ARTBA names task force chairs

Tom Hill, chief executive of Washington, D.C.-headquartered Old-castle Materials Inc., and Paul A. Yarossi, president of HNTB Holdings Ltd., New York City, have been named co-chairs of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association's SAFETEA-LU Reauthorization Task Force. The group is charged with developing the association's legislative agenda for the next reauthorization of the nation's federal highway/transit investment programs, due in 2009. The task force will conduct research and report on its proceedings at the ARTBA 2006 Annual Meeting, to be held September 26–29 in San Diego. For more information, visit www.artba.org.

U.S. mayors recognize public-private partnerships

In January, the U.S. Conference of Mayors saluted a number of companies and municipalities for working together in various arrangements to the betterment of their constituents and clients. The recipients of this year's Outstanding Achievement Award in Public-Private Partnerships include Indianapolis Department of Waterworks and Veolia Water Indianapolis LLC. Eight of 10 customers report that Veolia is doing an excellent job, and taste and odor complaints have dropped from 501 in 2001 to 26 in 2004. For more information, visit www.usmayors.org.

E-waste initiative launched

The National Center for Electronics Recycling, Davisville, W.Va., and Arlington, Va.-based Consumer Electronics Association have formed a new initiative to help foster a uniform e-waste recycling plan across the country. The National Electronics Recycling Infrastructure Clearinghouse is aimed toward enabling the public and private sectors to develop strategies for handling e-waste. For additional information, visit www.ecyclingresource.org.

Home water treatment growing

Increased global awareness about the quality of drinking water has propelled expansion in the residential water treatment equipment market, according to a study by Palo Alto, Calif.-based Frost & Sullivan. According to the report, every fourth house across the globe has a residential water treatment unit, and it is estimated that every second household will have a unit by 2008, and every household will have one by 2011.

Desal cheaper than pipeline in California

Officials in southern San Luis Obispo County, Calif., are looking at desalination plants to ensure a steady water supply into the future. The cities of Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach and the Oceano Community Services District weighed two options: participating in the Nacimiento Water Pipeline project or constructing a desalination plant. Research found desalination with reverse osmosis would be half the cost of extending the pipeline to the southern part of the county and maintaining it. Based on a 30-year life cycle, the estimated capital cost for a desalination facility would be about $14 million, and it would cost $2400 per acre-foot a year to produce water.

SWANA to conduct residential waste survey

The Solid Waste Association of North America's Applied Research Foundation will conduct a study that will provide performance and economic data on residential waste collection services in the United States and Canada. The study, titled “The North American Benchmarking Study for Residential Solid Waste Collection,” will help develop performance standards for waste services and evaluate waste technologies, according to a press release. Forty-eight local jurisdictions currently are offering data and financial support, while other local governments and organizations can act as project sponsors. For more information, visit www.swana.org.

EPA releases watershed handbook

The EPA's Office of Water has published a guide to watershed management as a tool in developing and implementing watershed plans. The draft of Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters is aimed toward communities, watershed groups, and local, state, tribal, and federal environmental agencies. The 414-page handbook goes through each step of the watershed planning process, including monitoring and assessment, community outreach, selection and application of available models, best management practices, effectiveness databases, implementation, feedback, and plan adjustment. The EPA also is soliciting comments on the draft, due no later than June 30. For more information or to obtain a copy, visit www.epa.gov.