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EPA Awards $485,000 Clean School Bus Grant to Upper Darby School District

Release Date: 10/7/2004
Contact Information: Roy Seneca (215) 814-5567

Contact: Roy Seneca (215) 814-5567
PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that Upper Darby School District, the largest school district in Delaware County, will receive a $485,000 grant to reduce pollution in approximately 61 diesel- powered school buses.

The new pollution-control equipment to be installed will reduce the exposure of school children to diesel exhaust by substantially reducing soot and other pollutants emitted from school buses.

The retrofit project, announced this morning at the Drexel Hill Middle School, is among 20 proposals selected by the EPA for funding from more than 120 applications nationwide. Funding is being provided by a $5 million congressional appropriation for EPA’s Clean School Bus USA Program.

“The Upper Darby School District deserves a standing ovation for putting together a project that will help eliminate air pollution from diesel-powered school buses in Delaware County,” said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator of EPA’s mid-Atlantic region. “With childhood asthma rates increasing across the country, projects like this will help provide our children with cleaner air to breathe and healthier learning environments. It is part of our goal to protect children where they live and learn.”

The grant will be used to install particulate matter filters on 61 buses and to fuel its entire fleet of 115 buses with cleaner diesel fuel. The equipment, in combination with cleaner fuel, will reduce pollutant emissions from the diesel buses by 60 to 90 percent.

“We need innovative ways of tackling our air pollution problems, and reducing children’s exposure to diesel bus fumes is one of those ways,” said Upper Darby School Superintendent Joseph Galli, Sr. “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the EPA to reduce diesel bus emissions and further protect our children’s health.”

In April 2003, EPA launched the Clean School Bus USA program to help reduce children’s exposure to diesel exhaust. The particles in diesel exhaust can penetrate deep into the lungs and pose health risks including aggravated asthma symptoms and other health problems. Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of diesel emissions, which can cause respiratory disease and exacerbate long-term conditions such as asthma. They are more susceptible to air pollution because their respiratory systems are still developing and they have a faster breathing rate.

School buses provide a vital service, safely transporting close to 24 million children nationally to and from school every day. Cleaner school buses help not only the children who ride in them but their bus drivers, teachers, families, and communities also benefit from cleaner air and reduced exposure to diesel exhaust.

In October, 2003, 17 clean school bus projects totaling $4.7 million were funded, including two in Pennsylvania: North Allegheny School District and Erie’s General McLane School District.

For more information on the agency’s Clean School Bus USA program and other issues regarding diesel emissions, visit the agency’s web site at