More stories about Ideas & Opinions

  • Stewardship solutions

    One important tool in the management of e-waste is product stewardship: a management strategy where whoever designs, produces, sells, or uses a product takes responsibility for minimizing its environmental impact throughout all stages of its life cycle.

  • Public-private challenges—and solutions

    Alan Gesford, a former public works director for several Pennsylvania municipalities, shares the experiences that informed his view on the public works production.

  • Risky business made less risky

    Public works agencies and construction managers must adopt a comprehensive, institutional approach to identifying and mitigating risks that may be less obvious but can disrupt projects nonetheless.

  • Public works leaders should take a hike

    PUBLIC WORKS Associate Editor Jenni Spinner asks: How often How often do you get out to see your town? Have you ever left the comfort of your office or truck cab to get out to take a good look at the town you serve? If you haven't, you're not getting the big-picture view—the one your constituents...

  • Envisioning the future water and wastewater utility

    For American water and wastewater utilities, change is inevitable and unrelenting. Although their fundamental responsibility remains to provide safe, reliable, affordable, and secure systems that protect public health, the environment, and quality of life, changes in society and the global business...

  • Seeing the big picture

    Serving the public can be an arduous, thankless job. The work is challenging, and even if your performance is stellar, the number of complaints you draw often outweighs the kudos. Of course you want to do a good job, but sometimes, when you find yourself in the middle of a grueling workday—which...

  • Is there a chemist in the house?

    When you visit a water plant, what image are you left with? Depending on your experience, you may envision a building pulsating with the noise of pumps and motors; a vast array of tanks filled with water; or a large room of pipes and computer screens with red, green, or yellow lights. When I enter...

  • Choosing between asphalt and concrete pavement

    Hard-surfaced pavements, which make up about 60% of U.S. roads, typically are constructed with either hot-mix asphalt or portland cement concrete (commonly referred to as “asphalt” and “concrete,” respectively). Of those roads, more than 90% are asphalt.

  • Understanding contract documents

    The American Society of Civil Engineers' (ASCE) 2005 Report Card for America's Infrastructure gave the nation a cumulative grade of “D” based on the condition of several public works categories.

  • Is America on the road to ruin?

    All levels of government in the United States are facing a new era of capital financing and infrastructure management. In recent years, many revenue sources have diminished while others have evaporated entirely.