March 2006 Table of Contents

Little water warriors Little water warriors

After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, water department managers became keenly aware of their facilities' vulnerability. Since then, they have put in place a range of measures, from physical features protecting buildings to tests that detect the presence of toxins in their water supply. Now, in large cities like New York City and more modest burgs like Altoona, Pa., tiny soldiers are lighting the way in the fight against terror. Read more

Snow and ice control

The V-Maxx 8500 bulk spreader is a V-box unit with a capacity of 2 cubic yards. Designed for use with pickups having beds 8 feet or longer, the product has a multi-angle hopper, inverted V salt/sand baffle, and attached vibrator to allow for continuous material flow. The hopper is made of heavy-duty polyethylene, eliminating the corrosion and frequent maintenance associated with steel-constructed hoppers. Read more

Riding the rail Riding the rail

A 60-inch-diameter, welded-steel pipe typically is not the type of utility buried 19 feet under the road median at the end of your driveway. It's the creation of the Point of the Mountain Aqueduct (POMA), a job that involves installation of 68,500 linear feet of a new drinking water pipeline that will run approximately 12 miles through Salt Lake City's heavily residential suburbs. Read more

Sliplining installed without a hiccup Sliplining installed without a hiccup

After years of watching contractors install centrifugally cast, fiberglass-reinforced, polymer mortar (CCFRPM) pipes in trenchless projects, the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) decided to do some installing themselves. Read more

Field of dreams Parks & recreation Field of dreams

A blind girl now believes she can go to college because she can hit a ball. A boy confined to a wheelchair can play like his older brother. A dad fulfills his dream of coaching his son's team. This can-do attitude comes from adaptive baseball fields and leagues. Read more

Biting back Grounds maintenance Biting back

Winter and early spring are ideal times to evaluate past mosquito control efforts, or to develop or fine-tune a program. Mosquitoes ruin outdoor activities and chase away potential revenue; they also carry life-threatening diseases. Read more

Wastewater treatment Down to a Science

Future permit limits are a genuine concern for those in wastewater treatment—especially total nitrogen (TN) limits. Most forecasters predict TN limits will be cut from the current 5 to 10 mg/L range down to somewhere around 3 mg/L. However, TN removal is not new; development of treatment systems has been underway for more than 40 years. Read more

Keep the customer satisfied Constituent Relations Keep the customer satisfied

Public works departments spend considerable resources handling requests from constituents—answering questions, fulfilling service orders, resolving complaints. To streamline the process, more and more agencies are implementing sophisticated customer relationship management (CRM) systems to process and track requests. Read more

Fleet Management/Maintenance Building the budgeting process

As in many cities, Houston's equipment replacement process is far from ideal. The city has an equipment acquisition fund of $22 million for fiscal year 2006, but funding levels go up and down yearly, according to the availability of money. So monies available don't always match up with needs. Read more

Solid waste collection & disposal Are your rates correct?

At last week's city commission meeting, the mayor and several River City commissioners grilled you on the city's rising costs of providing solid waste collection service. Why wasn't the city able to track its costs more closely? Were costs in line with similar cities providing the same service? Both you and the solid waste director did your best to deflect these pointed questions, but the truth was that Mary in River City's public works accounting division had a difficult time gathering specific answers to these questions when the city manager and the finance director asked them during last year's budget process. Read more

Ideas & Opinions 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. Read more

Asphalt versus concrete Pavement construction & maintenance Asphalt versus concrete

The debate goes on: Which is better, concrete or asphalt? While there is no cut-and-dried answer, a smart public works official will consider the following questions before selecting a material for the next road project: Which pavement option is better for my specific application? Read more

Picking the perfect pipe Pipeline construction & maintenance Picking the perfect pipe

It would be nice if specifying pipe were as simple as buying a pair of shoes—walk into a store to pick out the style you like and take it home. Read more

Special report 2006 salary survey: How much are you worth?

No one ever complains about getting paid too much. But how does your salary really stack up against that of your peers? PUBLIC WORKS magazine wanted to find out. Based on answers from 2600 readers just like you, we have a snapshot of how much money public works managers make. Read more

Understanding contract documents Ideas & Opinions 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. Read more

News & Views: Awards Wastewater facility garners award
Atlanta opens wastewater tunnel News & Views: Operations Atlanta opens wastewater tunnel
New York City constructs third water tunnel News & Views: Design & Construction New York City constructs third water tunnel
Highway construction costs soar News & Views: Design & Construction Highway construction costs soar

The cost of highway construction materials has increased by 22% in the past two years, according to a recent association analysis. Read more

Maine highway marks design-build achievement News & Views: Design & Construction Maine highway marks design-build achievement
Portland named America's cleanest city News & Views: Community Portland named America's cleanest city

According to a recent survey, residents of Portland, Ore., live in the cleanest city in the United States. Read more

Wild ideas Editorial Wild ideas

When the highway bill (SAFETEA-LU) finally passed last summer, some believed—perhaps naively—the federal government was at last providing sufficient funding for America's highways. That, unfortunately, was not the case. The American Road and Transportation Builders Association's analysis states that “... SAFETEA-LU investment levels will fall short of meeting the highway and transit needs documented in repeated government reports ...” Read more

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