Free retrofit improves school bus emissions

November 3, 2009 9:41:00 AM



Twelve school buses in Starkville are easier on the environment after a Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality retrofit is helping to their reduce tailpipe emissions. 


The Air Division of MDEQ installed the diesel oxidation catalysts on Thursday on International buses made between 1998 and 2006. 


Katrina Patton, secretary for the Starkville School District''s transportation department, said there are about 55 buses in the Starkville fleet. Seven of these were built in 2007 or later. The district runs 45 bus routes, with one bus for each route. Five handicapped buses and a few spares make up the fleet. Nearly one-fourth of the district''s buses received the green modification. 


The retrofits were made possible through a combination of funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. 


Walter Gonsoulin, assistant superintendent for operations, said one of the district''s initiatives is to be safer and greener. He submitted the paperwork necessary for the SSD to be considered, and they were chosen for the work. 


"I think it will be a noticeable effect and I think it will make the air cleaner," Gonsoulin said of the cleaner emissions from the modified buses. "This fits in with our initiative to meet the needs of the community." 


Tommy Carlisle, school district transportation director, said the district was fortunate to receive this benefit at no charge. 


"These things are supposed to burn a little hotter and help burn the smoke better," Carlisle said. 


According to MDEQ, diesel oxidation catalysts are porous ceramic honeycomb-like structures that are coated with a material that catalyzes a chemical reaction to reduction pollution. They reduce particulate matter in tailpipe emissions by 40 percent, hydrocarbons by 70 percent and carbon monoxide by 40 percent. The structures do not need maintenance and do not affect fuel economy.