MDEQ program to provide cleaner buses for Hazlehurst schools

The installation of Diesel Oxidation Catalysts has begun on some of the buses in the Hazlehurst City School District. The DOCs will help protect students’ health by reducing tailpipe emissions. “We have begun this process thanks to support from MDEQ,” said Conservator Jay Reeves. Newer buses do not need the retrofit due to stricter emission standards for diesel engines implemented in 2007.

The Air Division of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) will begin the installation of Diesel Oxidation Catalysts for Hazlehurst School District buses beginning Tuesday this week.

The Diesel Oxidation Catalysts (DOCs) will help protect students’ health by reducing tailpipe emissions. DOCs reduce particulate matter by 40 percent, hydrocarbons by 70 percent, and carbon monoxide by 40 percent.

The funding for the project is a combination of grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Waters Truck and Tractor will conduct the installations.

“We are pleased to work with the Hazlehurst School District, the American Lung Association of Mississippi, and the Mississippi Department of Education to implement this program to provide a healthier situation for students by installation of the Diesel Oxidation Catalysts. School buses are the safest and most efficient way to transport students, but we want to ensure that it’s a healthy trip,” said Trudy Fisher, MDEQ Executive Director.

A DOC is a porous ceramic honeycomb-like structure that is coated with a material that catalyzes a chemical reaction to reduce pollution. There is no maintenance for the DOCs, and they do not affect the fuel economy of the buses.

The diesel oxidation catalysts will be installed statewide on eligible buses built from 1998 to 2006 in participating school districts. Newer buses do not need retrofitting due to stricter emissions standards for diesel engines implemented in 2007. Purchase and installation of these devices will be paid for by MDEQ at no cost to school districts.

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