ST. LOUIS — Seven school districts in Jefferson County, Mo., will receive a total of $300,000 to retrofit diesel school buses to reduce emissions.
The funding comes from lead producer the Doe Run Co. as part of a 2010 settlement with the U.S. EPA.
Selected to receive grants are the Hillsboro, Jefferson R-VII, Windsor, Dunklin, De Soto, Grandview and Festus school districts.
The grant availability was announced earlier this year.
The retrofit program aims to reduce emissions by up to 90% on retrofitted buses. Through the grant application process, each school district requested funding for specific upgrades to its vehicles. Officials said that in most cases, districts needed assistance in reducing the amount of time buses spend idling in the winter.
Central States Bus Sales will perform the retrofits.
“During the cold months, school buses need to warm up for about one hour to keep students warm and to run effectively, which increases fuel costs and air emissions,” said Bill Schlueter, director of service and warranty at Central States. “By installing idle-reduction technology, an independent, direct-fired heater that operates on a timer will warm the engine and the cabin of the bus without running the engine, decreasing idle time from hours to just minutes each day.”
After Central States retrofits the engines, the school districts will be required to report emission reductions and other performance improvements.