A non-profit environmental group that targets smoke-belching school buses statewide is reporting a successful first year. BEEP started testing school bus emissions in February of 2002. Since then, the Bus Emissions Education Program has tested all five-thousand diesel school buses in Iowa, twice. BEEP spokesman Dave DeValois says the program’s inspectors are fanned out all across the state, all the time. The gunk coming out of the tailpipes is rated for the amount of soot they spew using an opacity level. An opacity level of zero is clean air while 100 is solid black smoke. Buses that score a 55 or higher are considered heavy emitters and would fail emissions tests in most states. DeValois says the ratings are given to school bus maintenance crews to be used as a diagnostic tool, so they know which vehicles need the most work. DeValois says there’s no charge to schools. He touts in the past year, BEEP has helped keep five tons of soot from polluting the Iowa air. Also, he says the number of buses classified as heavy emitters was cut in half, from 128 to 63, in the program’s first year. For more information, surf to “www.beeponline.org”.
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