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St. Pete in talks with TECO to discuss biogas project

ST. PETERSBURG — City officials have had two meetings with representatives from TECO Peoples Gas this month to determine whether its possible to use natural gas to power its sanitation trucks.

The renewable energy would come from a $93.6 million biosolids project that the city has been working on for seven years. Now set to be completed in June 2019, the project is designed to convert wastewater byproducts into methane gas at the Southwest Water Reclamation Facility next to Eckerd College.

The goal is for that biogas to then integrated into the natural gas distribution system for TECO Peoples Gas.

The project was first conceived in 2011 but all these years later still faces unanswered questions such as: Is Peoples Gas willing to provide a pipeline to get the gas from the new facility to the trucks?

City Council members expressed concern at a May 3 meeting that they still don't know whether Peoples Gas will actually commit to the project. Using biogas to fuel the city's garbage truck fleet is a key part of the city's plan to earn money back from the project.