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New garbage trucks: Cleaner air and quieter streets in West Valley City

Published October 25, 2011 11:02 pm

West Valley City • Compressed natural gas vehicles cut down on carbon emissions.
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West Valley City • From reduced emissions by its garbage trucks to energy-efficient lights to recycling programs, the state's second-largest city is becoming greener and cleaner.

Nineteentrucks powered by compressed natural gas, the largest fleet of its kind operating in Utah, are now collecting trash and recyclables in West Valley City. Besides reducing the carbon emissions emitted by heavy-duty vehicles by up to 80 percent, these trucks have another benefit.

"It's not only energy efficient, it's quieter," city spokesman Aaron Crim said. "One gentleman missed his pickup because he didn't hear the truck."

On top of that, the city is saving some green in its coffers with this new fleet, which is being officially launched Wednesday by the city and Waste Management.

When the five-year contract with West Valley City's previous garbage collector expired this summer, administrators were expecting a significant jump in cost. Instead, the winning bid by Waste Management to provide trash and recycling services came in only slightly higher, at $2.25 million a year for five years.

Lance Allen, a Waste Management spokesman, said compressed natural gas costs less than conventional fuel but the $300,000 cost of the truck is higher. The company is spending more than $3 million to put in a fueling station at its West Jordan headquarters, which also will be open to the public. Its trucks now fill up at a Flying J in Salt Lake City.

The garbage trucks aren't the first alternative fuel vehicles doing city business. West Valley City has 143 hybrid and flex fuel cars that can run on alternative types of fuel.

West Valley City is going green on another front, installing energy-efficient lights and occupancy sensors and retrofitting its heating and air conditioning systems in city facilities to reduce power consumption. The work was funded by a $1.1 million federal grant and incentives from Rocky Mountain Power, which helped do an inventory of all public buildings and parking lots to figure out how to get the most bang for the buck.

Jake Arslanian, West Valley City's administrative and facilities support services manager, said savings from the changes will be put toward more energy saving projects. And there's an additional benefit outside the city: The products used have to be American-made and any outside work has to be contracted to U.S. companies.

"Hopefully, our citizens will follow our example," Arslanian said of the environmental efforts.

Many are. A biweekly recycling collection, a monthly bulky waste pickup and a program that puts 10 Dumpsters in a neighborhood for a week each year are heavily utilized, according to Crim. The Dumpster program is so popular that the city has to take reservations weeks in advance, he said.

pmanson@sltrib.com

twitter: @PamelaMansonSLC —

Get a look at the truck

P West Valley City and Waste Management will officially launch the new fleet of compressed natural gas garbage trucks at 10 a.m. Wednesday on the west steps of City Hall, 3600 S. Constitution Blvd. (2700 West). A truck will be on display.