PORTLAND, Ore. -- We flush and we forget. But what if all that waste didn't have to be wasted?
The city of Portland just opened its first natural gas fueling station at its wastewater treatment plant. The city says it's a major milestone for its “Poop to Power Project”.
It might sound gross, but city leaders say it will be great for the environment.
The methane by-product created by treated sewage will be converted into natural gas. That will be pumped into cars without using fossil fuels.
“We'll be taking toxic greenhouse gasses out of the system,” said City Commissioner Nick Fish. “We'll be reducing pollution and returning a profit to our rate payers.”
The city plans to be producing renewable natural gas from the plant in 2019, but will fuel six vehicles at the plant with conventional natural gas in the meantime.
“When they have the renewable natural gas connected they will be the first in Oregon,” said Northwest Natural Director of Environmental Policy & Sustainability Bill Edmonds.
The Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability says trucks running on natural gas cut smog producing pollutants by 90 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent.
The city says excess gas produced will be sold to Northwest Natural at the market rate and that money will help offset rate increases in Portland.