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Ontario, Oregon Public Works Recognized for Sustainability Practices

Ontario, OR – The Ontario CH2M Public Works Department was recently honored by the APWA Oregon Chapter with the Chapter’s 2017 Sustainability Practices Award. The award recognizes individuals, programs, agencies and organizations that have made contributions to promote sustainability in public works.

“It’s a pretty prestigious award,” said Cliff Leeper, Public Works Director. “We felt pretty fortunate to win the award.”

After the City of Ontario entered a five year contract with CH2M in 2014 to provide public works services for the City, the department began following CH2M’s Operations and Maintenance Sustainability Program which supports the implementation and tracking of sustainable operations at facilities the company operates and maintains.

In its application, the Department highlighted several strategies undertaken in just one year that have saved the City tens of thousands of dollars, reduced over 100 metric tons of carbon emissions, and reused more than 50 million gallons in wastewater for non‐human crop irrigation.

In 2016, the Department’s Route Optimization program for snow removal, which strategically allocates resources to respond to customers’ needs, reduced gasoline consumption by more than 10,000 gallons, generated over $25,000 in savings, reduced CO2 emissions by about 95 metric tons, and improved mobility in the community by clearing streets in a more efficient manner despite record snowfall.

Updates to the Department’s meter reading system have significantly reduced staff hours to six hours monthly from the previous 106 hours per month. Deployment of a paperless computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) with the use of electronic tablets has resulted in paper savings, savings in staff time, and reduced miles traveled.

In 2017, the City brought a new $1.8‐million chemical treatment system online at the Water Treatment Plant. Pump efficiency improvements have stabilized the process and level of chemical usage and Public Works staff can now make changes to chemical dosing online. The new system significantly extends filter life, from every 2.5 to 3 years at a cost of $45,000 for four filters, to every 7 to 10 years. In addition to increasing individual filter run time up to 350%, the system runs longer and more efficiently, reducing cost, power consumption, wasted water, and staff maintenance time.

The Department’s application also highlighted programs to improve mobility for the disabled and elderly in Ontario, including collaboration with the transit system and the county council on aging to install bus shelters and a ‘Snow Stake’ program to provide free snowplow berm removal services to elderly and disabled citizens.

News article:  Ontario's public works department lauded for its sustainable operations

For additional information:
Cliff Leeper, Public Works Director/Project Manager
Ontario CH2M Public Works Department

For resources and tools related to sustainability, visit the Center for Sustainability (C4S) site and C4S Toolkit.