Ogden adds natural gas powered garbage trucks to sanitation fleet

Nov 29 2009 - 12:14am

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(MATTHEW HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner) Ray Galas climbs onto his garbage truck to remove trash that someone put into the recycle bin.
(MATTHEW HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner) Ray Galas climbs onto his garbage truck to remove trash that someone put into the recycle bin.

OGDEN -- Ten garbage trucks fueled by compressed natural gas have hit the streets to save fuel costs and protect the environment.

As a result of the purchase, Ogden now has more compressed natural gas vehicles than any other municipality in Utah, said Richard Brookins, the city's fleet and facilities manager.

The CNG garbage trucks were acquired through a $2 million lease/purchase agreement and replace 10 vehicles that run on diesel fuel. The city will auction off the diesel trucks.

It's estimated that the CNG trucks will save the city about $89,000 annually at current fuel prices, said John Arrington, city finance manager.

The CNG trash trucks are easy to spot as they rumble through city neighborhoods. The exterior of each vehicle has a large wrap featuring a big blue diamond symbol used on CNG-powered vehicles throughout North America. The wraps were paid for in part by the Utah Clean Cities Coalition, a non-profit organization which promotes independence from foreign oil.

The city has purchased the CNG trucks as part of its "going green" campaign aimed at reducing vehicle emissions and particulate matter in the air.

"We have positioned Ogden as the world's high-adventure recreation capital, and cleaner air is a vital element of that image," Mayor Matthew Godfrey said in a prepared statement. "With air quality a growing concern along the Wasatch Front, Ogden City is taking innovative strides to promote environmental initiatives that make a positive impact on air quality and the local environment."

CNG is a fossil fuel substitute for gasoline, diesel, or propane that burns cleaner and is safer than other fuels in the event of a spill.

The CNG trash trucks are unique because their fuel storage tanks were installed during manufacturing rather than converting traditional gasoline internal combustion engines, which requires additional tanks to be mounted elsewhere on the vehicle.

The CNG trucks are refueled at a filling station that has been built at the city's public works building at 29th Street and Wall Avenue. The station has a low-pressure system that requires the trucks to be hooked into a natural gas line and left overnight for refueling.

Eventually, a high-pressure pump will be installed, capable of filling CNG natural gas vehicles faster, said Brookins.

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