FWCS Buses Getting Greener with IDEM Grant - June 17, 2014

Record Number: 10919
Displayed from: Jun 17, 2014 , until: Aug 17, 2014

Fort Wayne Community Schools’ buses will emit fewer pollutants after a $314,108 grant from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management paid for the installation of diesel particulate filters on 24 older model buses and the equipment to clean the filters as needed.

Each day, FWCS buses transport about two-thirds of the district’s 31,000 students to and from school, which is the equivalent every six days of transporting the entire population of Fort Wayne. Over the past decade, FWCS has worked to ensure its buses are emitting fewer pollutants. While school buses are the safest way for children to get to school, FWCS wants to make sure pollution from diesel vehicles is reduced to prevent health complications for everyone, especially children.

“Cleaner air benefits everyone, but it is especially important for our students with breathing issues, such as those with asthma, and other medically fragile children,” said Mary Hess, health services manager. “Every step we can take to reduce pollutants in the air is a positive step.”

When new buses are purchased, they come equipped with systems to minimize pollution. The older buses, however, must be retrofitted with equipment to reduce tailpipe emissions, which are precursors of ozone, and, when breathed, can lodge deep in the lungs. The Hug (pronounced Hoog) filters that will be placed on the 24 buses are designed to remove diesel particulate matter at an efficiency rate of 85-99 percent. Over time, however, the filters become clogged and must be cleaned. The IDEM grant allowed FWCS to purchase the cleaning system needed to maintain the filters, allowing them to last longer.

“This grant gives us the ability to further clean up our fleet and keep it clean for years to come,” Transportation Director Gary Lake said. “We appreciate the work of our vendors, Cummins Crosspoint and Selking International to complete this project.”

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.