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Clean Water Current

NACWA Asks EPA to Support Biogas-Derived Vehicle Fuels

May 18, 2022

NACWA submitted comments May 16 to EPA on the Agency’s proposed rule on air emissions from heavy duty engines and trucks, supporting EPA’s overall efforts to regulate emissions from these vehicles but also asking that EPA support and promote fueling them with biogas from wastewater treatment facilities.

EPA’s proposed rule seeks to incentivize the use of zero emission vehicles (ZEV) and near-zero emission vehicles (NZEV) to help reduce nitrogen oxide, particulate and greenhouse gas emissions.  NACWA’s comments support EPA’s work to reduce these emissions and support the proposal’s endorsement of both ZEV and NZEV vehicles. 

However, the comments note that public wastewater treatment facilities use a variety of large trucks for different purposes, including the transport of biosolids, and emphasize the need for flexibility to use NZEV trucks since there currently are not viable ZEV options for these needs. 

NACWA’s comments also noted that utilities across the country are expanding their efforts to recover resources available from wastewater, including biogas that is produced from the anaerobic digestion of biosolids.

Biogas production can be increased through co-digestion of biosolids and food waste, which is becoming more common as communities and states encourage or require the diversion of food waste from landfills. EPA should therefore provide incentives for renewable biogas – whether produced from anaerobic digestion of biosolids alone or co-digestion with food waste – to be used as a vehicle fuel for NZEVs.

Additionally, NACWA’s comments endorsed those filed by the California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA).  Members with any questions on this issue can contact Cynthia Finley, NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs.  

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