The APWA Center for Sustainability is pleased to announce that the APWA Sustainability Conference is now a part of the APWA Public Works International Congress and Exposition and will feature over 40 sessions on environmental/sustainability issues as part of your Conference registration. 


APWA Center for Sustainability Chair Jennifer Winter, Project Director, HR Green INC, noted “this move is reflective of the fact that sustainability traverses all areas of public works -- water, roads, transportation, parks, asset management, emergency management -- and should be presented to broadest possible audience of public works professionals.  These sessions are being presented by a variety of APWA Technical Committees and seasoned professionals from both sides of the border and reveals the breadth of the role that sustainability plays in our infrastructure, communities, and in in our chosen profession.”


The Center for Sustainability knows you won’t want to miss this “conference-within-a-conference” if you have an interest in the most sustainable approaches to public works.  Register today!


APWA members – note APWA is a partner organization for this conference and our members will receive a registration discount.  Past President Diane Linderman will be speaking on resiliency in a plenary session.


Special Offer for APWA Members: AGC Contractors Environmental Conference
June 12-13, 2014 | Arlington, Va.

The Associated General Contractors of America will hold its third Contractors Environmental Conference on June 12-13, in Arlington, Va.  As an Industry Partner for this conference, APWA Members receive a savings of $100 off the non-AGC member rates that kick in on April 26.


From leadership in sustainability to compliance with legal requirements, the 2014 AGC CEC will provide invaluable resources for environmental professionals in the construction industry. Here are five reasons why you should attend: (1) Learn how to manage the issues that keep you up at night before they result in an emergency situation; (2) Get up-to-date information on compliance and sustainability issues that most often show up on your to-do list; (3) Hear about initiatives and trends that could be a new source of savings or revenue for your company; (4) Interact and learn from federal agency representatives; and (5) Network with your peers.  Learn more about this year’s conference and register here.


APWA Members can take advantage of their membership discounts with a special Industry Partner Code to use during registration.  Start your registration as a “non-AGC member” but then enter the code PTNR14CEC to receive the member rate for normal registration, which begins April 26.  Everyone benefits from the early-bird registration savings through April 25.


The White House May 6 released the third National Climate Change Assessment (NCA) documenting the impact climate change has on the United States. The current report is a key component of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. The President’s Climate Action Plan is the Obama Administration’s strategic initiative to cut carbon pollution; prepare the US for the impacts of climate change; and lead international efforts to combat global climate change.


The NCA states that climate change is having wide ranging environmental impacts on all regions of the United States.  The report also states that climate change will have impacts on key sectors of society and the US economy.  The effects of climate change, documented by the NCA include heat waves, storm surges and extreme precipitation in the Northeast; increased risk of droughts and wild fires in the Southwest; and receding summer sea ice and shrinking glaciers off of the coast of Alaska.  The report also states that climate change’s impact on health and the economy include decreased air quality and decreased agricultural output.  The NCA states that adapting strategies that encourage conservation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions can mitigate the effects of climate change and increase community resiliency.


The NCA is a requirement of the Global Change Research Act of 1990 (GCRA).  The GCRA requires a report to the President and Congress every four years.  The first NCA was released in 2000 and the second was released in 2009.  The federal government is responsible for producing these reports through the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), a collaboration of 13 federal agencies and departments, and must be approved by the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee (NCADAC).  NCADAC is a 60-person U.S. Federal Advisory Committee which oversees the development of the NCA.  NCADAC was established in 2010 and is supported through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).


To learn more about the National Climate Change Assessment and to read the full report, visit www.globalchange.gov


Water utilities across the country face common challenges - whether it is aging infrastructure, rising operating costs, high customer expectations, or a retiring workforce – and industry professionals are well aware that the “way we’ve always done it” may not have been our best approach.


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently published Moving Toward Sustainability: Sustainable and Effective Practices for Creating Your Own Water Utility Roadmap to assist utilities with implementing proven practices over time that address these common challenges at a pace consistent with the needs of the utility and the community it serves. The distinguishing quality of this document is its flexibility; it does not provide one roadmap for all utilities to follow, rather it guides utilities to create a roadmap based on their own specific needs.


Based on the Ten Attributes of Effective Utility Management (EUM), the document provides input from federal, state, and local stakeholders.  Practical examples are provided throughout the document to help determine the utility’s current level of sustainability and are intended to give utility managers a sense of where to begin with creating their roadmap.  This resource takes each of the ten attributes of effective utility management and breaks them down based on three business levels:  Level 1 – Providing Adequate, Fundamental Services; Level 2 – Optimizing Operations and Services; and Level 3 – Transforming Operations and Services for the Future.


“This document will give an important boost to help move the water treatment industry toward greater sustainability and enhance the sustainability of communities as well,” said Dan Roberts, P.E., APWA member and Director of the Utilities Department for the City of Palm Bay, Florida.  Mr. Roberts also served as a member of the EPA’s industry Steering Group that provided input for the document.

Mr. Roberts went on to say: “EUM is the key to sustainability, and EPA’s Roadmap document can be used by any size utility operating at any business level to improve EUM and thus community sustainability.”


As a service provider to the community, we should never be satisfied with “adequate” service, we should continually strive to improve and enhance our operations and services so that we will be able to thrive well into the future. Utilities can benefit from the practices described in this document by: saving money through optimization, providing better protection to the environment by consistently meeting regulatory requirements, recruiting and retaining a workforce to ensure sustainable operations, using energy and water efficient practices and technologies effectively, and building greater understanding and support from stakeholders.


To learn more about water infrastructure and moving toward sustainability visit:  http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/sustain/


[Guest blogger:  Julie Lemons, Utilities Outreach Coordinator, Palm Bay, Florida.]

< Previous Page Next Page >