The Air Quality Division of Mecklenburg County’s Land Use and Environmental Services Agency (LUESA) recently received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to continue their Grants to Replace Aging Diesel Engines program (GRADE).
Through this EPA grant, Mecklenburg County Air Quality will award up to $500,000 in sub-grants, to replace or repower select non-road diesel equipment operating in the Charlotte region. The funding can be used to reimburse up to 25% of replacement project cost and 40% of repower project cost for equipment operating at facilities that accept solid waste like:
- municipal solid waste;
- construction and demolition debris;
- land clearing and inert debris;
- yard waste.
The GRADE program is an example of the successful local emission reduction efforts supported by the Southeast Diesel Collaborative (SEDC), a voluntary public-private partnership that is part of the EPA’s national Clean Diesel Campaign. Beverly H. Banister, director of the Air, Pesticides, Toxics Management Division of the EPA Region 4 explains “the SEDC engages in efforts to reduce diesel emissions while working in partnership with our federal, state, and local governmental officials, as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations and private industry from the alternative fuels, construction, energy, freight and transportation sectors, to focus on issues related to reducing emissions from diesel engines in a broad and practical manner.
GRADE is one of only two projects to receive 2015 SEDC funding.
Since 2007, Mecklenburg County’s GRADE program has reduced 432 tons of ozone -forming oxides of nitrogen (NOx) from 283 projects in the Charlotte region. The GRADE projects funded through this recent award are expected to reduce an additional 60 tons of NOx. Non-road mobile sources, like the heavy-duty equipment operated at eligible facilities, contribute approximately 39% of NOx emissions in the Charlotte region.
“GRADE has assisted local businesses that are taking the lead to improve fuel economy and significantly reduce emissions from diesel equipment. These voluntary actions will continue to improve our local air quality,” says Mecklenburg County Air Quality Director Leslie H. Rhodes.
Applications for GRADE funding will be accepted now through June 30, 2015. To be eligible for funding, facilities must operate in one of the following counties: Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Union (NC), and York (SC). More information and the online grant application can be found here. If you have additional questions about GRADE or the application process, please contact Mecklenburg County Air Quality at 704-336-5430.