City seeks state grant for fuel trucks in event of disaster
The city of Newberg has applied for a state grant to fund tankers to hold an additional 1,000 gallons of fuel in the event of a natural disaster.
Public Works Director Jay Harris said in the event of a natural disaster, such as a major windstorm or ice storm, the city needs to be able to transport fuel to different city generators. The city currently has the capacity to transport a few hundred gallons, but Harris said the city wants to increase that to 1,000 gallons. So to do that, they want to use state grant money to purchase two 500 gallon "small tankers," using a grant cycle the state puts out every year.
"We'll know in about three months if we're successful if we're receiving that grant," he said. "It all depends on who else applied for grants."
The state offers $5 million in this grant cycle, split into different tiers of importance. Harris said Newberg's request was a tier one request, meaning it's a high priority. But whether the city receives funding depends on how many cities and towns applied for a piece of the pie.
"Sometimes there's 100 people who apply and sometimes you're the only one," he said.
If successful in receiving the grant, the two tankers would also be available for state use, as items purchased with the grant are kept on the state's asset register for other uses.
"The state could deploy them anywhere in the state," Harris said.
He added that, technically, the state could deploy the tankers outside of Oregon for other states to use, but it was more likely they would remain in state to aid other cities and towns as needed.
According to a presentation the public works department gave on emergency fuel and generator use, Newberg's average unleaded fuel use is about 2,000 gallons per month. However, during a major weather event, the city would likely use much more while running around-the-clock operations.
The public works department is also proposing installing a 5,000 gallon diesel fuel split tank in the maintenance yard this summer, with one side kept full, meaning in a worst case scenario the city would have about 3,000 gallons of unleaded fuel on hand.
The maintenance yard is also proposing that a propane-powered generator be installed next to the emergency communications tower that will soon be constructed.
According to the presentation, in the event of a natural disaster, the need to run generators for 24-hours-day may keep some programs offline initially, such as the wastewater treatment plant and the city's eight sewer lift stations.
The public safety building has a 150-kilowatt generator and a 550-gallon diesel fuel tank. Running at half load uses less than six gallons per hour, for a runtime of 100 hours (slightly more than four days). The public works maintenance building has a portable 10-kilowatt diesel generator which runs several circuits in the fleet maintenance bays and in the administration building, and uses around two gallons per hour. A future generator would be 150 kilowatts and will have similar output to the public safety building's system.