Waste Management broke ground on its new compressed-natural-gas filling station last week.

Waste Management broke ground on its new compressed-natural-gas filling station last week.

The company's first CNG filling station in Ohio will be at the Walnut Street location in Canal Winchester.

Canal Winchester officials have begun talking about the possibility of offering fueling to residents and business fleets.

"I've been talking with people in other (central Ohio) cities about the biggest road block to the public using CNG, and that is the lack of fueling stations," said Jeff Graber, a CW Planning and Zoning Commission member.

"One way of changing that is to have a large company partner with us to build one and then allow residents access to it," he said.

"This would promote a technology that's cleaner and I'd like that to be considered."

Waste Management spokesperson Beth Schmucker agreed.

"That's been a very important part of the planning process, including (retail) capacity down the road for external customers if the demand is there for it," Schmucker said.

According to Schmucker the station should be operational in August.

"This new fueling facility will give us the direct capability to fuel a CNG fleet in the Columbus area, and with the CNG fleet, we'll lower our fleet emissions, helping to reduce our dependence on foreign oil," said Frank Fello, Waste Management Ohio, senior district manager.

"This demonstrates our commitment to being a positive environmental contributor to the communities we serve," Fello said.

Waste Management operates 12 hauling districts in Ohio.

The Columbus District has a fleet of 65 diesel waste hauling trucks, Schmucker said, 25 of which will be retired and replaced with new CNG powered vehicles this year.

"The company as a whole has a sustainability goal which includes reducing emissions by 15 percent while increasing fuel efficiency by 15 percent by the year 2020," Schmucker said.

"Currently we have 17,000 vehicles, with 1,400 CNG vehicles on the road, and we'll start with 25 (CNG) here, then over the next couple of years we'll completely replace our diesel fleet with CNG vehicles," she said.

Waste Management's commitment to reducing pollution also carriers several economic benefits for the company, according to Schmucker.

"The current price of CNG is about $2 for a gallon of fuel while diesel is more like $4.10 a gallon. That's a quite significant amount of savings," Schmucker said.

"It's also a cleaner fuel that's easier on the trucks so we'll have lower maintenance costs and more efficient trucks.

"Between the economical and environmental savings this is a win-win all the way around.

"We're very excited about converting to CNG trucks here in Ohio and continuing to expand that effort of environment and economic benefits that help our company meet its sustainability goals," Schm-ucker said.