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EPA Grant Helps Reduce Diesel Exhaust Pollution at the Great Valley School District and Chester County Intermediate Unit

Release Date: 04/24/2006
Contact Information: Donna Heron, (215) 814-5113

PHILADELPHIA – In the next year, students who ride buses from the Chester County Intermediate Unit and Great Valley School District will be breathing cleaner air. On Monday, April 24, 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced awards to Great Valley School District and Chester County Intermediate Unit to reduce pollution in diesel-powered school buses.

The Clean School Bus USA program awarded $200,000 to Great Valley School District and $175,000 to Chester County Intermediate Unit. Each organization will retrofit approximately 33 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.

“This is good news for the students in the Great Valley School District and the Chester County Intermediate Unit,” said EPA Regional Administrator Donald S. Welsh. “Cleaner buses and cleaner air mean fewer respiratory ailments, and a brighter, healthier future for all our kids.”

The retrofit project, announced this morning at the Great Valley School District Administration Building, is among 37 proposals selected by the EPA for funding from more than 170 applications nationwide. Funding is being provided by a $7.5 million congressional appropriation for EPA’s Clean School Bus USA program.

“As committed partners in ensuring our students’ safety, we are very excited to be recipients of this grant,” said Great Valley School District’s Transportation Supervisor Michael Detwiler. “The funds will allow us to reduce student’s exposure to harmful exhaust from their school buses.”

The grants will be used by both school districts to install particulate matter filters on a total of 66 diesel powered buses and to fuel both fleets with cleaner diesel fuel. The equipment, in combination with cleaner fuel, will reduce pollution emissions from the diesel buses by 60 to 90 percent.

“The Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) is in the forefront of assisting our schools and our communities with services and technologies that enhance the quality of life for all of our residents,” said John K. Baillie, CCIU executive director. “Each year, the CCIU coordinates the bus routes of over 400 children with disabilities from the county’s 12 school districts to nearly 50 locations. This coordination of routes allows the CCIU to decrease costs, conserve gas and reduce pollutants.”

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 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.

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