The food waste you toss out will one day help keep a lid on city garbage collection costs as well as help clean the air you breathe.
The Manteca City Council this month put two key components of its cutting-edge food waste to fuel endeavor out to bid setting the stage by early 2019 for the food scraps you leave on the plate in your favorite restaurant to power the solid waste collection trucks picking up your household trash.
The overall project is pegged at $19.8 million. Of that cost, however, $10.5 million worth of work had to be done anyway at the treatment plant to replace aging digester and build a new digester control building. By doing it in tandem with the food to fuel program small modifications can be done to make the system work. The $10.5 million is being covered by capital improvement funds accumulated over the years in the wastewater treatment plant account from monthly municipal utility charges.
The other major component is a compress biogas fueling facility that will be built at the treatment plant estimated to cost $6,076,785. The city has obtained a $3 million California Clean Energy Grant. The city’s share is being covered by the sewer maintenance and operations account.
That means roughly $6.3 million of improvements not related directly to the digester improvements the city is paying to put in place.
Based on 2016 figures of the city taking the 3,140 tons of food waste or 88.57 pounds per capita that Manteca households and businesses toss out — plus 290 tons of fat, oil and grease known by the acronym FOG that restaurants generate — the city expects to save 270 gallons of diesel fuel a day running its fleet of two dozen solid waste collection trucks. At current diesel prices that represents an annual savings of $310,000 a year.
The project does a number of things. It is allowing Manteca to make needed treatment plant improvements do double duty, save money down the road, avoid costly state fines, help reduce pollution, and even extend the life of solid waste trucks that cost from $250,000 apiece for roll-off trucks that collect large open dumpsters and $360,000 for front loaders used on commercial routes to $400,000 for side loaders used primarily on residential routes.
Manteca, like all other California jurisdictions, is under a state mandate to reduce and eventually stop burying food waste in landfills. All elementary schools in Manteca as well as many commercial generators of food waste — supermarkets and restaurants — are already using orange carts for food waste. Part of what is now being collected is being converted to compost while the rest is being buried until the system comes online. It is practical to only combine a small amount of food waste with green waste to make compost. The goal is to have the collection system working efficiently so when the biogas production facility comes on line there are no hitches.
According to the state, Manteca is significantly ahead of almost all California jurisdictions in tackling the mandate to reduce and ultimately stop landfilling food waste.
The compressed gas fueling facility that will be built at the wastewater treatment plant on West Yosemite Avenue across from the Altamont Corridor Express station will also have sales to the public.
In time, Manteca could also take food waste from nearby cities to expand its fuel production from food waste.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com