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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Clarence Erickson of Hug Filtersystems explains the diesel particulate filters that Fort Wayne Community Schools will install on its buses.

FWCS gets state grant to slash bus emissions

A more than $314,000 state grant will help reduce pollutants emitted from Fort Wayne Community Schools buses, school officials said Tuesday.

FWCS received a grant from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to pay for the installation of diesel particulate filters on two dozen 82-passenger buses.

The grant will also cover the cost of the equipment to clean and maintain the filters, IDEM spokesman Shawn Seals said.

The Hug Filtersystems filters are designed to remove diesel particulate matter, also called soot, at an efficiency rate of 85 percent to 99 percent, Seals said.

The filters work by burning the accumulating soot continuously, he said. Keeping them clean will also save money long-term, Seals said.

The total grant is $314,108, and the school district will contribute an additional $20,000.

“This grant gives us the ability to further clean up our fleet and keep it clean for years to come,” FWCS Transportation Director Gary Lake said.

FWCS buses transport about two-thirds of the school district’s 31,000 students each day, FWCS Spokeswoman Krista Stockman said.

Cleaner air benefits everyone but is especially important to students who have asthma or other breathing issues, said Mary Hess, the school district’s health services manager.

“About 30 percent of our parents tell us their children have asthma or asthma-like symptoms,” Hess said.

Controlling things that trigger asthma attacks is critical to keeping students safe, she added.

“And that’s where a grant like this comes in and is so important to our students,” Hess said.

Selking International will remove the mufflers and catalytic converters from the 24 buses and replace them with the diesel particulate filters.

“DPF filters are the most effective and best solution for addressing air quality in older school buses that have not been manufactured with such devices,” said Joe Selking of Selking International.

“With the addition of the filters, we can bring these buses up to the latest clean and green technology.”