Americans get green

We're recycling a greater share of our municipal solid waste, according to the U.S. EPA. Including composting, Americans recycled 79 tons of material in 2005—a 2% increase from 2004 and a 16% increase from 1990. We also turned in 42 million tons of paper for a recycling rate of 50%.

SWANA names president

Tom Parker, a principal engineer and solid-waste practice leader for Cambridge, Mass.-based CDM, was appointed president of the Solid Waste Management Association of North America at the association's WASTECON trade show in October.

Pandemic preparation

A partnership between the Pew Charitable Trusts, Michael Osterholm, and the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota helps state and local public health agencies and first-responders coordinate communication, develop surge capacities, and make the most of available resources. Visit

New Orleans landfill closed—again

A civil district judge ordered a New Orleans landfill to remain closed, countering a preliminary injunction by Houston-based Waste Management Inc. to reopen the facility. In April, Mayor Ray Nagin—invoking emergency powers—opened the landfill to Hurricane Katrina debris that hadn't gone through the typical permitting process; after residents protested, the site was shut down again in August.

Engineering future engineers

The Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS) identifies, motivates, and guides future engineers by developing and providing parents, teachers, and counselors with communication tools for reaching out to girls and talking to under-represented populations. JETS also runs academic competitions, mentoring programs, and scholarships. Visit

Groundwater regs tighten

Beginning Jan. 8, 2007, groundwater used to supply drinking water systems must be tested for microbial pathogens and, if necessary, treated. Instead of requiring that all groundwater systems be disinfected, the EPA's final Groundwater Rule takes a risk-based approach to water that's susceptible to fecal contamination. Deadline for compliance is Dec. 1, 2009. For more information, visit