"I heard someone in St. Louis talking about a new wastewater treatment plant that has been constructed to look like a house in any residential area. Can this be right?"
Well, you know what they say about us in Missouri—"Show Me"—and the Duckett Creek Sanitary District in O'Fallon, Mo., has begun "showing" folks how to incorporate those unpopular wastewater treatment plants into the life of a community with few people being aware they are there. Good job! Actually, the St. Charles County government passed a law making traditional package treatment plants illegal. Consequently, the Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) treatment plants made more sense. They have designed three structures that have been "guaranteed" not only to treat water more efficiently, but to produce less obstruction and odor in the community as well. Two facilities are designed as homes and one as a barn. For more information check out their virtual tour on their website at www.duckettcreek.com/docs/tour/index.html.
"Someone recently pointed out a little-known portion of the SAFETEA-LU bill that was passed in 2005 about making High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on highways available for use by low-emission and energy-efficient vehicles. Is this really part of the bill?"
Surprise! It really is. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just recently issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to implement those portions of the bill which would provide exemptions for vehicles certified as low-emission and energy-efficient for use in high-occupancy vehicle lanes. The proposal applies to light-duty vehicles under 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight rating. Vehicles would be required to meet the specifications for both low-emission and energy-efficient to be eligible for an exemption from HOV occupancy requirements. Some hybrid vehicles will be ineligible for the exemption because they cannot satisfy the combined requirement. For all the details and information about posting comments, visit the EPA site at www.epa.gov/otaq/regs/ld-hwy/hov/420f07042.htm.
"So, are alternative-fueled vehicles really making it into the municipal fleet departments?"
According to a recent survey from SustainLane, they are. In fact, the City of Las Vegas, Nev., has the largest alternative-fueled city fleet in the United States with 63% of their fleet using either cleaner-burning B-20 biodiesel and less-polluting compressed natural gas, hybrid-electric, and several zero-emission hydrogen-powered vehicles. In 1993, the Las Vegas Regional Clean Cities Coalition was formed as a locally-based, voluntary public-private partnership to address the impact of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 passed by Congress. It has 130 individual stakeholders representing more than 60 public and private organizations. Their goal is to help transportation systems become more efficient, less dependent on foreign fuel sources, less environmentally disruptive, and sustainable and safe. Their goal is to promote the use of alternative fuels in fleets of light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, including transit and school buses, taxis, cargo vans and trucks.
Other Top 10 Alternative-Fueled City fleets in the SustainLane 2006 Surveys include:
Honolulu, Hawaii; Kansas City, Mo.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Dallas, Tex.; Denver, Colo.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; and Portland, Ore. Check out SustainLane at their website at www.sustainlane.com for more information.
"I've heard of attempts to use cooking oil in vehicles but I didn't think it was working too well. Has anyone come up with any other use for the enormous amounts of grease produced by restaurants each year that might really be effective?"
The City of Riverside, Calif., believes they have found a great use for the grease from their 800+ restaurants. They expect to save more than $1 million in energy costs annually by burning restaurant grease as fuel. They conducted a two-year pilot program which proved that fats and oils from the restaurants could create a viable, renewable energy that can help provide power to the city's wastewater treatment plant. For all the details and more information, contact Regan Bailey, a wastewater resources analyst with the city's Public Works Department.
"What's this Online Mentoring program I'm hearing about? What does it cost?"
This is a new program the Leadership and Management Technical Committee has developed which will allow ANYONE who wants to participate to join on an interactive conference call to share discussions and hear comments from three various Mentors about specific topics once each quarter. The first topic will be "Dealing with Politics in the Workplace" and is scheduled for Thursday, October 25 at 11:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time. Additional sessions and topics will include "Humble Beginnings - Unlimited Opportunities" (January 24, 2008), "Leadership and Management Core Competencies" (April 24, 2008) and "When is it Time to Move on" (June 26, 2008). Everyone is welcome to join but it should be especially useful to those new to the public works field who are looking for someone to answer their questions or share advice. Now, here's the good news, IT'S FREE! For all the details, contact Ann Daniels at (816) 595-5223 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions are welcome.
Please address all inquiries to:
Director of Technical Services
APWA, 2345 Grand Blvd., Suite 500
Kansas City, MO 64108-2625
Fax questions to: (816) 472-1610