A leaf blower is defined as any portable device designed or intended to blow, vacuum, or move leaves or any other type of debris or material by generating a concentrated stream of air. Leaf blowers include devices or machines that accept vacuum attachments.
In July of 1989, the Montgomery County Council amended the County Noise Ordinance (Chapter 31B, Section 31B-11, Montgomery County Code) to specifically regulate noise from leaf blowers. This amendment became effective July 1, 1990, and was reconfirmed and included in the comprehensive revision of the Noise Ordinance effective on March 13, 1996.
Noise standards for leaf blowers
A person must not sell, buy, offer for sale, or use a leaf blower at any time
that has an average sound level exceeding 70 dBA (A-weighted
decibels) at a distance of 50 feet.
This requirement is in addition to any other noise level or noise disturbance standard that applies under the Noise Ordinance. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) must apply the standard in accordance with the most current leaf blower testing standard of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
Manufacturers, distributors and retailers are encouraged to submit design and performance data to the Department on all units offered for sale in Montgomery County to demonstrate compliance with ANSI standard. They are further encouraged to conform to the labeling recommendations of the ANSI standard. Without such information and labeling, DEP may order suspension of sale of a specific unit until such test and performance data is obtained.
DEP may inspect—and on its request a person must produce—any leaf blower that is sold, offered for sale, or used in the county, to determine whether the leaf blower complies with the law. A person who relies in good faith on a manufacturer's written representation of the sound level of a leaf blower that has not been modified is not subject to a penalty for violation.
It is the intention of the Department to facilitate voluntary and amicable compliance with this ordinance section among all concerned. However, upon conviction, violators are subject to a civil fine of $500 for the first offense, $750 for subsequent offenses, and other relief as allowed by law.
Be Aware! In addition to specifically regulating leaf blowers, the Noise Ordinance further limits the hours of the day during which power tools and lawn and garden equipment may be operated. During daytime hours (7 a.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. weekends and holidays to 9 p.m. every day) power equipment may be operated in excess of the receiving property line noise standards. At all other times the maximum receiving property line limit of 55 dBA for residential and 62 dBA for commercial/industrial properties prevails.
For more information, please contact DEP at 311
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