Yale has agreed to pay the state Department of Environmental Protection nearly $20,000 and provide nearly $440,000 in other restitution as part of a settlement for violating environmental regulations related to its power plants in the mid-1990s.

Under the terms of the consent order, which was signed March 11, Yale officials agreed to pay a civil penalty of $19,955. Yale will also provide $437,398 toward implementing the DEP’s Clean School Bus Program, which aims to reduce school bus emissions through the use of cleaner fuels and emissions control. The University’s violations include failure to operate certain emissions monitoring systems, as well as failure to submit regular reports to the DEP. The citations were associated with the Central/Pierson Sage and Sterling power plants. The majority of the violations occurred in the mid-1990s, according to a Yale press release.

Yale officials will adopt a plan to monitor emissions, comply with sulfur restrictions, report the fuel types the University uses and keep records according to DEP requirements, DEP officials said in a press release yesterday.

In another press release yesterday, Yale officials said the University has hired a private consultant to help the University meet the DEP’s requirements.

Robert Culver, Yale’s vice president of finance and administration, said in a press release that all Yale’s power plants currently conform to environmental regulations. He said a $100 million modernization effort has made Yale’s central power plant more efficient, reducing energy needs despite campus growth, and has cut emission levels significantly.

The majority of the violations relate to that modernization project, which the University carried out during the mid-1990s, Yale officials said in the press release. The University worked with the DEP throughout the project, obtaining all the permits it needed for power plant construction and maintenance, the Yale press release said.

Yale said most of the citations are related to monitoring and reporting issues rather than actual emissions. Yale’s nitrogen oxide emission levels from 1999-2001 were less than 20 percent of Connecticut’s allowable level, while particulate emission levels were under 10 percent of the legal limit, the Yale press release said.

Culver said the University is pleased that settlement funds will be used toward the Clean School Bus Program. DEP Deputy Commissioner Jane K. Stahl also expressed support for the program, which the DEP introduced in January 2002.

“Assuring compliance with air quality regulations and permits is one tool. Putting penalty money to work actually removing harmful emission from the school buses our children ride through the Clean School Bus Initiative is another,” Stahl said.