The Springdale Water and Sewer Commission earlier today approved the purchase of two compressed natural gas vehicles, allowing Springdale Water Utilities to become the first public entity in Northwest Arkansas to embrace CNG.
The purchase of the two vehicles will serve as a pilot program to determine whether cost savings can be accomplished by converting more of the utility's more than 70 vehicle to reliance on the alternative fuel.
Today's decision comes just days after the Arkansas Energy Office, a division of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, announced that it will give a $400,000 rebate to convenience store operator Kum & Go to help it provide CNG as a fuel at its Springdale location near Interstate 49 and Elm Springs Road.
The Energy Office earlier this year provided an identical $400,000 rebate to Kum & Go that will allow it to provide CNG at its location on Robinson Road near the Springdale Municipal Airport, meaning there will be two CNG stations available for public use in Springdale within a few months.
The state Energy Office also has made $150,000 available statewide to pay for a portion of a CNG vehicle's cost. Springdale Water Utilities intends to apply for those funds, said Heath Ward, Springdale Water Utilities executive director.
"With the announcement on the second CNG station in Springdale on Friday, we immediately fast tracked this opportunity and asked our commission to approve the purchase," Ward said. "That demonstrates our enthusiasm for CNG and wanting Springdale Water to be at the forefront. I think the possibilities are great and others will follow our lead. The timing of everything to happen this fast was perfect.”