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Deconstructing

August 20, 2000|PARDIS MAHDAVI and RACHEL USLAN

For such a little machine, it sure makes a big stink.

Gas-powered leaf blowers made headlines two years ago when the L.A. City Council prohibited their use within 500 feet of any residential area. Now the Department of Water and Power is field-testing an electric leaf blower. As a blower for a better tomorrow, it will emit noise at 65 decibels or below (compared to the 75 decibels of that other machine), which makes it quieter than a household vacuum cleaner but noisier than a hair dryer. Pretty good for a blower whose aerodynamic design will help it reach peak air speeds of 180 to 190 mph. If all goes according to plan, the battery-powered machine will have an early 2001 release at home-improvement and garden centers citywide.

Other vitals? It's about 31 inches long, 13 inches tall and 5 inches wide, weighs between 12 to 28 pounds, depending on battery, and is cord-free. Best of all, there are no exhaust emissions.

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