800-872-8184
30 Pontoon Beach
1000 E. Chain of Rocks
Pontoon Beach, IL 62040
Tele. #800-872-9047
31 Glen Carbon
18 Kettle River Drive
Glen Carbon, IL 62034
Tele. #800-235-9152
32 Collinsville
5414 Horseshoe Lake Road
Collinsville, IL 62234
Tele. #800-238-7578
33 E. St. Louis
1801 East Broadway Street
E. St. Louis, IL 62205
Tele. #800-239-6826
34 Belleville
2315 Old Collinsville Road
Belleville, IL 62226
Tele. #800-243-3324
35 Columbia
324 Southport Drive
Columbia, IL 62236
Tele. #800-245-8662

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