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Food waste may generate street repair funds
Food waste will create biofuels that generate credits for oil companies to buy which will provide money to repair Manteca streets. - photo by Photo Contributed

That leftover pizza from Straw Hat you tossed in your garbage Toter could one day pay to fix the city street in front of your home.
Helping fund street maintenance is part of the plan the City of Manteca is pursuing to meet stringent state-imposed air quality and recycling standards.
Under a federal law in place since 2007, Manteca can assign what’s called a Renewable Identification Number (RIN) to the biofuel they create. Those RINs constitute credits that oil companies purchase so they meet a federally mandated goal that a percentage of their fuel production is biofuels.
The city — in recognizing that the heaviest truck that goes down most residential streets in Manteca during any given week is a municipal solid waste truck —has identified street repair as a legitimate expense for cost recovery in municipal garbage rates. The proposed rate hike going forward, though, “suspends” the charge. Instead the city will funnel money it receives from oil companies from the sale of the RIN credits generated by creating biofuel frio food waste to the street division.
The city is spending $6.1 million over the next two years to convert food waste to compressed natural gas that will be used to power Manteca’s fleet of more than 20 refuse collection trucks.
State law requires all jurisdictions to divert 75 percent of all organic waste — essentially green yard waste and food waste — from being buried in landfills by 2020. That diversion number jumps to 90 percent by 2025. The city is already recycling green waste. It has also started requiring some schools, restaurants, and supermarkets to separate food waste from the rest of their garbage. Ultimately all significant commercial, school, or institution (such as a hospital) of food waste will need to recycle it. The 90 percent diversion goal will require residential food waste recycling.
In addition the California Air Resources Board requires all jurisdictions and trucking firms to switch to cleaner burning engines. That means 16 solid waste refuse trucks that can cost $350,000 to $500,000 apiece have to be purchased by 2023.
Manteca is able to make the food waste conversion to fuel work because unlike neighboring cities:
uit retained control of both solid waste and wastewater operations by elected not to privatize either service.
uthe municipal wastewater treatment plant as expanded and redesigned makes putting a food waste conversion facility in place feasible.
uManteca’s close proximity to the county’s Lovelace Solid Waste Transfer station just north of the city on Lovelace Road between Airport Way and Union Road makes it possible for Manteca to possibly use the food waste of other jurisdictions such as Tracy and Lathrop.
Having the transfer station as close as it is to Manteca also helps reduce travel time in terms of drivers’ wages as well as wear and tear on the trucks to further help keep costs down.
Public Works Director Mark Houghton noted preliminary discussions have already been held that would involve Tracy sending its food waste to Manteca given the deadline for diversion is nearing and Tracy hasn’t started developing its own internal way of diverting food waste.
The likelihood Manteca will get food waste from other cities to convert into biofuel is high. Statewide; the Air Resources Board anticipates 100 facilities to convert food waste to biofuels will be needed to handle California’s recycling needs.
The city plan calls for a fueling station at the wastewater treatment plant on West Yosemite Avenue where the public will eventually be able to pay to fuel their vehicles that run on compressed natural gas.
The city also plans to develop a new corporation yard at the wastewater treatment plant since the fleet of nearly 30 solid waste trucks would be refueling there on basically a daily basis. That would reduce long term costs of traveling from the current Wetmore Street yard to the fueling station.
The corporation yard project will cost $5 million.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email