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EPA Awards Nescaum and DSNY $136,000 Grant for Diesel Vehicle Upgrades

Release Date: 02/24/2005
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For Release: Thursday, February 24, 2005

(#05014) NEW YORK -- Advancing its work to protect the health of sensitive populations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) Exit EPA disclaimerand the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) Exit EPA disclaimera $136,000 grant to retrofit 68 garbage collection trucks that operate in the South Bronx section of New York City. The project will use emission control technologies to reduce harmful emissions from diesel engine exhaust that affects the health of this community. The retrofit program will begin in the spring of 2005 and continue for one year.

"This grant will further EPA's work to significantly reduce the harmful particles emitted from diesel vehicles," said EPA Acting Regional Administrator, Kathleen C. Callahan. "Studies have shown that the South Bronx has a high incidence of asthma, and we know that asthma is aggravated by diesel exhaust. EPA is pleased to support this project to address the health needs of this community."

By combining innovative emissions control technologies, such as closed crankcase ventilation systems, diesel oxidation catalysts and ultra-low diesel fuel, all 68 garbage trucks will be retrofitted to reduce emissions of particulate matter by 33%, carbon monoxide by 41% and smog-forming hydrocarbons by 52%.

"DSNY is proud to partner with the EPA and NESCAUM on this important project in the Bronx," said DSNY Commissioner John J. Doherty. "This grant will enable us to continue our necessary services while maintaining a vigilant and environmentally responsible Clean-Air Program."

Two locations in the South Bronx, Hunts Point and Mott Haven, have been targeted for the majority of the emission control installations. Asthma mortality rates are three times the national average in these districts, and hospitalization rates are seven times higher. Additionally, over 40% of the local population is either under the age of 18 or over the age of 65, the age groups that are the most vulnerable to the impacts of air pollution.

Since July 2004, DSNY's entire diesel fleet has been switched to ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel. It was the first city agency to utilize ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, and the Bronx was the first borough in which sanitation trucks used this fuel. DSNY is among the first fleets in the nation to participate in EPA's Voluntary Diesel Retrofit Program.

NESCAUM was one of the first organizations to recognize the need for controlling emissions from the existing fleet of heavy-duty diesel-powered engines operating in the US, and was instrumental in helping EPA develop its voluntary diesel retrofit program. NESCAUM was instrumental in developing a novel truck stop electrification program that reduces emissions from idling in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the South Bronx.

"The grant project targets diesel emission reductions in an area with significant sensitive populations and will provide direct benefits that will improve the quality of life for citizens of the South Bronx," said NESCAUM Executive Director, Arthur Marin. "EPA and DSNY have been instrumental, along with NESCAUM, in providing leadership in the area of clean diesel initiatives."

During the project, NESCAUM and DSNY will track changes in fuel economy, oil consumption, engine power and drive-ability and performance in extreme weather conditions. NESCAUM also plans to conduct an outreach program to community members on the project and train DSNY drivers about the proper maintenance of the refuse vehicles.

Related Links:
2004 Voluntary Diesel Retrofit Program Demonstration Grants
Diesel Retrofit Grants and Clean Diesel Campaign Announced