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News Releases from Region 02

EPA Provides More Than $1.6 Million to University of Puerto Rico for Projects to Reduce Air Pollution, Conserve Water and Energy, and Prevent Pollution

Contact Information: 
John Martin (martin.johnj@epa.gov)

(New York, N.Y. – December 13, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted a total of $1,648,665 to the University of Puerto Rico to cut diesel pollution from the Port of San Juan, and provide training and technical support to reduce pollution and conserve energy and water in the communities of Juan Asencio in Aguas Buenas and the municipality of Añasco.

“At a time when resources are very tight, it is important that EPA support efforts to protect people’s health and protect valuable natural resources in Puerto Rico,” said Carmen Guerrero Pérez, Director of the EPA’s Caribbean Environmental Protection Division. “These grants will help make the Port of San Juan cleaner, help businesses in Añasco reduce pollution, and help Juan Asencio in Aguas Buenas more effectively manage its drinking water system.”

The EPA has awarded a $1.2 million grant to the University of Puerto Rico to replace 11 old heavy duty trucks that operate in the Port of San Juan and to put pollution controls on 24 others. The Puerto Rico Truckers Association will serve as a liaison between the truckers and the University of Puerto Rico. The project is expected to reduce 309 tons of nitrogen oxide, 151.6 tons of carbon monoxide, 22 tons of fine particles, and 32.9 tons of hydrocarbon pollution. These pollutants are linked to serious health problems, including asthma, lung, and heart disease. In addition, the University of Puerto Rico will provide training for diesel vehicle owners in Puerto Rico and to the public to raise awareness of the environmental impacts of diesel emissions and of the negative effects of vehicle idling.

The EPA set standards for heavy duty diesel trucks and buses reducing their harmful pollution by 90% starting in model year 2007. However, heavy duty diesel engines last a long time and many old diesel engines are still in use. These old engines produce large amounts of pollutants from tailpipes. The EPA awards grants to local governments and organizations to help pay for retrofitting or replacing some of the older diesel engines still on the road.

Under its pollution prevention program, the EPA has awarded two grants, totaling $448,665, to the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez and the Resource Center for Science and Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico to fund energy and water conservation and pollution prevention projects.

The EPA granted $283,709 to the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez to reach out to businesses in the coastal municipality of Añasco and assist them in cutting pollution and energy and water usage. The project includes in-person and online training on water conservation, energy efficiency, and stormwater pollution prevention. The project will target restaurants, beauty salons and auto body shops and will be focusing on pollutants, such as heavy metals, that are identified in a stormwater management plan for Añasco that the EPA developed. The online training developed by the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez under this grant will be applicable to municipalities throughout Puerto Rico. 

The EPA also granted a $164,956 grant to the Resource Center for Science and Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico to provide pollution prevention technical assistance to the community of Juan Asencio in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico. Aguas Buenas is not served by the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA), and must manage, treat and distribute its drinking water. The Resource Center for Science and Engineering will provide technical assistance to help the community run the system more effectively and efficiently. The Resource Center for Science and Engineering will use this work as a case study to develop best management practices that will be shared with other communities throughout Puerto Rico that are not served by PRASA.

For information about EPA’s clean diesel initiatives, visit: http://www.epa.gov/cleandiesel and http://www.northeastdiesel.org.

For more information on the EPA's pollution prevention program, visit http://www2.epa.gov/p2.

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, http://facebook.com/eparegion2.

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