Launch Slideshow

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2006 Trendsetters

2006 Trendsetters

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    Katie Curry's efforts to encourage others to recycle have made her a local hero. Plus, she gets to sit on her own hard-earned benches when she needs to take a break from bicycling around town with family. Photo: Mary Ann Carter/Black Star

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    Andres Duany

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    John Duncan Jr.

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    Al Gore

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    Interstate Highway System

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    Tim Pawlenty

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    Rich Giani (seated, second from left), water-quality manager at Washington, D.C.'s Water and Sewer Authority, headed a research team that revealed how chloramines affect the leaching of lead into drinking water. Photo: DC WASA

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    Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association president Kathleen Holst is more concerned about road-related issues than she is about her status as the association's first female leader. Photo: IRTBA

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    Bruce Logan is using bacteria in wastewater to create electricity. Photo: Shaoan Cheng

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    Raymond Seed worked without pay to discover why New Orleans's flood control system failed during Hurricane Katrina. Photo: Jenni Spinner

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    At 35, Kris Riemann is the youngest public works director Gulfport, Miss., has had. Thanks to careful planning, the city was the first to restore services after Hurricane Katrina. Photo: Pat Sullivan

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    Diane Linderman asked Congress to allocate homeland security funds directly to public works as well as police and fire agencies. Photo: APWA

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    Joe Haworth (middle) urges public agencies to partner with each other to educate their customers about what they do. “Much of the public wants to help; they just need to be told what to do.” Photo: LACSD

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    Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter

For the complete list, click here.

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Leading the lead-free push

Rich Giani, water quality manager, Washington, D.C. Water and Sewer Authority (DC WASA)

Sometimes a “fix” creates more problems. Responding to a federal mandate, in 2001 DC WASA switched from a free-chlorine disinfectant to adding chloramines to purify its drinking water. The modification caused a jump in lead levels—which, in turn, caused a jump in head-scratching among water managers.

“Available research could not identify a cause or solution,” says Giani. “Literature indicated that lead levels should have been decreasing or, at a minimum, remaining stable under water-quality conditions provided to the distribution system.”

Springing into action, Giani formed a research team that included U.S. Environmental Protection Agency representatives, University of Washington experts, and consultants from Omaha, Neb.-based HDR Inc. and Millburn, N.J.-based Hatch Mott Mac-Donald. The crew engineered the concept of “lead profiling”: collecting sequential samples from a home tap to the main after a six-hour stagnation period, then testing the samples to measure dissolved-lead and particulate concentration. Applying this research, DC WASA brought lead concentrations back down below EPA action levels and calmed panicked citizens.

Thanks to Giani, drinking-water leaders across the country can now better understand how changing treatment chemicals can impact corrosion rates and the release of metals into drinking water supplies. Giani, in turn, learned from the process.

“Managing DC WASA's technical team and providing support on the research level, although extremely trying at times, was priceless,” he says. “To be part of a group of experts attempting to solve a complex problem during a public crisis provides you with respect for drinking water programs.”

— Jenni Spinner