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EPA Provides $75,000 Diesel Retrofit Grant for Baltimore Fire Trucks and Ambulances

Release Date: 2/25/2005
Contact Information: Donna Heron (215) 814-5113

Contact: Donna Heron (215) 814-5113
PHILADELPHIA – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented a $75,000 Clean Diesel Campaign grant to the Maryland Department of the Environment to reduce tons of diesel pollution each year by retrofitting 37 fire trucks and 26 ambulances in partnership with the Baltimore City Fire Department.

EPA’s $1.6 million grant program, which funded 18 projects nationwide, is designed to provide demonstration projects that will serve as case studies for other communities that are looking at similar projects.

“We congratulate the Maryland Department of the Environment for taking a major step in protecting the health of Maryland residents. Retrofitting Baltimore’s emergency vehicles will reduce the amount of smog and particle pollution in Baltimore, one of the most heavily-traveled urban corridors in the mid-Atlantic region,” said EPA Regional Administrator Donald S. Welsh.

"It is encouraging to see different levels of government working together to address issues affecting our communities, and I thank the EPA for acknowledging and supporting our efforts," said MDE Secretary Kendl P. Philbrick. "This project will have an immediate and noticeable impact on Baltimore. The air will be cleaner in the communities served by these emergency response vehicles. This project will benefit both the general population, firefighters and other key fire department personnel that work along side these apparatus everyday."

The $75,000 grant from EPA, together with a $25,000 contribution from MDE, will cover the cost of installing diesel oxidation catalysts and crankcase ventilation filtration systems on the fire trucks and ambulances. This project will result in reductions of 2.95 tons/year of volatile organic compounds, 0.07 tons/year of particle pollution and 27.65 tons/year of carbon monoxide emissions.

In 2004, Baltimore was designated non-attainment for EPA’s new 8-hour ozone standard and the new fine particle (PM 2.5) air quality standards. Retrofitting Baltimore’s fire trucks and ambulances will help the city come into attainment under both standards through emission reductions because diesel exhaust emissions contain particle pollution, as well as the ingredients for ground-level ozone or smog.

Scientific studies have shown that both ozone and particle pollution can cause significant health effects in sensitive populations such as children, the elderly and anyone who suffers from chronic respiratory problems. Both have been associated with increased bronchitis and asthma attacks and can make normal breathing more difficult.

EPA is working aggressively to help local officials reduce pollution by requiring new diesel engines to meet progressively tougher emission standards. New regulations slated to take effect in 2007 will result in vehicles that are up to 95 percent cleaner than those on the road today. Another national measure will require ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel to be used in all highway diesel vehicles beginning in 2006.

The Clean Diesel Campaign is a national program to reduce pollution emitted from new diesel engines, as well as the 11 million diesel engines on the road today, by 2014. There was an overwhelming response to EPA’s request for proposals for this grant competition. EPA received 83 applications requesting $11 million in funding assistance.