MarBorg Industries head honcho Mario Borgatello unveiled his company’s latest contribution to the community Monday afternoon. It came in the form of a compressed natural gas station at the company’s Quarantina Street yard, a station that will be the source of fuel for 16 of the company’s trash-hauling trucks, which have been converted to run on the fuel.

Before a crowd of elected officials, colleagues, friends and supporters, Borgatello explained the reasons and the motivation behind the investment in compressed natural gas, which totals more than $1 million when both the fueling station and the truck conversions are taken into account.

“Folks, I’m here to tell you, as long as we keep sending money across the ocean for oil, I strongly believe that we are going to be at war because we are funding the war with our money through oil,” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense.”

Borgatello also credited Santa Barbara Councilman Das Williams and former Councilman Roger Horton for their persistence in pushing him to go zero-emissions. At the time of their initial urgings, he said, the time wasn’t right, with the newest CNG-powered trucks “a big flop.” Eventually, however, he took on the challenge presented to him and started by updating his fleet with trucks that ran on the fuel.

“Now I think today, all we’ve got to do is look around and see that the time is right,” Horton said Monday afternoon.

Borgatello also received formal recognition from Congress for his efforts through Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

According to Borgatello’s son, Brian, the setup took a lot of work, first with finding a place for the station in the crowded truck yard, and then moving material and reconfiguring the organization of the yard and installing equipment and infrastructure. The end product: a connection to Southern California Edison’s natural gas line, two compressors for redundancy, a holding tank for enough to fuel one or two trucks, and hookups to the trucks.

“It all kind of fell together,” Brian Borgatello said as he pointed out the safety measures the company is taking to avoid situations like the recent natural gas explosion in San Bruno outside San Francisco.

He said the station is a slow-fill station, and the equipment is computerized to take only a certain amount of natural gas. The station is not open to the public.

Brian Borgatello said there are no immediate plans to go completely CNG with the company’s entire fleet of trucks, but local officials were nonetheless enthusiastic about this start.

“It shows how a private company can go green and make it profitable at the same time,” Mayor Helene Schneider said. “Everyone takes out the trash, and so we want to do it in a way that’s as clean as possible.”

Noozhawk staff writer Sonia Fernandez can be reached at sfernandez@noozhawk.com.