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Grant Helps Clean Up the Air in Riverhead

Release Date: 04/20/2005
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For Immediate Release: Wednesday, April 20, 2005

(#05036) RIVERHEAD, New York -- Officials from Riverhead Central School District were commended today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for taking actions to curb pollution from 30 of their school buses. The School District installed pollution controls on their buses using $60,000 of a $500,000 grant provided by EPA through NYSERDA to encourage school bus retrofits across NY State. Riverhead is one of two Long Island school districts and one of 11 statewide to receive the grant.

"The job of this department is to serve the residents and students of this district. That is our job and we take it very seriously," states John McCormick, Riverhead Central School District's supervisor of transportation. "School Bus Clean Air issues have been a growing concern across the state as well as here in Riverhead. I am very happy to say that, with the Board of Education's approval to participate in this grant, we have begun to address that concern. Additionally, the idle time of all our buses has been cut back and, when it is available, the buses will use ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel as well. As a result, the air in Riverhead will be a little cleaner for both the residents and our students."

"While school buses are already a safe and reliable way for our children to get to school, we can make them even safer by reducing the amount of harmful diesel pollution in their exhaust," said Kathleen C. Callahan, Acting EPA Regional Administrator. "Riverhead is helping to lead the way to a brighter and healthier future for children everywhere."

The district has a fleet of 90 school buses of various types, with 68 on the road daily. They are all powered by diesel engines. The grant from EPA and NYSERDA has enabled the District to retrofit 30 of its full size buses with diesel oxidation catalysts, which, much like catalytic converters on cars, will reduce fine particles by at least 20%; hydrocarbons by at least 50% and carbon monoxide by at least 30%. EPA estimates that this will remove six tons of carbon monoxide, two tons of hydrocarbons and 1.4 tons of particles from New York State's air.

According to NYSERDA director Peter R. Smith, the grant is part of New York State's Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act of 1996. The Act was a comprehensive plan developed to enhance the environment through the implementation of projects that improve water and air.

The retrofitting consists of two upgrades, the Diesel Oxidation Catalyst Muffler and the Spiracle Filtration System. The Diesel Oxidation Catalyst Muffler reduces pollution in the exhaust through enhanced catalyst performance, and the Spiracle Filtration System further reduces pollution that would otherwise escape through the bus' crankcase. EPA
has verified that these two devices operating as a system are an effective way to control diesel pollution from school buses.

"The retrofitting should make the air cleaner for passengers inside the bus as well as for those who are waiting outside the bus, especially during arrival and dismissal from school," said Mr. McCormick.

John McCormick has initiated programs in mass casualty training, bus safety and emergency drill. The $60,000 grant that Mr. McCormick secured from NYSERDA to install pollution-reducing equipment on 30 of the district's 90 buses, will provide a cleaner, healthier environment for the students, bus drivers, staff and the Riverhead community.

Related Links:
EPA Gives $180,000 to Reduce Pollution from 115 Vineland, N.J. School Buses (June 2004)
EPA Gives $500,000 to Reduce Pollution from Hundreds of New York State School Buses (June 2004)
Clean Diesel Programs
Riverhead Central School District
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)