Click here for this month's Web extras:

City performance contract performs well

How to go green by 2013

Conflict of interest?

Battle at the beaches

Picking up on crime
In Hero Wanted, Cuba Gooding Jr. portrays a gun-toting garbageman. Do you have a favorite movie or TV show that involves public works or infrastructure? Tell us about it on Facebook.

Click here for the ADA corner
with Michelle S. Ohmes

Project update
City performance contract performs well
Traffic signal, streetlight, and boiler upgrades exceed estimated savings by 25%.

Covington, Ky.'s line-item savings

  • 5 W to 22 W LED traffic signal modules replaced 483 incandescent, 200 W bulbs in streetlights; and 7 W to 11 W LED modules replaced 182 pedestrian signal bulbs. "Of all the improvements we made, the LED traffic lights had the most savings from both a utility standpoint and an operational standpoint," Director of Public Improvements and City Engineer Tom Logan says. The reduction in kilowatt hours saved $196,857 for 317 traffic signals and 86 pedestrian signals;
  • Daylight sensors and timers were installed at the three parking garages - T8 fluorescent lights replaced high-intensity discharge lights and high-pressure sodium lights in the parking garages, saving an average of $18,000/garage. "The parking garages alone showed us that changing a bulb can change your future in energy savings," Logan adds. "That provided the greatest savings."
  • Flush valves were replaced on all toilets, and low-flow shower heads were installed at the fire station.
  • The HVAC systems in the eight facilities were retrofitted with programmable thermostats, and the city hall boiler system was replaced.
  • Occupancy sensors replaced light switches in all conference rooms and restrooms.

  • Special report: exclusive reader survey / By Stephanie Johnston
    Conflict of interest?
    Drawing the line between environmental and economic health.

    In August 2010, 494 PUBLIC WORKS readers answered 14 questions about their "sustainability" philosophy.

    As reported on page 33 of our October issue, one-third of respondents have a formal Sustainability Action Plan or some other document designed to foster environmentally healthy projects, programs, and services.

    These are the frameworks they used to develop the plan; the percentages add up to more than 100 because we asked respondents to check all that apply:

  • 40% U.S. Green Building Council LEED for Existing Buildings
  • 34% Other (includes IISO 14001 EMS (environmental management system), American Public Power Association, and Building Owners and Managers Association International)
  • 19% U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement
  • 16% U.S. Green Building Council LEED for Neighborhood Development
  • 16% Government Purchasing Alliance Going Green Program
  • 14%ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA (i.e., Five Milestones for Sustainability, Local Government Operations Protocol, Clean Air Climate Protection, Design Support Tool)
  • 14%Effective Utility Management (EPA, Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, American Water Works Association, National Association of Clean Water Agencies, National Association of Water Companies, Water Environment Federation)
  • 14% American Association of Engineering Societies Engineer's Forum on Sustainability
  • 13% American Society of Landscape Architects Sustainable Sites Initiative
  • 8%Evergreen Fleets
  • 7% American Public Works Association Framework for Sustainable Communities
  • 7% National League of Cities Climate Action Map
  • 7%Sustainable Building Alliance
  • 6% The Climate Registry General Reporting Protocol
  • 6% Federal Highway Administration Every Day Counts
  • Why did your operation develop a sustainability plan (check all that apply)?

  • 66% It's the right thing to do
  • 45% Constituents and elected officials are fixated on "sustainable infrastructure" and the environment
  • 39% To save money over the short- and/or long-term
  • 31% To increase our chances of getting grants and/or loans
  • 14% Other (includes "to meet EPA's required 20% Green Project Reserve," "to show leadership so other stakeholders will follow," and "to deal with water supply sustainability issues")
  • Do you have any of the following? If not, is anyone in your operation working on obtaining one of the following?

  • 88% Other (includes U.S. Green Building Council LEED AP, Certificate of Registration from the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship Program in Field Services, Solid Waste Association of North America, and U.S. Commerce Department Pollution Prevention & Energy Efficiency
  • 10% American Public Works Association Leadership in Sustainability certificate
  • 6% American Academy of Environmental Engineers Environmental Sustainability certificate
  • The American Public Works Association's interactive Framework for Sustainable Communities is a single page of instructions and a single-page form. (The form's also available in a noninteractive version.)

    It will help you decide how to begin a discussion within your operation and/or community.

    Stormwater control
    How to go green by 2013
    Estimating return on investment for low-impact design vs. traditional stormwater control infrastructure.

    Williams Creek Consulting Principal Ted Blahnik told American Public Works Association 2010 Sustainability Conference attendees that EPA's "Proposed National Rulemaking to Strengthen the Stormwater Program" represents a pending sea change in how stormwater operations will be permitted.

    Instead of individual storm events of, say, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, or 500 years designed to minimize flooding, permits will emphasize "annual typical year" flows to reduce per-year pollutant levels.

    Stormwater operations will have to do an annual rainfall analysis and propose measures designed to manage 80% to 90% of the annual volume.

    Other references:

    Center for Watershed Protection Urban Stormwater Retrofit Practices Manual v1.0

    Water Environment Research Foundation BMP and LID Whole Life Cost Models v2.0

    Center for Neighborhood Technology Green Values Calculator

    RS Means Site Work & Landscape Cost Data 2009, 28th Ed.

    Cover story
    Battle at the beaches
    Impatient with official efforts immediately after the Deepwater Horizon oil well explosion, Gulf Coast managers took cleanup into their own hands.

    The New Orleans newspaper, Times-Picayune, published an interactive graphic chronicling the first 100 days of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster, presenting the story of what happened day by day. It maps the spread of oil on the surface of the Gulf, fishing restrictions, and the areas of shoreline that have been affected. It also shows BP's various efforts to cap the Macondo well. Incorporated in the graphic are videos of six people deeply affected by the oil spill.

    Oil remains just below the beaches two decades after the Exxon Valdez tanker dumped 11 million gallons into Alaska's Prince William Sound. Click here to learn how one town is faring.