TRENTON, N.J. — As part of the Diesel Retrofit Law of 2005, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) was required to perform a study and a health risk assessment to determine whether in-cabin exposure to diesel exhaust fine particles could be further reduced by the installation of tailpipe emission control technologies.
The law, which also covered other diesel-powered vehicles aside from school buses, required all school bus owners to install a closed crankcase ventilation system (CCVS). The results of the second of two studies showed that cutting tailpipe emissions with a diesel particulate filter would not “provide a significant further reduction in health risks associated with exposure to fine particles in the cabin of a school bus,” according to the NJDEP. The data from the first study in 2007 could not be used because it was later discovered that the bus used was damaged and would not have passed a state inspection.
The results are good news to the contractors in the state, who are being overwhelmed with the amount of rules and regulations an compliances that come out of the state, according to Tim Wallace, president of the New Jersey School Bus Owners Association.
“It’s a leaking dyke that with not enough fingers to plug the holes,” added Wallace. Having them say enough is enough is maybe a signal to the contractors that the state is finally getting in some rational reasoning that a lot of these compliances are not necessary. Their attitude with the tailpipe retrofit is something that would go along with that rational.”
The NJSBOA is also recently introduced legislation that would increase the life of school buses retrofitted under the Diesel Retrofit Law from 12 years to 15. The legislation is currently stalled because of the budget and economic crisis in New Jersey, but Wallace hopes it will pass during a “lame duck” legislative session or at the beginning of the new legislation year in January.