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Trash talk: Air quality = higher rates
Manteca may need new place to buy garbage in future
Manteca refuse division worker Rich Clinton dumps a recycling bin. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Manteca residents are recycling more and generating less garbage.

That – along with the switch to the automated Toter-system and one of the most efficient collection crews in the Northern San Joaquin Valley - has keep solid waste rates flat for years.

There are, however, two big rate buster issues looming on the horizon – tougher new air pollution control standards that would force replacement of expensive garage collection trucks and the need to find a future place to bury Manteca’s garbage when room runs out at the Austin Road facility just north of the city.

Manteca had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars placing particulate filters on existing trucks and buying cleaner burning diesel refuse trucks to comply with tougher San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District rules. Now, after bringing the fleet into compliance, the air regulators are proposing changing the rules in the coming months.

If they do, it will require Manteca spending $1 million annually in 2010, 2011, and 2012 to buy trucks that meet new emission standards that are proposed to go into effect by the start of 2013. The new trucks would either be hybrid diesel or possible compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks.

That alone could put pressure to raise rates.

Then there is the issue of burying garage.

The landfill site on Austin Road about eight miles north of Manteca is nearing capacity in the coming years. Tough California laws and the fact no one wants a landfill near their property makes it extremely tough to create new landfills.

“If we need to look for other options such as finding a place to burn the garbage or ship it to be buried in Nevada,” noted Public Works Director Mark Houghton.

Right now, Manteca’s routes are efficient since the landfill is so close. It allows more pick-up collections per hour.

Should it have to be shipped to garbage burning operations or shipped out of state Manteca would have to come up with a transfer station where refuse trucks can dump garbage and then have it loaded on to large trucks or rail. In addition to that cost, there would be the actual cost of transporting Manteca’s garbage.

It is why Houghton said it is important that recycling efforts continue as anything that goes into the brown Toters that isn’t garbage will end up costing ratepayers even more to get rid of in the coming years.