Grants Awarded to School Districts for Diesel Emissions Reduction
Posted: 02/23/2012
DES MOINES — Six school districts have been selected to receive up to $38,000 in reimbursement as a match for a new school bus to replace the oldest school buses still in regular use. These six school districts will also receive full reimbursement for retrofits to reduce diesel emissions on bus engines older than 2004 models in their fleets.  

One other school district has been selected to receive full reimbursement for retrofits only. A total of $280,359 will be awarded.

The community school districts receiving the bus and retrofit funding are: Albert City-Truesdale in Buena Vista County, East Union in Union County, North Iowa in Winnebago County, Rock Valley in Sioux County, West Harrison in Harrison County and Westwood in Woodbury County.

One community school district receiving retrofits-only funding is Sibley-Ocheyedan in Osceola County.

Funding is provided by the Iowa DNR through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Diesel Campaign. School Administrators of Iowa is handling administration of the grant on behalf of the DNR. The Bus Emissions Education Program (BEEP) has assisted with grant publicity and other roles.

Judging was based primarily on the strength of each school district’s idling reduction policy, the age and use of the bus to be replaced, efforts each school district makes to reduce air pollution, and efforts made to teach programs and develop curriculum for air quality, mobile source pollution and its effect on the earth’s atmosphere.

Diesel engines are rugged, well-built engines and have a long useful life. Model bus engines 2010 or newer and certified by the EPA reduce diesel exhaust emissions by 95 percent compared to pre-1994 engines. The EPA has determined that retrofits of diesel oxidation catalysts (DOCs) and closed crankcase ventilation systems (CCVs), together on pre-2004 school bus engines, reduce particulates by 25 to 33 percent, hydrocarbons by 42 to 52 percent, and carbon monoxide by 13 to 40 percent depending upon the selected product and bus performance.

DOCs reduce the amount of pollution emitted out of the bus exhaust system. CCVs reduce the amount of pollution in a bus cabin, which enters from the engine and builds as the children enter and exit the bus. These two technologies together reduce the most diesel emissions per dollar than other types of diesel retrofits.

Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of diesel pollution because their lungs are still developing and they breathe 1.5 times the air volume for their size compared to adults.

Diesel engine emissions are responsible for hospital admissions, asthma attacks and other respiratory symptoms, and lost school and work days. Additionally it causes visibility reduction and is a potent greenhouse agent involved in climate change.

BEEP is a collaborative effort to reduce childhood exposure to harmful diesel exhaust. Its objective is to reduce emissions in school bus fleets. The partners include the School Administrators of Iowa, the Iowa Association of School Boards, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Iowa Department of Education, and the Iowa Pupil Transportation Association.

More information about this grant and BEEP is available at:
www.iowadnr.gov/Environment/AirQuality/BEEPSchoolBusEmissGrants.aspx