Closed landfill, open tab

Catoosa County, Ga., shuttered its landfill in 2004, but bills keep piling up. To meet state environmental regulations, the county must pay to cleanup detention ponds and install methane wells. Public works director Olney Meadows requested the Public Works Authority Board approve $9000 to rent an excavator for a month to clear the sites, and $2500 for a pump to draw down the water level. An engineering consulting firm retained by the county estimated the cost to add 20 methane wells (needed to control dangerous levels of methane at the site) at $140,000.

Austin aims for zero waste

The Texas city has engaged consulting firm Gary Liss & Associates to craft a plan that would help it attain zero-waste goals by 2040. Austin officials plan to reduce the amount of municipal solid waste it sends to landfills by 20% by 2012, open a single-stream recycling facility this or next year, and completely reuse or recycle all waste by 32 years from now.

Does your power use measure up?

The American Water Works Association Research Foundation (AwwaRF) has published a report that lets water and wastewater managers gauge electricity usage at their facilities against their peer organizations. Energy Index Development for Benchmarking Water and Wastewater Utilities—based on a study cosponsored by the California Energy Commission and the New York State Energy Research and Development Association—is available to AwwaRF subscribers at www.awwarf.org.

Report: Fewer butts to pick up

Cigarette litter dropped 54% from last year, according to Keep America Beautiful. The group reports that cities participating in its Cigarette Litter Prevention Program—which aims to cut down litter through public education, increased availability of disposal receptacles, and other measures—noticed an additional 6% drop in 2007 than they observed the year before.

Tacoma offers $131 million funding plan

The Port of Tacoma, Wash.,has issued $131.3 million in general obligation bonds to fund various infrastructure improvements (roads, waterways, environmental programs, and the like) on its Blair-Hylebos Peninsula. The developments are part of the Port's larger five-year capital improvement plan, which allots nearly $1 billion for regional infrastructure and commercial projects.

China builds record-setting bridge

The Sutong Bridge, situated in the country's Jiangsu Province, has a 3570-foot main span, making it the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world. The bridge, which cost $1 billion to construct, was put in place to cut down the time necessary to cross the Yangtze River between the cities of Nantong and Suzhou. The structure is scheduled to open to traffic in May.