Clean School Bus Program
Riding the school bus is the safest way to get to school. But students exposed to diesel exhaust (off-site) from school buses can experience adverse health effects. Diesel exhaust contains fine particles which can aggravate asthma and cause lung damage. A 2002 Environment and Human Health, Inc. study (off-site) showed that fine particulate levels were higher:
- when buses were idling with doors or windows opened;
- when buses moved through intense traffic;
- when buses followed other diesel vehicles;
- and especially when buses were queued to load or unload students while idling
Maine implements a statewide program to encourage:
- reducing school bus idling and creating no-idling zones around all school facilities
- using auxiliary direct fuel-fired heaters
- using alternative fuels
- retrofitting buses
Past Grant Awards
- Bus retrofits: From 2004-2007 the Maine DEP retrofitted over 500 school buses in 30 school districts covering 86 towns with diesel oxidation catalysts and closed crankcase ventilation systems. Maine’s Clean School Bus Program became a national model and earned the distinction of receiving the Environmental Merit Award from EPA New England.
- Auxiliary heaters: Maine DEP awarded grants for factory installation of auxiliary fuel-fired heaters in more than 120 new school buses.
- Alternative Fuels:
- Maine DEP awarded funding under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) to help Portland Public Schools purchase ten alternative fuel technology compressed natural gas (CNG) school buses from 2003-2012.
- Maine DEP awarded funding under DERA to help MSAD #6 purchase six propane school buses from 2009-2010 and the Town of Scarborough purchase 4 propane school buses from 2010-2011
School bus no-idling signs are available. Contact Lynne Cayting
A bus can burn approximately one gallon of diesel fuel for each hour it idles. Idling wastes fuel and exposes children and drivers to harmful diesel exhaust. Direct fuel-fired heaters on a timer to warm up the school bus engines and cabins in the morning to avoid idling. Direct fuel-fired heaters can reduce school bus idling by more than half; saving money and reducing emissions.
Funding available through September 2013
With National Clean Diesel Campaign funding, Maine DEP will reimburse school districts up to $2,000 for the purchase of direct fuel-fired heaters factory installed on conventional school buses. School districts may seek reimbursement by applying to DEP for grant funds. The first twenty-five buses will be reimbursed through a sub-grant with DEP.
Please contact Lynne Cayting if interested in applying for grant funding for alternative fueled school buses or reimbursement of direct fuel-fired fuel heaters for 2012-2013 at (207)-287-7599 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Information and Materials
- EPA Clean School Bus Program
- EPA National Idle-Reduction Campaign
- EPA Poster “Effects of Common Air Pollutants”
Magic School Bus
EPA, in collaboration with Scholastic Books, created a new book in the popular "Magic School Bus" series for children. The "Magic School Bus Gets Cleaned Up" focuses on health-related environmental topics.