Midwest water reuse project draws applause

The Mankato (Minn.) Wastewater Treatment Plant sends its effluent to a nearby power plant for use in generating electricity, and its innovative design has sparked an award from a local public works group.

In January, the Minnesota chapter of the American Public Works Association bestowed its 2007 Project of the Year Award (for projects costing more than $10 million) on Mankato for the city's 11.25-mgd facility. It produces high-quality effluent and conveys it, via pipeline, to the nearby Mankato Energy Center, where it is used to cool the natural-gas-fired turbine. The practice reduces demands on local surface and groundwater supplies, while improving the quality of the reused water before it is returned to the river.

The city-owned water reclamation facility was built through a three-pronged public-private partnership among Mankato, power plant owner Calpine Corp., and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; engineering consultants Black & Veatch provided planning, design, and construction services.

DOT offers money for congestion relief

If your department is struggling to alleviate traffic headaches, the U.S. DOT might have the cure.

The DOT is soliciting applications for funding to go toward metropolitan-area congestion reduction demonstration (CRD) initiatives. Under the CRD umbrella are integration of innovative transit strategies, new transportation technologies, and direct highway pricing during congested periods. The agency will place priority on applications with “bold and innovative” road pricing proposals.

If the winning agencies agree to adopt the innovative technologies and pricing strategies, the DOT will provide financial resources, regulatory flexibility, dedicated expertise and personnel, or a combination of the above. The resources would come from Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration discretionary programs.

  • The CRD is similar to the DOT's Urban Partnership Agreement program, which, in August 2007, allocated approximately $850 million to support congestion reduction proposals in five metropolitan areas. However, it differs in a number of ways: •The CRD removes the requirement for a formal partnership agreement between the DOT and the selected communities, though it retains the option.
  • CRD applicants submit only one single application for funding, which can end up coming from multiple sources.
  • CRD review criteria do not include promotion of telecommuting/flexible workday scheduling.

For more information about the CRD program, visit www.dot.gov.