Program to clean engines of diesel equipment

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A $500,000 engine retrofit program for diesel construction equipment in Allegheny County has received its first six applicants, and additional funding commitments from the Heinz Endowments and the Allegheny County Health Department will pay for as many as 30 more.

Heinz and the Health Department each contributed half of the new $1.84 million funding pool for the program that seeks to retrofit bulldozers and other long-lived construction equipment with controls to reduce dirty diesel emissions.

The program, which began in February and is part of the Heinz Endowments' "Breathe Project," has recruited a broad coalition of environmental groups, industry and academics with the goal of improving the region's air quality.

The program is expected to issue its first round of awards in the next two months, according to a joint Heinz news release.

The program is targeting diesel construction equipment because one bulldozer can emit as much airborne particulate exhaust as 500 cars. And such emissions contribute to pollution, climate change and health problems.

Small construction companies located in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County are eligible for the engine retrofit grants which will range from $10,000 to a maximum of $100,000.

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