City of Piedmont Leaf Blower Regulations

Piedmont Code Section 12.8.2 (b) regulates the use of gas-powered blowers and the noise created by them. The Code prohibits the use of gasoline-powered blowers in Piedmont.

12.8.2 Prohibited Noise. In addition to the prohibition described in paragraph 12.8.1, the following noise is specifically prohibited: (b) Gasoline-Powered Blower. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a gasoline-powered device used to blow leaves, dirt or other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns or other surfaces within any area of the City except that gasoline-powered leaf blowers may be used by public agencies on publicly owned or operated facilities. (Ord. No. 517 N.S., 3/90)

The regulation has been effect since March of 1990. Residents and businesses operating in Piedmont are required to use electric or battery-powered leaf blowers. Anyone in violation of this regulation could receive penalties of up to $100 for those violating it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are all leaf blowers prohibited in Piedmont?

No. Only gasoline-powered leaf blowers are prohibited. Electric or battery-powered leaf blowers are allowed.

How is this regulation enforced? What are the monetary fines for noncompliance?

The City enforces this regulation on a complaint-driven basis. Potential violators are subject to the standard administrative fines and penalties for violation of the Piedmont City Code which start with up to a $100 for a first violation. The violations will be enforced on the operator of the device.

How do I report a violation?

To report a violation, please call the Piedmont Police Department (510-420-3000).


How can I tell the difference between a gasoline-powered leaf blower versus an electric-powered leaf blower?

Gas-powered, electric and battery-powered leaf blowers can easily be confused with one another. However, there are a few notable differences. In addition to gas emissions, gasoline-powered leaf blowers are far nosier than electric and battery-powered models. Gas-powered devices are often associated with a frequent high-pitched screeching sound (akin to a chainsaw). Electric models may also be noisy, but less so than their gas counterparts. Another difference is in their appearance – that being a two-stroke engine attached to gas-powered leaf blowers, as opposed to an electrical cord or battery.


What if I am a homeowner and my landscape contractor is using a gas-powered leaf blower?

The intent of the regulation is to enforce the ban on the person operating the device. As a homeowner you will want to make your landscape contractor is aware of the ban.


Why should I electrify my lawn care?

Electric and battery-powered leaf blowers are light, simple, easy to use and reliable. No more running out of gas, replacing old spark plugs, or cumbersome and heavy equipment. All you need to do is insert a charged battery, flip the switch, and get to work. Lower maintenance costs mean electric and battery-powered leaf blowers will save you money. Electric equipment is also quieter and safer. The sound associated with using gasoline-powered leaf blowers can exceed 100 decibels – far north of standards set by the World Health Organization. This exposure can lead to adverse health effects such as headaches and hearing loss. Lastly, electric leaf blowers take the need to have flammable gasoline strapped to workers’ backs and help reduce harmful emissions.


How does this regulation help the environment?

Restrictions on the use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers in Piedmont yield multiple environmental benefits. The primary benefit is a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that result from the combustion of fossil fuels, in this case, gasoline. Many gas-powered leaf blowers have two-stroke engines. In these blowers, oil used for lubrication mixes with gasoline for fuel, emitting carbon monoxide, smog-forming particles and fine particulate matter. The California Air Resources Board states, “the best-selling commercial leaf blower, during one hour of operation emits smog-forming pollution comparable to driving a 2017 Toyota Camry about 1,100 miles, or approximately the distance from Los Angeles to Denver.” In addition, by the City only allowing electric and battery-powered leaf blowers, there is a decrease in local noise levels and a reduction of local suspended dust and particulates. Electric and battery-powered blowers generally operate at lower decibel levels and generate more moderate air speeds.


What alternatives are there to using leaf blowers?

If you are seeking an alternative to using leaf blowers, you can simply let leaves lie. As leaves break down, they provide great nutrients for your garden, so consider letting the leaves build up under trees and shrubs to provide a natural mulch. You can also use a rake or broom. Another option is to reduce or replace your lawn. Piedmont’s water and wastewater supplier, East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), offers rebates for lawn conversion. Learn more about the rebate program here.

Where can I find information about purchasing electric and battery-powered leaf blowers?

There are many kinds of zero-emission leaf blowers and other lawn and garden equipment out in the market. Learn about the different types of equipment on the California Air Resources Board’s website here. Electric and battery-powered leaf blowers are available to purchase through a variety of local retailers throughout Alameda County such as Ace Hardware.

What if I currently own a gasoline-powered leaf blower? How do I dispose it?

You must properly dispose your gas-powered leaf blower. Gasoline is considered Hazardous Waste as it contains hazardous chemicals and should never be put in the garbage or poured down the drain. Learn more about where you can dispose residual gasoline in Alameda County here. The leaf-blower equipment itself may be able to be taken to local vendors who accept parts (learn more here).

Where else are gas-powered leaf blowers banned?

Across the U.S., hundreds of cities and counties have passed laws restricting or prohibiting the use of gas-powered leaf blowers. This includes over 20 cities in California, including nearby Berkeley, Oakland, Palo Alto, and Sunnyvale. Starting as early as 2024, the state of California will outlaw the sale of new gas-powered leaf blowers, lawn mowers, and chain saws.