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Biodiesel for Municipalities

You are a township or city with a population between 5,000 and 1,000,000+ people. You have a town water utility. You are thinking about possible ways to save money AND provide better air and water-treatement quality (ie. Quality of life) to your citizens.

Look no further than biodiesel and the example set by Daphne Utilities of Daphne, AL.

Daphne, AL. is a town with a population of 22,000 people and growing. There are approximately 2 people per household, so their utility department has a customer base of approximately 10,000. Back in 2004, Daphne Utilities(See there Testimonial) started to get fed up with the amount of maintenance money the town was spending on keeping the sewage system clean from FOGs (fats, oils and grease).

Daphne Utilities did a study and determined that if each of their customers were to dump a teaspoon of used cooking grease down their drain just once a day, that would be the equivalent of one person pouring 7 fifty-five gallon drums of cooking oil into the sewer system once per month. The two scenarios are equivalent. (If you were to see someone remove a manhole cover and dump that much cooking grease into your town’s sewage system, you might consider reporting a crime).

To address the problem head-on, Daphne Utilities launched a used cooking oil recycling program dubbed “Cease the Grease” in early 2004. The goal of the program is to directly target oil and grease in residential home use and change people’s cooking and clean up methods to limit damage to sewers.

Recycling stations are set up around the city – at gas stations, convenience stores, grocery stores, apartment complex laundry rooms and mailboxes, super stores and utility offices. Used oil containers are also distributed and cleaned after every use. Cost of jug: Approximately $1.

The results are impressive; they collect 300-500 gallons per month. (Sewer spills and grease blockages in the sewer system drop by 40% over the next four years.)


But now Daphne has all this used cooking oil.


It starts to build up until, in 2005, they discover biodiesel. They experiment with a lot of methods of making it until they hear about Springboard Biodiesel’s fully-automated BioPro™ biodiesel processor.

They purchase a machine in 2007. The rest is well documented history:

  • Now they make 400-500 gallons per month.
  • According to Daphne Utilities, when diesel is at 3.00 a gallon, they save $15,000 year.
  • They use the glycerin in their anaerobic digester and they make soap out of the by-product which they distribute to their citizens to build awareness and remind people to “Cease the Grease”.
  • They’ve subsequently saved the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in sewer repair and maintenance costs.
  • They burn B20 in their utility fleet thereby diminishing diesel particulate matter in the air.

Daphne Utilities General Manager Rob McElroy writes:

“One of the greatest benefits biodiesel provides however is its ability to connect with the customer and get them excited about recycling used cooking oil so that the sewers and treatment plant processes are improved. This fact simply cannot be overstated: The customer holds the power to improve the sewer system. Getting him to want to do so is the responsibility of every Utility.”

A long list of other cities and municipalities that have started similar biodiesel programs continues to grow. From The City of York, AL to San Francisco, CA. Please contact Springboard Biodiesel if you’d like more information.