Launch Slideshow

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Borrowing Goes Bust

Borrowing Goes Bust

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    Tight credit is prompting many departments to postpone new projects and temporarily suspend others.

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    From left: Hoa Nguyen, Melika Roshandell, Jan Kleissl (assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the Jacobs School of Engineering), Anthony Dominguez, Michael Sankur, Mandana Farhadieh, and Yoichi Shiga. Not pictured: Wen-Han Liu, Samer Naif, Andrea Tan, Roger Huang, Anders Nottrot, Hared Ochoa, and Long Sun. Photo: Dong Kim, UC San Diego

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Don Correll

The president and CEO of American Water took the company public in April, making it the largest investor-owned water and wastewater service provider in the country.

George Crombie and John Hughes

Vermont's secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources (Crombie) and University of Vermont's provost and senior V.P. (Hughes) are overseeing the Vermont Climate Collaborative to manage climate change through a “green” economy.

Suneet Dabke

The Indian biochemist used 300,000 hungry earthworms to remove four acres of toxic waste from contaminated soils. Soil tests show a 60% reduction of heavy metals.

Denver Water

In addition to serving up the tastiest water in Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming (according to the American Water Works Association), Colorado's largest and oldest public provider uses ozone rather than chlorine to disinfect water mains. Ozone takes 20 to 30 minutes to work and converts to oxygen within an hour vs. chlorine-based disinfection, a 24-hour process that requires dechlorination, which can take yet another 24 hours.

Easy money — the U.S. economy

If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Even if PUBLIC WORKS editors were economists, we'd each have a different opinion about what's happened to the credit market. We do know, however, that lower-than-expected property tax revenues and much-higher-than-average fuel prices equal a bigger battle for readers at budget time.

Ecorse, Mich.

The FBI is investigating whether Ecorse's mayor, some city council members, and others violated federal law by eliminating the city's 60-member public works department and hiring a private company to do the same work for an allegedly higher rate of pay. The company employs the mayor's son and grandson as well as relatives and friends of some council members.

Chris Finberg

He helped establish a preventive maintenance program that reduces Las Vegas roadway lifecycle costs by 66%. The program's seven-year cycles save city dollars because contractors can bid on projects in a renewable fashion for long-term contracts, enabling them to offer volume discounts. Originally implemented for residential streets, this year marks the completion of the first cycle for arterial roadway systems.

Great Lakes Compact

Hands off, Southwest! And any other water-poor region eyeing one of the lakes, which contain 90% of North America's freshwater, as a new source of drinking water. Last month President Bush signed the compact into law, ending a decade of negotiations among eight states. The law bans new diversions of water while requiring each state to develop a conservation program.

Susan Hann

The driving force behind the American Public Works Association's Emerging Leaders Academy, launched last year to provide training and networking opportunities to potential leaders among employees with less than seven years experience. The program's inaugural Class of 2008 attended monthly conference calls, a two-day workshop, and a leadership track at the APWA 2008 Congress and Exposition.

Heritage Middle School, Westerville, Ohio

Thirteen-year-olds Glen Gainer, Emma Henderson, and Jeremy Boyd teamed with teacher Debra Pellington and volunteer mentor Ted Beidler, PE, from the Franklin County (Ohio) Engineering Department to create a SimCity 3000 model of a desert city that uses solar technology to produce drinking water and treat wastewater, earning their school first place at the 2008 National Engineers Week Future City Competition.