Breathe Easier: MoDOT, MoDNR Collaborate to Improve Air Quality in Missouri Metros
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri departments of Transportation and Natural Resources are joining forces to improve air quality and public health in the state's metropolitan areas. These efforts will reduce diesel emissions from MoDOT fleets in St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield by approximately 288 tons per year, or about enough to fill 427 Goodyear blimps.
DNR received a $726,227 grant through the Diesel Emission Reduction Act in September. This grant will help pay for MoDOT to retrofit a portion of its fleet with new technologies that will reduce the pollutants that lead to air quality compliance issues. These upgrades will also have an added bonus of increasing the fleet's fuel efficiency.
"Our agency is pleased to work with MoDOT in this important endeavor. It is our hope this project sets an example nationwide and promotes the development of much larger scale projects in the future," said Department of Natural Resources Director Mark Templeton. "Improving air quality is an important mission of this agency, and we diligently work to achieve air quality standards that are protective of public health and the environment."
The Department of Natural Resources will administer the grant over the next two years by reimbursing MoDOT for some of the costs to install emission control devices or idle reduction technology in dozens of fleet equipment, upgrade engines in 17 dump trucks and replace five dump trucks earlier than scheduled with models that meet current Environmental Protection Agency standards. In all, this grant will impact 135 pieces of diesel equipment in the St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield districts.
"As we manage our transportation system, we are very conscientious about how our diesel engines affect air quality," said MoDOT Director Pete Rahn. "That's why MoDOT researches and adopts new technologies that will allow us to better protect the environment and improve the air we breathe."
MoDOT will use a variety of methods to clean up its diesel fleets. Diesel oxidation catalysts, an emission control device, will be installed on some equipment to minimize the amount of emissions that are released into the air. Two forms of idle reduction technology will be used. Some equipment will be outfitted with an automatic shutdown/startup device, which automatically turns off an idling engine without help from an operator and can turn the engine back on if the battery power gets low. Other equipment will receive an auxiliary power unit, which maintains a certain air temperature in the cab without the engine running.
"Installing emission control and idle reducing devices in our equipment will improve the quality of life, and it is a step in the right direction toward reducing the amount of fuel our fleet consumes. We will put the savings we generate right back into our roads and bridges," Rahn said.
MoDOT staff was instrumental in determining the scope of this project and will provide in-kind services to install the devices on its fleet.