Q and A – Glad you asked

In addition to this column, members are welcome to post their questions in the general forum area of the APWA web site at www.apwa.net. There, other members have the opportunity to post their answers directly. We also retrieve those questions with broad appeal for the “Q&A” column.

Q: Andy Haney, Director of Public Works, Ottawa, KS, has posted an interesting question on APWA’s web site. Mr. Haney’s posting was as follows: “We wish to try and solve the problem of dog poop in our parks with a voluntary program. At this time we don’t want to propose an ordinance we couldn’t possibly enforce.

“We are considering a deposit ‘barrel’ at various parks where we would supply the ‘scoops.’ The only thing we found on the net costs $.25 per scoop. That will be too expensive to operate.

“Does anyone have successful and affordable programs of this nature they would like to share? Will people bring their own baggies if we ask them to?”

A : Well, have any of you readers had any experience with voluntary “Pooper Scooper” programs? If you have, please pass your experiences, positive or negative, to APWA so we can pass them to Ottawa, KS.

Q: Salvador Arnaldo, Program Engineer, City of Tallahassee, FL, has posted a question on APWA’s web site that asks about high-density polyethylene pipe. Mr. Arnaldo stated his question as follows:

“Have any of you city/county engineers or public works directors out there approved the use of HDPE pipe for use as culverts or storm sewers on public streets or within dedicated rights-of-way in subdivision? If so, what has been HDPE’s track record so far, in your jurisdiction? Has your agency formulated any policy for its use as an alternate culvert material?

“Here at the City of Tallahassee, Florida, we’ve received many requests for land developers to allow HDPE on city streets, in lieu of concrete pipe. We’re studying this matter carefully before formulating our own policy. Any help would be appreciated.”

A: Section 207-18 of the “Greenbook,” also known as the Southern California Chapter of APWA’s Standard Specifications for Public Works Construction, and section 901.5.2 of the New Mexico Chapter’s Standard Specifications for Public Works Construction address the use of HDPE in storm and sanitary sewer applications. But, what has been your experience with HDPE in these applications? Please let us know so we can pass this information on to Mr. Arnaldo and others.

For information on how to obtain standard plans and specifications developed by various APWA chapters, see the Resource Center on our web site: www.apwa.net/resourcecenter.

Q: Tom Hayman, Highway Superintendent, Swatara Township, PA, posted a seasonal question on APWA’s web site. Mr. Hayman’s question involves a “rite of spring” in snow belt municipalities—repair of damages resulting from winter plowing. Specifically, his posting stated his problem as, “We’ve all been there, the spring thaw, snow melting, people walking outside once again when you get that call, ‘Your truck plow hit my curb, I want you to fix it!’ My question is: Do any of our members have a written policy that addresses this problem as a whole, taking into account age of curbing, deterioration due to salt and freeze/thaw cycle, patch jobs breaking off, etc? These calls get to be a real pain being handled on an individual basis where inconsistencies are bound to show up at some time. Thank you.”

A: Mr. Hayman has not only posed a good question, he has suggested one of the best possible solutions—a formal program based on a written policy for repair of seasonal damages. APWA does not yet have any examples of such policies, but we could if you have one and would be willing to share it with Mr. Hayman and your fellow APWA members. How about it—have you such a policy and will you send it to APWA?

Q: Tom Hayman came up with a second question when asked for permission to print his first question. His second question involves an opportunity to save Swatara Township some money. Mr. Hayman’s second question was, “I am looking to paint my traffic signal lane markings—arrows, “ONLY,” stop bars, etc.—and have found a plastics supplier who will cut the templates I need at half the cost of commercial traffic template suppliers if I can give him samples of what I want in .DXF file format. Any leads?”

A: A quick check of the Internet using the Google search engine turned up several sites where traffic templates are available for downloading. The Dallas-Ft Worth International Airport web site, http://www.dfwairport.com/development/drawing/pavement.htm, offers template downloads. The McTrans Center at the University of Florida also offers a program with traffic sign and markings in .DXF formats. Vulcan Signs and several commercial firms also offer software like Mr. Hayman is looking for.

Q: One of the questions that was not answered on-air during APWA’s recent Phase II Storm Water satellite video conference involved creating Storm Water Utilities. Specifically, the unidentified caller asked where he/she could obtain additional information on how to form Storm Water Utilities.

A: Forming “utilities” to finance the performance of storm water, road maintenance, and other public works functions has been popular in the western and northwestern portions of the U.S. and is an approach that is gaining added interest in other areas. APWA offers two excellent publications on this subject. The first of these publications, User-Fee-Funded Stormwater Utilities, is a special publication of the Water Environment Federation. This booklet contains an exceptional amount of data in a highly concise format. The second, Municipal Storm Water Management, by Thomas N. Debo and Andrew J. Reese, is lengthier but contains a library’s worth of information on all aspects of storm water system funding, design, construction, and operation. For more information on these publications, visit http://www.apwa.net/catalog/ and select the Water and Environment hyperlink.

Q: Would you like to contribute to the revision of one of APWA’s most popular public information pamphlets?

A: APWA is in the process of revising and updating Why Curb and Gutter? To ensure that this revised edition meets the informational needs identified by public works agencies, we are asking for volunteers to review and comment on the current edition. Each individual volunteering to take part in this project will receive a copy of the current pamphlet and a questionnaire/suggestion form. Contact APWA if you are interested.

Glad you asked…

Questions are welcome.


Please address all inquiries to:

John “Mac” MacMullen
c/o APWA, 2345 Grand Blvd. #500
Kansas City, MO 64108-2641
Fax questions to (816) 472-0405
E-mail: jmacmullen@apwa.net