Stephanie Johnston's Blog

  • EPA fixes water pollution program after 25 years

    Gasoline and diesel is stored in tanks and conveyed via pipelines buried under the busy forecourts of convenience stores and fuel stations. As any water or sewer manager knows, those assets often leak. When they do, they poison one of the nation’s largest sources of drinking water.

     
  • Fountain repair

    It's taking 16 months to repair the Latona Fountain at the Palace of Versailles near Paris.

     
  • Public works: the first line of defense

    I have a confession to make: I lifted the “first line” line from Municipal Water & Sewer’s editor. Luke Laggis was reminding readers that they’re health care workers. “’Sanitas’ is the Latin word for health,” he writes, quoting a World Health Organization adviser. “Maintaining the health of the...

     
  • There’s a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on

    For those of you who aren’t county engineers experiencing the consequences daily, oil and gas drilling equipment is extremely hard on rural roads. Now, according to a fascinating New Yorker article, pavement (and other stuff) is being damaged by another energy-industry practice.

     
  • Imagine restoring this fountain!

    Several years ago, my lovely suburban Chicago village installed a fountain in the central business district. It’s wonderful. Every warm evening, people of all ages are sitting on the surrounding benches, listening to the tinkle of the water, and relaxing.

     
  • Keep those job descriptions coming!

    In March I offered to post help wanted announcements to the Public Works magazine website, Linked In group, and weekly e-newsletter. All for free.

     
  • Calling all water, sewer professionals!

    How do you plan to improve utility operations over the coming year?

     
  • Streetlights save money

    Wireless technology is turning streetlighting into extremely valuable public works real estate.

     
  • Increasing health insurance costs

    Public sector employees are paying more for standard benefits like health and dental insurance.

     
  • Ignore abandoned utilities at your own peril

    Intersections and rights of way in the nation's biggest cities are webbed with utilities, both near the surface and deep underground.

     
  • President Obama’s second stimulus package

    In 2009, the Build America Bond program was launched to jump-start the economy via road- and water-system construction. Six year later, the Qualified Public Infrastructure Bond (QPIB) could pick up where the first stimulus package left off.

     
  • Lies, damn lies, and statistics

    Wasn’t it Mark Twain who said there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics? I believe he was referring to the use of numbers (by politicians) to strengthen a weak argument.

     
  • Lining up resources

    An asset management program can be a potent recruiting tool that can move an operation forward.

     
  • Is asset management a load of crap?

    Before all you software, equipment, and consulting companies that serve the public works market have a fit over that question, please: Let me explain.

     
  • 600 counties violate proposed EPA ozone levels

    Ozone is another word for the haze that obscures skylines when humidity and temperature conditions are just right. You'll have three chances to comment on EPA's plan to lower the ozone air pollution standard to 65 ppb or 70 ppb by next October.

     
  • New Year 2015 and Old 2014,Render 3D. Over white background

    Eight predictions for 2015

    Editor's predictions include the weather, transportation funding, Clean Water Act, and more.

     
  • Want help with elected officials? Ask IBM

    Suffolk County, N.Y., is using the company's Smarter Cities Challenge to solve an $8 billion problem created by Hurricane Sandy: groundwater contamination. Instead of money, though, IBM donates time and expertise in a full-court press on local officials to join in.

     
  • How FHWA spends its money

    According to the General Accountability Office, most Federal Highway Administration funding goes toward improving roads and bridges (64%). That doesn't leave a lot for the many activities required to plan and build safe roadways, particularly if they're also going to be used by bicyclists and...

     
  • Winter weather forecast

    Bad news for public works departments nationwide: The next five or six months could be almost as bad as last year's polar vortex.

     
  • City made $8M 'entrapping' drivers with red-light cameras

    So far this year, Chicago has issued 77,000 tickets for red-light violations caused, say irate drivers, by laughingly brief yellow lights. The mayor says the city will refund the money, but $8 million is a lot of revenue to let go of.

     
 
 
 
 

Blog Archive

Blog Archive

For more blogs written by Stephanie, Pam, and Michele click here.

 

Editor's Note

As Editor in Chief of Public Works, Stephanie Johnston directs the brand’s magazine, website, e-newsletters, and contributes to webcasts and other digital initiatives.

 

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