Launch Slideshow

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[7] Solutions

[7] Solutions

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    In 2005, the city of Cape Coral, Fla., signed a five-year construction-manager-at-risk contract with Balfour Beatty Construction to widen arterial roads from four to six lanes. Photo: Cape Coral, Fla.

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    The Web-based application enables city departments to coordinate projects internally as well as externally with private utilities. Gray = road, blue = water, green = waste-water, yellow = gas, and orange = telecom. Image: Envista Corp.

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    “Our goal is to coordinate road projects during the design phase by broadcasting schedules to all affected utilities,” says Margaret Martin, PE, of Baltimore's DOT. Photo: Envista Corp.

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    To increase your chances of qualifying as a quiet zone, propose safety measures that overcompensate for the loss of the train horn. Photo: Phil Estes

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    Concrete overlays in the United States date back to the first bonded overlay in 1913 in Toledo, Ohio. Ultra-thin whitetopping, the most modern type of overlay, has been in use since 1991 on a road near Lousville, Ky. Source: American Concrete Pavement Association

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    Illegal dumping is the legacy of residents being allowed to contract their own disposal providers. At one time, 30 to 40 haulers operated in Reading, Pa.; today, fewer than 10 do. Photo: City of Reading, Pa.

The list of private collectors and recyclers in California keeps growing; it's approaching 600 and ranges from auction houses to nonprofits.

In addition to California, 18 states have laws on the books that remove the burden of funding e-waste collection and recycling from consumers and places it on the products' manufacturers. In Minnesota, Missouri, and New Jersey, manufacturers pay a fee to help fund collection programs. New York City has a cell-phone recycling bill and landfill ban.

Six states, including Illinois, Massachusetts, and Nebraska, are considering such legislation. Some states are considering legislation that would force manufacturers to accept e-waste.

Whatever the details, such laws are designed to reduce the amount of e-waste in landfills before solid waste agencies get involved.

[7] Trash cops

Solid waste department prosecutes two illegal dumpers in eight months.

Last year, Reading, Pa., spent $265,000 on picking up and carting away old tires, broken appliances, and busted furniture left in vacant lots and woods. Solid Waste and Recycling Program Coordinator Frank Denbowski figured there had to be a better way to identify culprits than conducting 24-hour stakeouts.

So he tried something the police chief recommended: motion-sensitive surveillance cameras.

Seeking a low-maintenance solution, Denbowski installed FlashCAM-880 “vandalism-deterrent” camera systems from Q-Star Technology at a dozen locations throughout the city, which has 82,000 residents. Retailing for about $5,000 each, the solar-powered cameras capture up to 700 high-resolution digital images that he wirelessly downloads to his desktop.

The camera allows users to record a 14-second message — such as “Attention, you are being photographed” — while illuminating up to 100 feet around it with a bright flash. “People are so startled they look up into the camera to try to find out where it is,” Denbowski says.

Denbowski moves the cameras around the 10-acre city to keep scofflaws off guard. So in addition to providing irrefutable evidence of wrongdoing, he says, his $60,000 investment is “a very effective prevention tool. Word gets around.”