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Mantecas food-to-fuel is cover story
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How cutting edge is Manteca’s wastewater treatment plant?
The city’s operation and staff made the cover of the December issue of Treatment Plant Operator, a magazine distributed to wastewater treatment professionals throughout North America.
The story focuses on Manteca’s food to fuel efforts to take food waste and convert it into compressed natural gas to power the city’s fleet of 20 plus solid waste trucks.
Featured on the cover are Manteca’s Wastewater System Superintendent Heather Grove and Manteca’s Solid Waste Supervisor Jeremy Kline.
The story explores the city’s $29 million food waste-to-fuel project that entails building receiving stations for food waste as well as fats, oils, and grease (FOG), two digesters, gas compressors, fueling stations and a control building.
The system is designed to meet two pressing mandates — diverting food waste from landfills and cleaner burning solid waste trucks — as well as to save money by turning what was once buried into fuel to power trucks. The timing also saves money given the wastewater treatment plant needed to upgrade digesters.
It also will eliminate the burn off of methane gas from the treatment plant. Reducing methane gas is a top priority for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.
At the same time the food-to-fuel project is moving forward, Manteca is getting ready to build a one megawatt solar farm for $3.9 million at the wastewater treatment plant. It will ultimately cut the PG&E bill for electricity to power the plant by a third for an annual savings of roughly $400,000.
Running the wastewater operation are: Dustin Valiquette, chief plant operator; Jonathan Clark, William Jenkins, Justin Nave, Cody Robinson, Chris Rudolff and Josh Zamora, wastewater operator III; and Robert Bennett and Kevin Mello-Hall, wastewater operator II.
The treatment plant is designed to handle 9.87 million gallons of wastewater from Manteca as well as parts of Lathrop to serve roughly 100,000 people. The plant currently processes 6 million gallons of wastewater daily.

Celebrate Green
Friday at a state park
Looking for something different to do the day after Thanksgiving to save money besides participating in Black Friday sales?
You can get outdoors and save money by participating in Green Friday at California State Parks. Green Friday provides free vehicle day use passes for entry to 116 participating state parks on Friday the day after Thanksgiving. Over 80 percent of the available free passes of 10,600 free vehicle passes have been downloaded.
Forty-four state parks still have free day use passes available including Caswell Memorial State Park at the southern end of Austin Road south of Manteca and west of Ripon.
Other nearby state parks with free passes still available for Friday include San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area as well as Pacheco State Park in Merced County and Colonel Allensworth State Park in Tulare County.
It is 190 miles from Manteca (three hours and 15 minutes) to Colonel Allensworth State Park and well worth the drive if you are into history.
The town was founded in 1908 by Allensworth and four other initial settlers. It was financed and governed by African Americans.
According to the state park’s website, “Their dream of developing an abundant and thriving community stemmed directly from a strong belief in programs that allowed blacks to help themselves create better lives. By 1910 Allensworth’s success was the focus of many national newspaper articles praising the town and its inhabitants.
“An unavoidable set of circumstances made it impossible for the residents of this tiny town located 30 miles north of Bakersfield to achieve their founders’ dreams over the long term. But the town did remain home to a handful of families and individuals throughout the 20th century, and true to the courage and resolve of its founders, the town has survived and persevered, earning the well-deserved title ‘The town that refused to die’.”
Free guides, brochures, and additional information on all state parks are available at It is the same site you need to go to in order to download the free passes.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email