What you flush — and what food waste schools, stores and restaurants toss — will soon power a Manteca Transit bus.
It is part of Manteca’s trailblazing effort to harness its status as a full service city — one that directly controls wastewater treatment, drinking water, and solid waste collection instead of contracting them out — to keep as tight a lid on long-term costs as well as reduce the city’s carbon footprint.
A number of the city’s solid waste collection trucks are already using homegrown fuel created at the city’s “fuel refinery” at the wastewater treatment plant. Eventually all of the city’s solid waste fleet will be powered by compressed liquefied/natural gas.
The fuel is created by combining methane gas — a byproduct of the wastewater treatment process — with food waste collected in city issued orange carts. Since last year, the city has been fueling some of their solid waste trucks that are equipped for CNG-style fuel at the treatment plant.
CNG vehicles emit up to 90 percent fewer emissions than gasoline.
The Manteca City Council Tuesday authorized $574,419 to purchase a Gillig manufactured 35-foot long Compressed Natural Gas powered low floor transit bus. That means later this year there will be one Manteca Transit bus fueling alongside solid waste collection trucks. The bus has a rated useful life of 12 years.
The cost of the new bus is being covered 100 percent by state and federal grants.
The city currently has five gas-powered 24-foot cutaway buses.
The nine-foot longer bus — which looks more like a traditional bus than the current buses that look more like extended, oversized vans — will seat 35 passengers.
The food to fuel endeavor is designed to result in several financial and environmental advantages.
*It diverts food waste — a large chunk of the solid waste collection stream — from being buried. That avoids expensive per ton tipping fees to bury solid waste. It also helps the city meet a pending state mandate to divert more of its garbage from landfills.
*CNG powered vehicles last longer due to less wear and tear on the engine.
*It virtually eliminates methane gas being released into the air at the wastewater treatment plant — sewer gas if you will — that is combined with food waste to create fuel. By doing so it meets strict air quality standards that list methane gas as a major issue.
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