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West Chester Area School District Receives EPA Grant to Help Reduce Diesel Exhaust Pollution on School Buses

Release Date: 06/11/2007
Contact Information: Donna Heron, (215) 814-5113 / heron.donna@epa.gov

PHILADELPHIA (June 11, 2007) – In the coming months, students who ride buses in the West Chester Area School District will be breathing cleaner air. Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an award to West Chester Area School District to reduce pollution in diesel-powered school buses.


    The Clean School Bus USA program awarded $325,000 to West Chester Area School District in West Chester. West Chester plans to retrofit 65 of its 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.

    “Diesel exhaust is loaded with fine particles that can be harmful to children who ride school buses, especially those who suffer from asthma," said EPA Regional Administrator Donald S. Welsh. "The Clean School Bus USA program has been working with school districts across the country to upgrade their fleet of buses so students can breathe cleaner air and live healthier lives."

    Funding for this retrofit project is being provided by a $7 million congressional appropriation for EPA’s Clean School Bus USA program.

    “Every day that school is open, the West Chester Area School District transports almost 17,000 children to public, private and parochial schools. Our buses cover 750 square miles on their various routes, which take them up to 10 miles outside district boundaries,” said West Chester Area School District Superintendent Dr. Alan Elko.

    “This EPA grant will enable us to retrofit filters that will reduce emissions on 65 of our older buses,” Elko added. “Our students, staff and the entire West Chester area will benefit from a cleaner environment. Of behalf of the district community, I thank the EPA for awarding us a grant for this purpose.

    The EPA grant will be used by the school district to install particulate matter filters on at least 50 diesel powered buses. The equipment, in combination with ultra low sulfur diesel fuel, will reduce pollution emissions from the diesel buses by 60 to 90 percent.

    Children are more susceptible to air pollution because their respiratory systems are still developing and they have a faster breathing rate. They are especially vulnerable to the effects of diesel emissions. In April 2003, EPA launched its 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 respiratory disease and exacerbate long-term conditions such as asthma.

    For more information on the agency’s Clean School Bus USA program and other issues regarding diesel emissions, visit the agency’s website at http://www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus