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IN THE NEWS: Administration Announces School Bus Retrofit Program Installs Pollution Controls on another 72 Buses Serving 32 Communities
August 04, 2010

Diesel Retrofits Lower Emissions by 20-60% in Vehicles that Serve 9,000 Students

BOSTON - Continuing the Patrick-Murray Administrations efforts to promote environmental stewardship, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) today announced that nine new bus owners have joined the growing list of those who have taken advantage of free diesel retrofit installations under the "MASSCLEANDIESEL: Clean Air for Kids"  program. This program encourages the Commonwealth's bus owners to install pollution controls on eligible diesel school buses. There are now 18 participating bus owners who have retrofitted 136 school buses that provide cleaner air benefits to more than 22,000 students.

"These investments will bring cleaner air to communities across the Commonwealth and serve as an example of how small changes can make a big difference to our environment," Governor Deval Patrick said.

Participating in this round of MASSCLEANDIESEL school bus retrofits are: Joseph Ingle Bus Service, Inc. of Hanover, John B. Ormsbee, Inc. of New Marlborough, Acton Public Schools and Acton-Boxborough Regional Schools, the Town of Monson, Southeastern Regional School District, Seekonk School Department, Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical High School in Bourne, and Mohawk Trail Regional School District (MTRSD).

Collectively, these nine private and public bus owners have installed pollution controls on 72 diesel school buses that serve nearly 9,000 students across 32 municipalities in the state. Firms based in New Bedford, Milford and Tyngsboro installed the retrofit devices.

With $16.5 million in state and federal funding provided by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), under an agreement associated with the Central Artery/Tunnel Project, MASSCLEANDIESEL: Clean Air for Kids aims to install pollution controls - known as diesel retrofits - on thousands of diesel-powered school buses across the Commonwealth.

"MASSCLEANDIESEL is the nation's first fully funded, statewide program to reduce air pollution from school buses," Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles said. "Thousands of children ride buses to school each day and this program makes sure that diesel emissions don't ride along with them and compromise their health."

"We are committed to building a transportation system that strengthens communities and supports a clean and healthy environment," MassDOT Secretary and CEO Jeffrey Mullan said.

"The MASSCLEANDIESEL program is a great example of partnerships between federal, state and local officials working together to improve lives for our residents," Education Secretary Paul Reville said. "Our goal is to provide an excellent and equitable education for all our students and that starts with helping them arrive at school healthy and prepared to learn."

"Each retrofit will reduce pollution from the exhaust and result in cleaner, healthier air for everyone," MassDEP Commissioner Laurie Burt said. "This is especially important for children, whose developing lungs are particularly susceptible to diesel exhaust's damaging health effects."

"I applaud the Patrick-Murray Administration for their continued commitment to clean air everywhere, but especially in our school environments," State Senator Benjamin B. Downing said. "These investments build off the 2008 School Campus Air Quality Act, which required all motorists to cease idling cars in school parking lots. Together, these seemingly small steps will produce great strides for the environmental health of our students, teachers and other employees."

Joseph Ingle Bus Service, Inc., a private bus owner located in Hanover, provides transportation services to approximately 2,500 students attending the five schools in the Hanover Public School System, received pollution controls on 16 diesel school buses.

John B. Ormsbee, Inc. a private bus owner located in New Marlborough, received pollution controls on seven buses in its fleet, which transport 325 students to and from municipalities attending the Southern Berkshire Regional School District, including Alford, Egremont, Monterey, Sheffield, and New Marlborough.

Four diesel school buses servicing 500 students in the Acton Public Schools and Acton-Boxborough Regional Schools have also received installation of pollution controls.

The Town of Monson received retrofits on 14 buses in its fleet, which serve approximately 1,100 students in its public school system. "The Town of Monson was proud to participate in the MASSCLEANDIESEL program," said Michelle Loglisci, Director of Transportation for the Town of Monson, "and is happy to reduce emissions for the students and people of the town."

Southeastern Regional School District installed pollution controls on 17 school buses serving 1,200 students from nine communities attending the Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical School in South Easton. Communities served by the district include Brockton, East Bridgewater, Easton, Foxboro, Mansfield, Norton, Sharon, Stoughton and West Bridgewater.

The Seekonk School Department is responsible for installing pollution controls on 10 diesel school buses serving 1,200 students attending four of its public schools. "It was a pleasure to work with MASSCLEANDIESEL to retrofit our buses," said Betsy Frey, Director of Transportation for the Seekonk School Department. "I am very glad this program was available to help the environment and improve the air quality of our state."

Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, located in Bourne, and which serves about 500 students from the communities of Bourne, Falmouth, Marion, Sandwich, and Wareham, retrofitted one diesel school bus.

Mohawk Trail Regional School District (MTRSD) installed pollution controls on three of its school buses, which are responsible for transporting approximately 1,300 students from the communities of Ashfield, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Hawley, Heath, Plainfield, and Shelburne.

By participating in the program, bus owners received a diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC), crankcase ventilation (CCV) system or both. DOCs, which function like catalytic converters in the engine exhaust system, reduce tailpipe emissions. CCVs, which are installed on the engine, greatly reduce the infiltration of blow-by gases from the engine into a bus's interior.

Together, these two add-on components reduce emissions of fine particulate matter (PM - that is 2.5 micrometers in diameter or less) by at least 20 percent or more, hydrocarbons (HC) by 60 percent, and carbon monoxide (CO) by 60 percent. There is strong scientific evidence that PM is implicated in the rising asthma rates in school age children and is also considered a probable carcinogen. HC helps form ground-level smog, and exposure to this pollutant is associated with increased hospital admissions for respiratory distress, such as bronchitis. Exposure to CO can cause headaches, nausea, and death.
     
Shuster Corporation of New Bedford, installed retrofit devices for John B. Ormsbee, Inc., Southeastern Regional School District, and Mohawk Trail Regional School District.  Southworth-Milton, Inc. of Milford, doing business as Milton CAT, installed retrofit devices for Joseph Ingle Bus Service, Inc., the Town of Monson, Seekonk School Department and Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical High School. New England Transit Sales (NETS), located in Tyngsboro, performed retrofit installations on the fleet owned by the Acton-Boxboro Regional School District.

For more information on school bus diesel retrofits, visit: www.mass.gov/dep/air/diesel/masscleandiesel.htm, e-mail program officials at massclean.diesel@state.ma.us, or call the MASSCLEANDIESEL Help Line at 617-292-5809.

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