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C4S hosted its first Twitter Town Hall July 25, 2016 to engage APWA members about the challenges they face related to sustainability in public works.

 

The Twitter Town Hall was a great way to leverage the personal expertise and experience of the C4S Leadership Group in order to support public works professionals who need to know how to integrate sustainable principles and practices into their day-to-day work.

 

C4S Leaders Kim Lundgren, JC Alonzo, Steph Larocque, Jen Winter, Matt Rodrigues, Dwayne Kalynchuk and Michael Simpson participated. The conversation has been archived below.

 

Follow C4S on Twitter @apwac4s.

 


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APWA just wrapped its annual conference — recently rebranded as PWX (Public Works Expo) — with all the cool and technologically advanced components you would see at a tech conference. As someone who has frequented Dreamforce (Salesforce.com’s annual conference), which is the ultimate in conference innovation, I was certainly impressed with the steps that APWA has taken to advance this conference. What I found even more impressive, however, were the very visible signs of how this conference was clearly also the most sustainable one that APWA has hosted.

 

From using an interactive app instead of a printed program to an entire session track on sustainability, APWA has certainly stepped up their sustainability game. The APWA Center for Sustainability (C4S) also used PWX to launch its new online Sustainability Toolkit. This new platform makes it incredibly easy for Public Works professionals to sort through the hundreds of resources C4S has collected over the years and find specifically what they are looking for. In May for Public Works Week we wrote about how the Public Works sector is involved in sustainability and carbon emissions reductions through things like biking.

Of course, selecting a sustainably advanced city like Minneapolis to host the event does make it easy to see sustainability in action everywhere you turn. From the walk between the hotel and the convention center and walking from session to session in the convention center it was hard not to spot great examples of sustainability.

Every single receptacle in the Convention Center had options for Recycling and Composting, along with trash. That is rare in most cities and at most conferences I attend. Even on local construction sites, the City made sure to keep both trash and recycling bins available.

Some of Minneapolis’ key sustainability features I saw in action:

  • Bike Share Program, bike lanes
  • Water bottle filling stations
  • Recycled, renewable artwork
  • Green Infrastructure integrated throughout City
  • Sustainability signs on construction sites

Next year PWX moves to Florida, and we’ll be there to see host city Orlando’s sustainability initiatives on display.

 

Kim Lundgren

Chair, APWA Center for Sustainability (C4S)

Kim@KimLundgrenAssociates.com

@TheKimLundgren


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More governments are using a Pay for Success (PFS) model to provide funding to improve social conditions. First, the vast majority of social spending in America is done by government and philanthropy and is comparatively tiny for just about any issue you can think of — poverty, education, recidivism, homelessness, wellness, etc.  The information revolution is finally reaching government, giving us a low-cost way to see if people’s lives are improved by the programs that governments fund. PFS is about reallocating utility dollars away from services that don’t work and toward those that actually do bring about improvement in people’s lives. So one way to think about PFS is to ask the question “Is there an outcome and performance feedback loop connected to the money?”  PFS is not about the finance or capital market.  It is about “reallocating utility dollars.” Do you think utilities should use the PFS model when delivering funding to external organizations involved in social enhancements program?

 

Michael Simpson

Public Works LA

Principal Environmental Engineer


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As we continue to pursue water sustainability in our municipalities, the overarching question remains the same: do we continue with our current wastewater treatment practices or is it time to turn to new on-site technology? The City of Los Angeles is home to the largest centralized water reclamation/treatment system in the west coast consisting of 6,700 miles of sewer lines and four treatment plants. Currently, the City operates at approximately 60% of the treatment plants capacity.  With water conservation policies, municipalities all over California are dealing with the effects of low-flows in sewer pipes such as odor, grease accumulation, and conveyance material degradation. Decentralization of wastewater treatment would lead to wastewater being locally managed and treated (on-site). With new wastewater treatment technologies on the market, a push to implement local treatment sites has generated interest. However, this brings up additional challenges in operation and maintenance responsibilities, water quality monitoring, and solids disposal, which would add additional strain to the centralized system. Given that the City of Los Angeles has invested in a multibillion dollar infrastructure to treat wastewater centrally, should a movement towards on-site water treatment continue in urban cities?  Give us your thoughts on this issue and let us know what are some of the advantages and disadvantages of these two opposing philosophies.

 

Michael Simpson

Public Works LA

Principal Environmental Engineer


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