eBay Pays $79K Fine for Generator Snafu

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eBay Inc. (EBAY) has agreed to pay $79,200 in penalties to The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District (AQMD) announced to settle an air quality permit violation. The penalty dates to August 2007, when the AQMD found that eBay’s data center facility in Rancho Cordova operated three standby generators for several days “for purposes other than maintenance or emergency use.” The district said the generator use resulted in a emissions (including nitrogen oxides and diesel particulate matter) in excess of the limits set by EBay’s permits.

“Bad air is bad for business and discharging harmful pollutants over several days carries a big fine when compromising the air quality and the health of our residents,” said Larry Greene, Executive Officer of the Air Quality Management District (AQMDO)

eBay isn’t the only data center owner facing possible financial penalties for permitting issues with generators.


DuPont Fabros (DFT) recently disclosed in an SEC filing that it has received a violation notice from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) about generators at the company’s ACC4 data center in Ashburn, Va. The state says that DuPont Fabros has been operating some of the 32 diesel generators at ACC4 since June 2007 without an air permit.

“At this time, we do not know what corrective actions, if any, VDEQ may require and we are unable to estimate the amount of any civil penalties that VDEQ may assess,” said the company, which added that it would be indemnified against any penalties by its executive officers.

About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.