Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

August 12, 2009

Buses to get a 'green' injection

Grant will fund anti-pollution equipment

Mike James/The Independent

Ashland — The air in Ashland should be a little bit cleaner by January, because city school buses are to be fitted with anti-pollution equipment.

The federal government will pay for the equipment out of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.

Ashland schools are among 23 districts in Kentucky to get the grants. The district will receive $11,720 to retrofit buses with closed crankcase ventilation systems and catalytic converters, said transportation director Joe Fraley.

Contractors will install the equipment on seven of the district’s 18 buses. The oldest is a 1999 model and the newest is a 2006.

The equipment confines fumes and particles in the engine system.

Ashland also has started a new pollution-abatement and fuel saving idle reduction program, Fraley said. Bus drivers used to leave their engines running during periods of extended waiting under the theory that restarting diesel engines was harder on the systems.

New research has disproved that so district buses now will shut down entirely during waiting periods. Fraley thinks that will cut the district’s fuel costs as well as pollution. “They won’t be spewing forth carbon emissions around the schools,” he said.

Fraley’s crew won’t do the work because the recovery act calls for creating new jobs with the money it distributes. Fraley expects the work to be completed by the end of January.

The district will use the retrofit as educational fodder by having a clean-bus poster contest in September.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.