Two school districts in Illinois and Ohio are cleaning up their bus fleets thanks to funding from the EPA Clean School Bus grant program. Zanesville City Schools, located about 55 miles east of Columbus, Ohio, received $62,298 to install diesel oxidation catalysts (DOCs) and anti-idling equipment on 21 buses as well as emission-reduction equipment on 10 more.
The district stated their students will now have cleaner air to breathe, as this equipment is expected to eliminate 46.2 pounds of fine particle pollution, 326 pounds of carbon monoxide, nearly 980 pounds of nitrogen oxides and 73.8 pounds of hydrocarbons annually.
Fine particles, or particulate matter (PM), can aggravate respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis. Children are most susceptible to this type of air pollution because their lungs and respiratory systems are still developing. Retrofitting school buses can reduce PM pollution in diesel exhaust from 20 to 90 percent, depending on the type of control equipment.
In June, the Ohio EPA announced these additional grants: for Austintown Local Schools, $1,070,880 to replace fourteen 1989–1997 diesel school buses with 2013 propane-fueled buses; for Canton City Schools, $462,515 to replace four 1992 diesel school buses with 2013 CNG-fueled buses; and for First Student, Inc. in Clark, Franklin, Hamilton, Lorain, Lucas, and Montgomery Counties, $538,128 to replace the engine components of thirty-six 1997-2001 diesel school buses with model year 2013 diesel buses.
The next grant application deadline is March 1, 2014.
Meanwhile, at a Hoopeston Area (Ill.) school board meeting last Thursday, Transportation Director Mark Eighner reported the receipt of a $50,000 grant check from the Illinois EPA Clean School Bus program, which went toward the purchase of two propane-powered school buses.
Eighner also reported the district had already saved $9,000 in fuel costs since the propane autogas buses rolled out at the start of the school year. He noted that in January the district would receive a 50-cent per gallon discount from the state on the fuel and a rebate of $4,000 per propane bus.
The Illinois Alternate Fuels Rebate Program offers rebates to local businesses and school districts using E85 or biodiesel fuels (20-percent blend or higher), for purchasing a new alternate fuel vehicle or for converting a conventional vehicle to alternate fuel. Rebate applications for 2013 must be submitted by Jan. 31, 2014.