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Company breaks ground on fueling station
Commission Chairman Jim Boff speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony as Advanced Disposal CEO Charlie Appleby looks on. The two are standing in front of an artists rendering of a planned compressed natural gas refueling station. - photo by Jim Dean

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A waste management company broke ground Friday on an alternative fuel station in north Forsyth.

Charlie Appleby, chairman and CEO of Advanced Disposal, said the site on the Eagle Point Landfill property should be ready by this fall. It will offer some 35 compressed natural gas, or CNG, filling stations for several trucks.

“We’ve been working on this for a while … we’re going to be converting, over a period of time, the fleet in this area, both for Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, to compressed natural gas trucks,” he said.

“Those trucks are presently running on diesel fuel and we wanted to go to CNG for several reasons.”

Those reasons primarily revolve around the environment, he said.

“CNG fuel has a 23 percent smaller greenhouse gas footprint than diesel trucks,” Appleby said. “That’s really important, particularly in Gwinnett and Forsyth counties, where we’re driving through the neighborhoods and communities picking up waste… these [trucks] burn much, much cleaner than diesel trucks.”

Appleby said Advanced Disposal will eventually house about 90 of the compressed natural gas vehicles.

“In the short term, we’ve ordered 27 trucks, which should be in by September,” he said. “We’ll expand from 27 trucks to about 67 trucks in about 18 months, and then to 90 trucks over three years.”

Between the construction of the station and new trucks, the project totals about $22 million. Appleby also noted that Advanced Disposal is working in partnership with Atlanta Gas Light on the effort.

“We’re laying … pipeline to pipe in the natural gas, where it will come into a compressor, which would allow us to use it for our trucks,” he said, noting the process of laying the pipe would begin next week.

“Trucks will come in and park there and actually plug in overnight. It’s called ‘slow fill’ and we will fill the trucks overnight.”

He said it takes the trucks about four to six hours to fuel completely.

According to information from Advanced Disposal, the facility will be capable of producing the equivalent of 445 gallons of diesel fuel each hour.

CNG, according to the information, generates low hydrocarbon emissions and is considered a “clean energy.”

“It burns cleaner and it burns greener,” said Appleby, adding that the project also uses a domestic source of fuel.

“So as we try to break the grip of foreign oil, of Mideast oil, we’d much rather be paying for fuel that’s produced here in the United States and shipped to us through the pipeline.”

Jim Boff, chairman of the Forsyth County commission, attended the groundbreaking ceremony and praised the company, which he noted employs about 150 people at its Forsyth facilities.

“I’d just like to say on a personal note that I’ve been hearing for a long time — I think we all have — about natural gas and its potential,” he said.

“I’m very happy to see not only that it’s being tried here, but that there’s already linkages to other places and other businesses that seem to have been well thought out and bode well for the progress of the usage of [CNG].”