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Company gets OK to restart biodiesel plant

Profile image for By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe

The Denton City Council agreed to a lease with a new company that will restart the landfill’s biodiesel plant.

American Bio Source will take over the plant at the landfill that was mothballed after the previous operator went out of business. The company will pay the city $1,200 per month to lease the plant, plus a royalty of 0.85 cents, or not quite a penny, per gallon of biodiesel sold. American Bio Source has been recycling restaurant oil and grease in the region since 2010. It approached the city with a proposal to relocate the operations to the landfill, staff said.

After originally signing a contract for a public-private partnership with a California biodiesel company in 2004, the city opened the $3 million facility the following year to great fanfare.

The plant was the first fully renewable biodiesel manufacturing plant in the country, powered by methane gas extracted from the landfill. Through the contract, the city had also pledged to purchase at least 300,000 gallons of biodiesel each year to fuel its garbage trucks, service trucks, buses and other equipment. But the plant closed abruptly in 2008 and the city sued the company for breach of contract, later settling after the California company agreed to pay the city $650,000.

Since then, the city has begun replacing some of its fleet with trucks powered by natural gas.

Council members endorsed the agreement with American Bio Source, saying they hoped it would be successful. Mayor Mark Burroughs said that the agreement was important to the city, not only for the money, but for the principle of achieving sustainability.

In other action Tuesday, the Denton City Council also:

Agreed to pursue a contract with Better Block for neighborhood improvement project to be identified.

Agreed to purchase a new aerial fire truck for $1.4 million.

Contracted with Kimley-Horn and Associates to develop a road impact fee policy for $276,500.

Authorized the use of federal grant funds to purchase a HazMat ID Elite Command System for $54,950 and seven Throwbot XT Reconnaissance Robot Audio Kits for $99,190.

Authorized the purchase of about 23 acres of land for about $2.1 million for the widening of Mayhill Road and another 2.6 acres for $750,000 to expand the municipal landfill.

For improvements to the city’s industrial park, agreed to purchase a 3-acre tract from Westpark Group and to abandon one access easement in exchange for another from the same investment group.

Approved the purchase of three years of excess liability insurance for $688,480 and excess workers compensation insurance for $304,408 from McGriff, Seibels and Williams.