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February Upfront News & Views

February Upfront News & Views

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    To locate a plastic bag recycling program in your community, visit www.plasticbagrecycling.org. To learn more about promoting in-store recycling programs, visit the American Chemistry Council's Progressive Bag Affiliates at www.americanchemistry.com.

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    The city of Portage, Mich., is looking for the best possible solution for cleaning a large-diameter culvert with difficult access at both ends. Photo: City of Portage, Mich.

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    Bret Hodne, acting director/superintendent of the West Des Moines Department of Public Works, spearheaded a project to build a regional salt storage facility. Photo: Bret Hodne

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    The Highway Trust Fund collected $3 billion less last year than in 2007 for total receipts of $31 billion. Federal transportation spending for 2008 rose by $2 billion.

Letter to the editorLet Mother Nature help

In the November issue, a city engineer with the Portage (Mich.) Transportation & Utilities Department asks for methods to clean an underwater and difficult-to-access 36-inch storm pipe (“PW Forum,” page 51). I recommend that he clean out the outfall ditch and, if possible, dig traps to catch the silt that'll be washed out of the pipe the next time it rains. You may have to clean the pits out a few times depending on the length of pipe. Keeping outfall ditches clear of obstructions is the only way to prevent this type of problem from occurring.

— John Creamer, utility maintenance division manager, Leesburg, Va.

2009 employment trends

According to Jobfox.com, construction managers and project managers as well as civil, electrical, and mechanical engineers are just a few jobs likely to grow as a result of President Barack Obama's economic initiatives.

APWA targets sustainability, local relationships

The American Public Works Association and National Association of Regional Councils have formalized their relationship by signing a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on funding requests, legislative and regulatory initiatives, and conferences. APWA also has created a Center for Sustainability as a result of recommendations by its sustainability task force, chaired by Ron Norris, director of public works in Lenexa, Kan., and past APWA national president. Visit www.apwa.net.

Agreement targets damage-reduction

The International Code Council and Federal Emergency Management Agency are working to develop, refine, and enforce building codes that minimize loss from natural disasters. The organizations previously worked to incorporate National Flood Insurance Program floodplain management regulations and National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Recommended Provisions into safety codes developed by the council. Visit www.iccsafe.org.

‘Greenest' concrete on the market

Ekocrete Inc.'s product contains 90% recycled materials, including recycled concrete and byproducts, and 10% portland cement. The company says the strength, durability, and price are the same or better than traditional concrete. It's distributed as a bagged mix to retailers and through licensed concrete producers. Visit www.ekocrete.com.

Conference addresses global warming

The Air & Waste Management Association will present the First International Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Measurement Symposium March 22 – 24 in San Francisco. Participants will begin defining the technical problem of monitoring emissions at multiple spatial scales, and discuss how to perform these measurements. Also included: an exhibition and professional development course.

Researchers: graffiti encourages stealing

Three University of Groningen behavioral and social science professors have proven the “broken window” theory that people are less likely to follow the rules when they see others getting away with breaking the rules. In one experiment, an envelope hanging out of a mailbox revealed a five euro note inside. If there was graffiti on or around the mailbox, 27% of passers-by took the money; if there was no graffiti, 13% did so. For information on how public works departments manage graffiti, see “Common Cause,” page 40, of our September 2008 issue.

New pump standards

Hydraulic Institute's new American National Standard for Rotodynamic (Vertical) Pumps for Nomenclature and Definitions (ANSI/HI 2.1-2.2-2008) is now available. This standard applies to vertically suspended pumps, including single casing submersible pumps and discharge through column types. Also included are double casing and in-line casing diffuser pumps. Visit http://estore.pumps.org.

County expands green building program

Architects and developers will be able to submit plans via the Internet once the Land Use Services Department of San Bernardino County in California deploys Avolve Software's ProjectDox ePlan solution. The county plans to implement the software across the public works and fire departments and the Office of the Clerk.