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March Upfront News & Views

March Upfront News & Views

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    CityFIRST may be more appealing to homeowners than refinancing over 20 years or taking out a home equity loan.

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    The “filtering flux sensor” measures ammonia and nitrite levels to reveal the ion flux, or how many ions are being transported into and out of the bio-film per minute. Photo: Purdue University

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    In honor of National Engineers Week, the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York promoted the profession with billboards, ads in state publications, and posters with this image. “Greater understanding of the engineer's inventive role should enhance the perception of the profession and its essential — and often overlooked — contribution to our quality of life,” says Hannah O'Grady, the council's deputy executive director.

At the February hearing, the board reviewed the MLMP's performance-based approach and directed staff to return in April with a resolution for the consideration of approval.

The facility is scheduled to begin construction this year and be operational in 2011.

The board required Poseidon Resources to prepare the mitigation plan in April 2008 to fulfill a condition of the project's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued in August 2006.

That five-year permit includes several strict environmental protections designed to regulate the discharge of the concentrated seawater byproduct of the desalination process, and the mitigation plan is the result of several years of research by scientists, evaluation from independent Coastal Commission experts, and input from local, state, and federal agencies.

The plan was approved by the California Coastal Commission and State Lands Commission in August 2008. It calls for the restoration of up to 55.4 acres of coastal wetland habitat in Southern California.

Once operational, the Carlsbad Desalination Project will provide enough drinking water to serve 300,000 residents annually.

Recycle and be rewardedSolid waste

RecycleBank, a for-profit rewards and loyalty program that motivates people to recycle, announced in February significant growth figures after it expanded service to more than 90 municipalities and 210,000 households in 2008 — from just 35 municipalities and 100,000 homes a year earlier.

The company has more than doubled recycling rates in every community that deploys the program, and participating households have diverted more than 60 million pounds of recyclables from the waste stream — the equivalent of $6 million in savings for municipalities in 2008.

The program rewards participants for the amount they've recycled at home by measuring the amount of materials and converting it into RecycleBank Points that can be redeemed at more than 1,200 national and local Recycle-Bank Reward Partners, including grocery stores, restaurants, and brand giants like Kraft, Coca-Cola, CVS/phar macy, and Target.com.

In 2008, participating households redeemed 46 million points, returning money directly back into the local economies. That number is up 242% over the previous year. Additionally, 688 new local and national RecycleBank Reward Partners signed on to take part in RecycleBank's mission to increase household recycling rates, up 274% from 2007.

RecycleBank members also can donate their points to local schools for environmental initiatives as well as dozens of local and national charities.

Some cities, such as Cherry Hill, N.J., have used the program to relieve pressure on tightening city budgets. The recycling initiative, which was launched July 1, resulted in increased recycling participation and decreased landfill fees by $200,000 in the city's budget.

RecycleBank makes money as municipalities pay a portion of the savings generated by diverting waste from the landfill. For example, if municipalities are currently sending 100,000 tons of waste to the landfill per year at $70/ton, and participants recycle and divert half of that waste stream, it results in a savings of $3.5 million.

ASE recognizes fleet maintenance programAssociations

Buckeye is the fifth Arizona city to receive Blue Seal Certification from the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), joining Peoria, Scottsdale, Mesa, and Tucson as well as the state DOT and Cochise County.

“Our staff provides quality service to our internal customers who drive town vehicles,” says Fleet Supervisor Michael DePaulo. “But they're also serving our external customers well because quality service provides a longer life for town vehicles, which in turn saves taxpayer dollars.”

All of the town's technicians are ASE-certified. In addition to DePaulo, the team includes lead mechanic Bill Rousch; mechanics Filiberto Chavira, Josh Cutler, Todd Ellsworth, and Garrett Griffin; mechanic helper Horace Taylor; and clerk Nikki Coeb.