Residents of the Chicagoland area and Great Lakes region may be breathing easier as early as this fall thanks to a federal grant that will partially fund work by a Northwest Indiana nonprofit to improve air quality over Lake Michigan.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative has awarded a grant of more than $630,000 to South Shore Clean Cities Inc. The nonprofit organization will manage a $1.2 million project in which older, diesel-powered marine vessels will be retrofitted with newer, more efficient and environmentally friendly technology. The remaining cost will be funded by a match from a private organization.
Carl Lisek, co-owner and vice president of Legacy Environmental Services based at the Purdue Research Park of Northwest Indiana in AmeriPlex at the Crossroads, is coordinator of South Shore Clean Cities.
"Lake Michigan's air quality affects the health of millions of Americans," he said. "My colleagues at South Shore Clean Cities and I are undertaking this project to help residents literally breathe easier and avoid aggravation of chronic health conditions. The EPA grant also will strengthen the state of Indiana's reputation in developing environmentally friendly, sustainable power."
According to an EPA news release, diesel engines annually emit 333,000 tons of soot and 7.3 million tons of smog-forming nitrogen oxides. Officials at South Shore Clean Cities estimate that retrofitting two marine vessels on Lake Michigan with more environmentally friendly technology would lower annual emissions by 26 tons of carbon dioxide, 11.9 tons of nitrogen oxide and 1,200 pounds of particulate matter.