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EPA Fines Naugatuck Bus Company for Idling Buses

Under a settlement, several bus companies, including that in Naugatuck, will pay a $35,000 penalty and perform environmental projects valued at $131,000.

 

The following news release comes from the Environmental Protection Agency

(Boston, Mass. – Nov. 26, 2012) - To settle EPA’s claims of excessive diesel idling in Connecticut and Rhode Island, a family of bus companies will commit to reduce idling from its school bus fleet of 7,500 buses operating in 16 states. 

The settlement between EPA and Ocean State Transit and STA of Connecticut, both subsidiaries of Student Transportation of America (STA), will address excessive school bus idling and reduce school children’s exposure to diesel pollution. Under the settlement, the companies will pay a $35,000 penalty and perform environmental projects valued at $131,000.

In fall 2011, EPA observed school buses idling for extended periods of time at Ocean State locations in East Greenwich and South Kingstown, R.I. and at STA of Connecticut locations in Danbury, Naugatuck, Higganum, Stamford (two locations), and Groton, Conn.  EPA observed some buses idling for over thirty minutes before the buses left the lot to pick up school children. The state idling regulations in question, which are enforceable by EPA, generally limit idling in Connecticut to three minutes and in Rhode Island to five minutes.

Under the settlement, the companies will implement a national training and management program to prevent excessive idling from STA’s entire fleet of school buses. Through this program, STA drivers, dispatchers, and managers will be trained to comply with state and local anti-idling regulations and to avoid excessive idling. STA will require all of its supervisors to monitor idling in school bus lots, will post anti-idling signs in areas where drivers congregate, and will notify the school districts it serves of its anti-idling policy.

In addition, STA of Connecticut will replace 9 older school buses with new buses that are equipped with state-of-the-art pollution controls, and Ocean State will install GPS units and tracking systems on 117 of its buses to facilitate tracking and eliminate excessive idling.

Idling diesel engines emit pollutants which can cause or aggravate a variety of health problems including asthma and other respiratory diseases, and the fine particles in diesel exhaust are a likely human carcinogen. Diesel exhaust not only contributes to area-wide air quality problems, but more direct exposure can cause lightheadedness, nausea, sore throat, coughing, and other symptoms. Drivers, school children riding on the buses, facility workers, neighbors and bystanders are all vulnerable.

Idling school buses consume about one-half gallon of fuel per hour. Calculations indicate that by eliminating excess idling in its fleet, STA would annually reduce its fuel use by 135,000 gallons and avoid emitting over 3 million pounds of carbon dioxide.

This agreement is similar to earlier settlements with First Student, Inc. and Durham School Services, LP.  After those companies, Student Transportation, Inc. is the third-largest provider of school bus transportation services in North America.  STA operates in: Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Florida, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Texas, Washington, and California.

More information: EPA Clean Diesel Campaign (http://www.epa.gov/otaq/diesel/index.htm)

 

Grumpy Guy November 28, 2012 at 05:34 PM
About frickin time!! I used to live near the bus lot in Naugatuck and winter mornings were the absolute worst. Clear, beautiful morning until you opened a door and got hit with the stink of diesel exhaust. Glad I'm not near them anymore and no matter where I move in the future, I'll always make sure I'm nowhere near the town bus lot.
SuperDave November 29, 2012 at 01:37 PM
I noted someone in my area drives a bus and parks it outside their house during a downtime. When it is cold they leave it idling for up to 20 minutes. I particularly like that the tailpipes of buses are at the exact level at which a car intakes fresh air to the cabin. When I get behind a bus I need to shut dow all air systems. Why can't buses have their exhaust moved higher? And don't buses have to conform to some pollution standard?
Jerry Slomski November 29, 2012 at 04:37 PM
As a bus driver of motor coaches, I need to say something. Our idle time is normally limited to 3 minutes, but during cold weather, it takes a deisel engine much longer to warm up and provide interior heat, so there are some exceptions to the rule. Deisel exhaust is no more carcinogenic that that of a gasoline engine, but because of the particulate and noise, it gets the watchful eye of the EPA. Do people even realize that the same idle time applies to a gasoline engine during the winter months?

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