DEP Awards Clean Diesel Grant to Lancaster County Solid Waste Authority

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The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has awarded $174,048 to the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) to offset some of the costs to replace its fleet of 14 heavy-duty, diesel-powered trucks with 14 new trucks that will be powered by compressed natural gas (CNG).


The authority will use its own funds to install new natural-gas fueling infrastructure at its transfer station complex, which will be used by the fleets it serves and the general public. The authority is paying about $3.9 million to finance the project, which will cost slightly more than $4 million. DEP’s contribution is through clean diesel grant funds, which come out of a September 2012 award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act.


“Clean diesel grants improve air quality by funding projects that reduce diesel emissions,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. “This project will displace 140,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year, reducing annual carbon dioxide emissions by more than five million pounds.”


In addition to the diesel fuel and carbon dioxide reductions, LCSWMA anticipates the new CNG fleet will annually reduce 173,508 pounds of nitrogen oxides; 39,352 pounds of particulate matter; 27,431 pounds of volatile organic compounds; and 1,198 pounds of sulfur oxides.


The Pennsylvania clean diesel program’s goal is to improve air quality by decreasing emissions from diesel-powered motor vehicles. The program supports projects that re-power or retrofit fleet vehicles to curb emissions; purchase and install idle-reduction technology; or purchase clean alternative-fuel fleet vehicles.


Ground-level ozone, a key component of smog, forms during warm weather when pollution from vehicles, industry, homes and power plants “bakes” in the hot sun, making it difficult for some people to breathe.


Fine particulate matter, or PM 2.5, is the main cause of potential respiratory issues. It has a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers, about one-thirtieth the diameter of a human hair. These particles can get deep into the lungs and cause significant health problems. PM 2.5 has been determined to be most closely associated with health effects related to increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits for heart and lung disease; increased respiratory symptoms and disease; and decreased lung function.


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