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$3.49 Million in Recovery Act Funds to Help Cut Diesel Pollution, Create Jobs in Pittsburgh Area

Release Date: 08/13/2009
Contact Information: David Sternberg, EPA, 215-814-5548, Guillermo Cole, ACHD, 412-578-8004,

PHILADELPHIA (August 13, 2009) – The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that Allegheny County would receive $3.49 million in Recovery Act funding to help clean the air in the Pittsburgh area. The Allegheny County Health Department will distribute the EPA funds to four projects that will replace and retrofit engines and equipment in four types of diesel fleets operating in the area, creating jobs and reducing asthma rates and other respiratory illnesses.

“These projects demonstrate the potential for local government and partners to improve public health while creating jobs in the bargain,” said Diana Esher, acting director of the Air Protection Division of EPA’s mid-Atlantic region. “This Recovery Act funding will provide the Pittsburgh area with cleaner air and a much needed economic boost.”

“We are grateful to the EPA for recognizing the importance of these four projects in Allegheny County, which will result in a significant reduction in particle pollution in our region,” said Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato. “We have shown our commitment to helping to reduce emissions through the Allegheny County Diesel School Bus Retrofit Program, and we look forward to working with each of the four awardees to make an even bigger impact.”

The Allegheny Health Department partnered with Group against Smog and Pollution and Clean Water Action in selecting projects to compete for a share of $16.1 million. EPA’s mid-Atlantic region received 40 grant applications. Allegheny County is one of seven applicants that won funding.

Most diesel equipment used in transit buses, trucks, locomotives and heavy-duty construction equipment operates for 20 to 30 years. By using the newest, clean-diesel technology built to meet higher air-quality standards, diesel emissions are cut by up to 90 percent, drastically reducing fine particle pollution and other pollutants that contribute to ozone smog.

EPA’s $3.49 million Recovery Act grant to the Allegheny County Health Department will support:

    The Port Authority Transit will use Recovery funds to assist in replacing two 1996-year transit buses with the 2010 newer, cleaner diesel hybrid electric buses and repower nine 2003-year diesel buses with engines that meet the new, higher 2007 emission standards. The transit authority serves people within a 775 square-mile area, including the City of Pittsburgh and all of Allegheny County, with approximately 240,000 daily and more than 70 million riders annually. These transit projects will reduce particulate matter pollution by approximately 0.1 tons per year, carbon monoxide by 2.8 tons per year, and nitrogen oxides by 6.8 tons per year.
    Constructors Association of Western Pennsylvania will use retrofit technologies – engine repowers, upgrades and diesel particulate filters – to upgrade 23 diesel-powered, heavy non-road construction equipment operating in Western Pennsylvania. This membership organization assists heavy and highway union contractors in Western Pennsylvania. It’s estimated that the various upgrades will reduce particulate matter pollution by 1.8 tons per year, carbon monoxide by 14.6 tons per year, hydrocarbons by 2.09 tons per year, and nitrogen oxides by 9.73 tons per year.

    Diamond Head Trucking and MultiServ Corporation are two companies that provide trucking for U.S. Steel. They will install diesel particulate filters on 35 dump trucks operating in and around the U.S. Steel Corporation’s Mon Valley Works. Once upgraded, these dump trucks will be 90 percent less polluting than they are today. It is estimated that these diesel particulate filters will remove 0.22 tons of particulate matter per year, 0.74 tons of carbon monoxide per year, and 3.39 tons of hydrocarbons per year.
      CSX Transportation will replace one vintage diesel switcher locomotive having no emission controls with a two-engine configuration with the latest in emission control technology -- (GENSET) switcher locomotive engine that will serve at CSXT’s McKeesport/Demmler rail yard, near Pittsburgh. This project will bring immediate air quality benefits to the residential neighborhood nearby. Not only will this cut diesel particulate matter by approximately 0.5 tons per year, carbon dioxide by 172 tons per year, and nitrogen oxides by 16.6 tons per year, it will also save 15,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually and provide quieter operation for the nearby residents of McKeesport.

      In addition to helping create and retain jobs and boost the economy, the clean diesel projects will help to reduce premature deaths, asthma attacks and other respiratory ailments, lost work days, and many other health impacts every year.

      President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in February 2009. For information on EPA’s implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 visit:

      For information about EPA’s clean diesel initiatives, visit: For information about the grantees and projects:
      Allegheny County Health Department:
      Port Authority Transit:
      US Steel Mon Valley Works:
      CSX Transportation, Inc:
      Constructors Association of Western Pa: