U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth (KY-3) and Mayor Greg Fischer joined city, state, and federal officials to celebrate $1.6 million in diesel emission reduction grants that will go toward the purchase of diesel filters for city vehicles, and which will combat pollution in Louisville Metro.
Louisville Metro was awarded a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for $1,179,686 from its Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant program, and a $425,880 DERA grant through the Kentucky Division for Air Quality's Clean Diesel Grant program. Both grants will be used to retrofit diesel-powered equipment with technology that will reduce harmful air pollutants.
"By retrofitting this equipment, we protect our citizens from harmful air pollutants while working to improve our environment," said Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3), who supported legislation to authorize the grants. "I am proud to support federal investments in new technologies that will improve the quality of the air we breathe and keep our citizens safe and healthy for years to come."
The funds are being used to install diesel particulate filters (DPFs) on diesel-powered vehicles and equipment -- from street sweepers to tractors to flood-control pumps -- that will greatly reduce the amount of harmful particulate pollution, or soot, emitted into the local air. DPFs can filter out over 90 percent of particulate matter emissions.
Diesel exhaust has been found to have adverse health effects from both short- and long-term exposure, including exacerbating asthma to potentially causing cancer. Reduced levels of diesel emissions will benefit the community at large, as well as people who work in close proximity to this equipment.
"Louisville has worked hard to achieve reductions needed to meet the Clean Air Act's National Ambient Air Quality Standard for particulate matter, and projects such as this are an important part of maintaining and improving air quality," said Fischer. "The city's commitment to this project will have lasting effects and will benefit the community for many years to come."
The Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District (APCD) secured the money and coordinated the project with Louisville Metro Public Works & Assets, the Metropolitan Sewer District, and the Louisville Regional Airport Authority, to install the technology on almost 90 pieces of diesel equipment.
Louisville Metro is retrofitting approximately 70 pieces of equipment -- including solid waste trucks, tractors, excavators, street sweepers, and wheeled loaders -- with DPFs. This equipment is used in neighborhoods, parks, and at project sites throughout the city year-round and in close proximity to residential areas, schools, day care centers, elder care facilities, and other sensitive populations.
MSD is installing DPFs on 14 mobile pumps that are deployed in flood-prone areas during periods of heavy rainfall. These pumps are used in close proximity to residential areas for extended periods of time, and the retrofits will allow MSD to continue to perform a vital function with much less impact on air quality.
The Louisville Regional Airport Authority retrofitted six pieces of equipment with diesel oxidation catalysts (DOCs), which can reduce carbon monoxide by up to 60 percent and can reduce hydrocarbons by up to 75 percent. Hydrocarbons contribute to the formation of ozone, an air pollutant that can be especially challenging in urban areas such as Louisville.