Protecting Our Environment
Fargo has received national recognition for its efforts to protect the environment. The Earth Day Network ranked Fargo as the number one urban environment in its evaluation of 72 cities across the country. The evaluation was based on seven factors, including air quality, toxics and waste, and drinking and surface water.
Fargo city leaders are continually looking for ways to add environmentally friendly features to the city's buildings and operations.
Features currently in place
The city's new landfill transfer station and baling facility will greatly reduce the amount of litter being scattered by the wind at the landfill.
The new facility allows garbage to be unloaded indoors and baled prior to its placement in the landfill. The building design utilizes renewable energy resources available at the landfill, including methane gas, solar energy and wind energy. The methane gas is placed in a generator to produce electricity for sale to a local power cooperative. Exhaust and engine heat from the generator are used to help heat the transfer station; solar panels and a wind turbine supply electricity to the station. Avoided cost and new sales of electricity are projected to generate more than $370,000 annually on a $1 million investment.
The people at MATBUS know that not only is fuel expensive, but it can have a negative impact on our environment. To reduce their carbon footprint MAT has implemented the following practices.
Fuel use: To reduce its carbon footprint, MATBUS uses 20% blended biodiesel fuel during summer months and 2% blended biodiesel fuel during the winter. Biodiesel is made from soybean and other vegetable oils, animal fats, or recycled cooking grease or oil. Biodiesel releases less carbon dioxide and particulate matter than traditional diesel fuel.
Power generator: The Metro Transit garage has a power generator available to use during times of peak energy use to save on costs and reduce pressure on our power grids.
Water reclamation: Water in the MATBUS buswash is funneled into a tank where it is stored, cleaned and re-used. This helps save energy and water.
Hybrid buses: MATBUS operates four hybrid busses. These vehicles are powered by electricity and fuel which in turn reduces emissions and they use about 50% less fuel than regular busses.
There are many environmental and economic benefits for riders of Metro Area Transit.
The city’s Information Technology Department is doing its part to use energy-efficient equipment throughout the city with the help of the federal government’s Energy Star program. Energy Star staff evaluate products based on their energy efficiency and life span, as well as on the amount of environmentally sensitive materials used to make them. Of all the computer equipment purchased by the city, almost half the monitors and desktops meet Energy Star requirements. The city also has a no-landfill policy for its computer equipment. The city donates used equipment in good condition to local nonprofit organizations.
The Wastewater Treatment Plant treats about 12-million gallons of wastewater everyday. In the past, wastewater, which met EPA clean water standards, was discharged into the Red River. Now, Fargo supplies the Tharaldson Ethanol Plant in Casselton with up to 2-million gallons of that wastewater each day to operate its corn based ethanol facility. The facility uses a membrane treatment plant to further treat the water before use. Each year, this partnership brings in a net profit for the City of $800,000 and eliminates the need for withdrawing water from natural river or groundwater sources for use by the ethanol plant.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day each year, the city requires residents to limit lawn watering to every other day. This reduces water use by about 2.5 million gallon each summer and reduces the amount of money and energy needed for water and wastewater treatment.
Fargo now uses LED traffic lights. These bulbs last longer and require less electricity than the type used previously, saving the city an estimated $30,000 per year.