The City of Newark, N.J. is purchasing five new sanitation trucks fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG) as part of its goal to convert its entire sanitation truck fleet to this alternative fuel. In addition, the City intends to purchase a number of CNG-fueled street sweepers.

The City of Newark's James Allen said this initial purchase is just the beginning, and that the City plans to buy a number of new sanitation trucks over the next few years.

“Our intent is to purchase an additional 20-24 CNG sanitation trucks over the next four years, which would represent all of our daily-use sanitation trucks,” Allen said.

The City issued a request for proposal for the new sanitation trucks in March and received bids in April. Allen said the City plans to select the bid that meets its needs early this month (July).

In addition to the new trucks, Allen said the City plans to purchase 11 CNG-fueled street sweepers over the course of the next four years, starting this year.

When choosing CNG as a fuel type, Allen said the City didn’t only look at return on investment but rather took a three-pronged approach to upgrading its sanitation fleet. For Newark, the three considerations are economic, environmental, and social, which is in line with the City’s new sustainability plan, announced earlier this spring. That said, Allen said the City anticipates significant savings by purchasing CNG. Allen added that the City intends to issue a request for bids for CNG fuel within the next month.

The project was a result of a partnership between the City’s Division of Neighborhood Services, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the City’s Office of Sustainability, according to Allen.

“It was necessary to purchase new sanitation trucks to replace aging, less reliable trucks,” he said. “The Office of Sustainability presented the cost and environmental benefits of CNG to Neighborhood Services at which point representatives of the three entities collaborated to identify the appropriate bid specifications that would meet the City’s operation and maintenance needs.”

By Greg Basich