Manteca’s bid to be greener on three fronts — reducing methane gas emissions from the wastewater treatment plant, diverting food waste from landfills, and running clean burning refuse collection trucks — will cost sewer ratepayers less green that planned.
That’s because the city has been awarded $1.8 million by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to offset the cost of constructing a compressed natural gas fuel facility at the wastewater treatment plant on West Yosemite Avenue. The CNG will come by blending food waste with methane gas from the treatment plant. The fuel station will be used to fuel city refuse trucks as well as be available for purchase by the public.
The system, including the fueling station, is expected to be operation before the end of 2008.
The project is being overseen by Public Works Deputy Director/Utility Services John Clymo. The grant represents all of the money the air quality board had set aside for alternative fuel infrastructure in the northern San Joaquin Valley.
The food waste is currently being trucked to Harvest Power in Lathrop where it is converted into compost.
Once a facility has been put in place at the wastewater treatment plant, the city will start producing fuel for trucks. A sorting device is also being out in place at Lovelace Transfer Station where food waste for residential Toters will be separated from other garbage and sent to the wastewater treatment plant.
Commercial food waste will be collected separately as it is now. Ad an added bonus, the containers the food waste is placed are locked which also should greatly reduce if not eliminate people avenging through them for food and creating a mess. The waste containers are locked for health reasons to avoid smell becoming an issue as well as to prevent it from attracting flies.
While all cities and counties need to start recycling food waste under state mandate, Manteca is one of the first to go a step further and combine it with sold waste from wastewater to convert it into fuel to power vehicles. The city has started replacing its refuse collection trucks with those that burn natural gas. Eventually as all of the more than two dozen trucks reach the end of their useful life , the entire fleet will be converted. The switch will also help Manteca to meet stringent air standards that are being put in place for the San Joaquin Valley.
Manteca and other California cities must reduce the food waste they bury by 50 percent by 2018 under state law. Food waste — based on a survey made of random residential brown Toters switched out on a collection day that had their contents shifted through by hand — constitutes 35 percent of Manteca’s garbage. While that seems high it is below the state average for food waste in garbage at 40 percent.
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