Connecticut local governments swap old grounds maintenance equipment for new
Seventy-six cities, towns and regional school districts will receive nearly $500,000 in funding for the purchase of new, more efficient lawn and grounds maintenance equipment through the Hartford, Conn.-based Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) agency’s Lawn Equipment Exchange Fund (LEEF) program.
Announced last fall, the program gave local governments in Connecticut the chance to both help improve local air quality — because new equipment runs cleaner — and save money on the purchase of new lawn and grounds maintenance equipment such as lawn mowers, leaf blowers and hedge trimmers. The program gave local governments an 80 percent reimbursement for the cost of purchasing new, replacement grounds maintenance equipment.
“The LEEF program was over-subscribed — for every $1 in funds we had available, the program got $4 in requests from governments,” said Paul Farrell, assistant director of the Planning & Standards Division in the Bureau of Air Management at the Connecticut DEP. “It was a win-win — we are helping out municipalities, and we are cleaning the air at the same time,” Farrell told Govpro.com.
“This program is an excellent example of innovative thinking that benefits the environment and the economy,” said DEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty. “The environment benefits because new equipment is significantly cleaner than older equipment, and the municipalities save money and get to purchase equipment that they might not otherwise be able to afford. The funds we awarded will allow for the replacement of nearly 360 older pieces of equipment, resulting in emissions reductions of more than 100 tons over the lifetime of the new equipment.”
The LEEF Program was funded through a $550,000 Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) related to an interstate air pollution case against Ohio Edison, a power company that was found in violation of federal new source review regulations.
The individual LEEF awards were based on the cost-effectiveness of each proposed equipment exchange’s air quality benefits. DEP estimated emission benefits using an Environmental Protection Agency Model with the cost and utilization factors provided in submitted applications. Within the cost-effectiveness framework, other factors incorporated into award allocations included caps on the number of exchanges (eight) awarded and the amount of reimbursement ($25,000) awarded per municipality.
One of the goals of the LEEF program was to reduce ozone in the summer months, so equipment exchanges under LEEF were limited to just summer-type grounds equipment, said Dwayne Gardner, a spokesperson at the Connecticut DEP.
Farrell said no decision has been made yet whether the LEEF program will continue in 2011 or 2012.