Private landfills offer affordability

I read your article about solid-waste disposal and the reasons for choosing government-run landfills over private facilities (“Heaping the benefits,” December 2006, page 35). Interesting points, but having worked on the Kentucky Solid Waste Management Plan, one of the critical issues is controlling what comes into your landfill. The governor wanted to control and limit out-of-state wastes, since space is a huge issue. We found that, legally, out-of-state wastes could be controlled only if the landfill was run by local or county government. If the landfill is privately owned and operated, out-of-state waste could not be banned because of Interstate Commerce Commission regulations. If we charge reasonable rates for solid waste disposal in Kentucky, it would still be much cheaper for larger eastern states to ship their waste to private landfills in Kentucky than to try to site and operate new landfills.

— John Kiefer, assistant state geologist, Kentucky Geological Survey, University of Kentucky

Mission vision

I enjoyed your editorial in the November 2006 issue of PUBLIC WORKS (“Straddling the great divide,” page 5). My department's mission statement:

“The Public Works Department provides for the health, safety, and comfort of American Canyon residents, workers, and visitors. The mission of the department is to meet the essential needs of the City and our larger service area in a way that brings pride to the community and shows the best in civil engineering practice. We provide:

  • Clean and affordable drinking water
  • Effective and affordable wastewater treatment and water recycling
  • Well designed and maintained streets, walkways, bikeways, storm drains, parks, public landscaping, street lights, and civic facilities
  • Management of solid waste
  • Environmental protection of creeks, wetlands, and open space.
  • We are ready to respond in the event of emergencies or natural disasters.”

    As you can see, pride in maintaining the community's infrastructure is at the heart of our mission.

    — Robert Weil, PE, public works director/ city engineer, American Canyon, Calif.

    I am sending you the shortest Mission Statement in the business:

    “Public Works—Public Benefit”

    Why so short? Because mission statement gurus tell us a good mission statement must be understood by a 12-year-old and recited at gunpoint. Most of our employees can do this. Check out our Web site if you want to know more about the rest of the story: