Onorato Announces $3.49-million EPA Grant to Improve Air Quality


Total of 70 diesel engines and equipment will be replaced or retrofitted to cut pollution

Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato today announced the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $3.49 million in American Recovery & Reinvestment Act funding to help clean the air in the region. The Allegheny County Health Department will distribute the EPA funds to Port Authority, Constructors Association of Western Pennsylvania, Diamond Head Trucking, MultiServ Corporation, and CSX Transportation to replace and retrofit a total of 70 diesel engines and equipment, which will cut particle pollution by 2.6 tons annually.

“We are grateful to the EPA for recognizing the importance of these clean air projects in Allegheny County, which will result in a significant reduction in particle pollution in our region,” said 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 organizations to make an even bigger impact on air quality.”

The Allegheny Health Department partnered with Group Against Smog & 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.

“These projects demonstrate the potential for local government and partners to make realistic environmental and public health improvements,” said Diana Esher, acting director of the Air Protection Division of EPA’s mid-Atlantic region. “And with this Recovery Act financial boost, they’ll accomplish their goals and create jobs, too.”

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.

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.

EPA’s $3.49-million Recovery Act grant will support the following projects: Port Authority will use the funds to assist in replacing two 1996-model buses with 2010- model cleaner diesel hybrid electric buses and to repower nine 2003-model diesel buses with engines that meet the new, higher 2007 emission standards. This 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 in Western Pennsylvania. 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 Corporation. They will install diesel particulate filters on 35 dump trucks operating in and around U.S. Steel’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 without emission controls with a two-engine configuration that has the latest in emission control technology.

The GenSet switcher locomotive engine will operate at CSX’s McKeesport/Demmler rail yard, bringing immediate air quality benefits to the residential neighborhood nearby. The project will 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.