Madison (WKOW) -- from Dane County: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $50,000 grant to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to be used to retrofit at least 25 garbage trucks in Dane County that will reduce diesel emissions and fine particle pollution.
Green Valley Disposal Company, City of Madison, and UW-Madison will receive grant funds from the DNR to purchase and install pollution control technology on their garbage trucks.
"EPA, DNR and the Dane County Clean Air Coalition are targeting these garbage trucks because they travel the streets everyday," said Randy Kelly, EPA Assistant Deputy Administrator for State and Local Affairs. "While new diesel engines are cleaner-burning, we must act now to reduce emissions from the older engines that will be around for many years."
The grant is part of EPA Region 5's Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative, a collaboration of federal, state, and local agencies, along with communities and private companies working together to reduce emissions from diesel engines in the Midwest.
Diesel emissions contain large amounts of nitrogen oxides and fine particles (soot).
Nitrogen oxides are precursors of ozone (smog), which is a lung irritant, and fine particles can aggravate respiratory and heart diseases.
EPA has found that fine particles from diesel emissions are a leading public health risk in the Midwest.
"Protecting air quality and assuring a healthy environment for people are important Department responsibilities," said John Melby, Director of the state Department of Natural Resources Air Management Program. "The work of the Dane County Clean Air Coalition partners with EPA funding behind them helps us meet these goals."
The garbage trucks will be retrofitted with EPA-certified diesel oxidation catalysts (DOCs).
According to the EPA, the installation of DOCs can reduce hydrocarbons by 50%, carbon monoxide by 40% and particulate matter (PM) by 20%.
The DOCs will be installed in trucks with engine model years between 2000-2004 -- that segment of the older trucks in each fleet that are likely to be in service for at least another five years.
The DOCs will be installed within the next 12 months.
"Most people don't associate the word "clean" with the garbage trucks that rumble through their neighborhoods every day," said Bill VandenBrook, Fleet Services Superintendent for the City of Madison. "But these changes will help us all breathe cleaner air and live healthier lives."
VandenBrook noted that the City of Madison's recently purchased fleet of model year 2007 garbage trucks will reduce harmful pollution by 90 percent.
"Green Valley Disposal is proud to partner with the EPA, DNR and the Dane County Clean Air Coalition on this important project ," said Jeff Pitcel, of Green Valley Disposal Company. "This grant will enable us to continue our necessary services and make a difference in keeping our air clean."