What Gastonia is doing to be cool

Gastonia Mayor Pro Tem John Howren gave a great presentation at the event yesterday about some of the things Gastonia is doing to reach the goals in its Cool City pledge. There are too many things to list here, but here are some of the highlights:

1. Our KEEP GASTONIA BEAUTIFUL organization, through 120,000 volunteers contributing over 1 million volunteer hours to Keep Gastonia Beautiful have made tremendous efforts, such as:

• Planting over 5,000 trees since the year 2000

• Used “TWIGGY” the Talking Tree and “LOUIE” the Litterbug Puppet to reach over 6,000 students on environmental education.

• Providing “In-House” Recycling at 23 City locations, as well as recycling 23,000 phone books

• Providing 1,450 Beautification & Environmental Education School Booklets to area teachers

2. Gastonia’s Wastewater Treatment Division has achieved ISO 14001 EMS certification. This is voluntary environmental management system that once you commit to it, requires you to evaluate and manage your environmental impacts and to make a commitment to prevent pollution, continually improve, and comply with all laws and regulations. Both the Water Supply and the Wastewater Treatment Division are certified. The Wastewater Treatment Division was the 1st in the State and 3rd in the Nation to accomplish such as a public wastewater treatment entity. The City continues to work at achieving ISO certification in other areas of our City as well.

3. The City also promotes a “No Idling” policy in operations of our City vehicles. Recently, we have re-emphasized to our workforce our no-idling procedures and overall fuel conservation measures, originally stressed when gasoline prices started skyrocketing and fuel shortages were looming (several years ago). We reminded all employees utilizing City equipment of these general procedures and the importance of such to air quality, cost savings, and overall efficiency of our operations. These fuel conservation recommendations include:

• Not allowing vehicles to idle unless they are "working". An exception would be in cars containing police dogs.

• Try to keep vehicle speeds 5 mph below posted limits.

• Consolidating trips, inspections, and using car-pooling when possible.

• Insuring that our vehicles receive regular tune-ups and their tires are properly inflated.

• Using trailers to deliver our equipment to job sites instead of driving equipment to sites when feasible.

• Utilize smaller vehicles whenever possible.

• Not overtopping fuel tanks and avoiding spillage and overfills.

• Notifying our garage if the equipment is not functioning properly.

4. In our overall vehicle operations:

• We have 12 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles and 1 bus.

• We’ve recently downsized ten (10) police patrol vehicles from an 8 cylinder engine to 6 cylinders; promoting better efficiency, fuel economy and cleaner air.

• We will be purchasing at least one hybrid gas/electric vehicle as a pilot program in lieu of a gasoline vehicle.

• Currently applying for grant funds under the Clean Fuels Advanced Technology Program (CFAT) to reduce harmful emissions on some of the City’s existing diesel trucks.

1 comment:

  1. Well done Gastonia!

    I work with clients to help them implement ISO 14001 and I feel it is a great tool because it locks you into a cycle of continuous improvement. To get the best out of it you need to motivate all your staff because it really works best as a bottom up systems where the workforce are onboard.
    Jean Cannon www.enviro-action.com