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Columbus Emission Control Pilot Program a Huge Success

Ohio Environmental Council, February 7, 2013

Wheel loader at Columbus compost facility emits near-zero emissions; 700 pounds of pollution eliminated.

A convergence of government, environmental, and business interests have teamed up to clean up construction equipment at a Columbus composting facility.

The City of Columbus along with the Ohio Environmental Council and HUSS Filters, Inc., added a diesel particulate filter to a 1999 wheel loader operating at the Com-Til Compost facility on Columbus’ south side.

The high-tech filter is designed to trap tiny particles of pollution that blacken diesel exhaust. Particle pollution is more than just unsightly. Because the particles are so tiny, they can penetrate lung tissue and enter the bloodstream, causing heart and lung disease, according to public health agencies.

“The results are truly amazing,” states David R. Celebrezze, Director of Air and Water Special Projects at the Ohio Environmental Council. “More than 700 pounds of harmful pollution were eliminated in the 12 months the wheel loader operated. Columbus has raised the bar for construction equipment fleets.”

“This project demonstrates that when modern emission controls are added to construction equipment, air pollutants are cut significantly,” Mayor Michael B. Coleman said. “The project fits in with our commitment to improve air quality in Columbus and to make Columbus a great place to live, work, and raise a family.”

“We are pleased that OEC and the city are taking strides to clean up diesel engines.  Our active diesel particulate filter, the MK-system, is ideal for safely removing these dangerous particles. With these technologies we can create significant reductions in air pollution making the air safer to breathe without having to limit use of the machine,” said Nick Hobbs, marketing coordinator for Huss Inc.

The wheel loader at the composting facility is a piece of heavy equipment used to load various waste materials into composting bins and processing equipment.

The benefits of the active diesel particulate filter by HUSS Filters (MK+ model) include:

  • 99.9% reduction of diesel particulate matter ;
  • Does not need to be plugged in to be cleaned;
  • Is not reliant upon exhaust temperatures;
  • No secondary emissions related to regeneration;
  • Visual display monitoring system
  • 5 to 45 minutes for cleaning

Reduction in pollution from the installation of this DPF on this wheel loader:

  Yearly reductions (in pounds) Lifetime reductions (in pounds)
PM 2.5 138  2,485
HC 128  2,302
CO 484 8,719

Around the country more and more cities, hospitals, and universities are requiring cleaner construction equipment.  Retrofitting diesel-powered vehicle fleets with modern pollution controls can give fleet owners a competitive advantage, improve worker health, help states meeting Clean Air Act standards, and reduce health impacts in nearby neighborhoods making for a good-neighbor policy by the fleet.

According to the USEPA, diesel exhaust contains harmful pollutants, such as particulate matter (soot), nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, and over 40 air toxins, including benzene – a known carcinogen. This toxic stew contributes to a host of health ailments including asthma attacks, painful breathing, cancer, and preventable deaths. 

According to the EPA, diesel exhaust can:

  • Trigger asthma attacks and cause lung damage, heart disease, cancer, and early death.
  • Cause acid rain, ozone smog, haze, and global climate change.
  • Drive up costs for business from lost work days caused by air pollution-related illness and by forcing counties in non-attainment areas to offset increases in emissions.

Climate Benefits

Diesel engines emit black carbon, which has 2,000 times the warming effect as carbon dioxide. 

“While black carbon is a potent global-warming pollutant, it stays in the atmosphere for only 7 to 10 days,” states Celebrezze. “Cleaning up diesel exhaust can return quick results, buying time to address other, more challenging climate change problems.”

The United States leads the world in black carbon emissions; more than half (57%) are from on- and non-road diesel equipment. 

Funding from the US EPA’s Diesel Emission Reduction Act and Ohio’s Diesel Emission Reduction Grant can help offset a portion of the cost to purchase and install emission control technologies.

Existing rules

The US EPA 2007 on-road rule requires all 2007 and newer on-highway heavy duty diesel vehicles to include diesel particulate filters. In addition, all 2010 and later models are required to have an additional nitrogen oxide (NOx) control installed. Emissions from the newest diesel engines are 95% cleaner than pre-2007 engines. 

The US EPA’s non-road engine rule requires vehicle manufacturers to reduce emissions by 85% from all new diesel construction equipment. The US EPA estimates the full health benefits of these rules will not be achieved until at least 2030.

A video about the Columbus pilot project and diesel clean up can be viewed here.