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    Battling graffiti with paint brushes

    The very thought of tackling a graffiti-ridden city strikes terror in the heart of even the most seasoned public works officials. Even after the graffiti tags are cleaned up, the battle continues. It's usually a matter of only days before it comes back—sometimes on a larger scale.

  • Sweepers and accessories

    The comfort and versatility of the Toolcat 5600 utility work machine have attracted public work personnel from across the country to give the machine a try. Pat Dunn, street supervisor for the city of Shoreview, Minn., runs his every day in the summer and three or four days a week in the winter...

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    Seamless design and GIS integration

    The Public Works Department of the city of Tacoma, Wash., uses geospatial data for everything from issuing building permits and managing wastewater to maintaining streetlights. With Autodesk's Map 3-D and Oracle Spatial forming the core of its geographical information system (GIS), the city has...

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    Policing stormwater runoff

    For the city of San Diego to clear the way for a new library downtown, the obsolete Police Vehicle Maintenance Facility had to be relocated. Land was available adjacent to the San Diego Police Pistol Range, but accommodating the maintenance facility required relocating the K-9/SWAT facility and...

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    No pain, no drain with MCUs

    Until recently, water tanks always were drained before painting exterior surfaces. Condensation, common below the water line, made it necessary to drain to avoid a coating failure. However, a technology borrowed from the bridge and highway industry by Sherwin-Williams Industrial & Marine Coatings...

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    Teeing up a solution

    Despite the fact that Florida is surrounded by water, an increasing demand for a fresh water supply—especially for irrigation purposes—is a challenge many municipal officials in the state continually face.

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    Mapping stormwater outfalls

    The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection released new regulations in 2004 for controlling the discharge of pollutants into the state's waterways from stormwater drainage systems.

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    Pipeline partnership

    While the city of Santa Rosa, Calif., needed to reduce the discharge from its water treatment plant into the Russian River, Calpine Geothermal needed water to replenish the aquifer feeding its geothermal steam fields.

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    Debating impact fees

    Raising capital to meet utility renewal and replacement requirements is an ongoing challenge. Meeting service requirements of a growing population, new homes and businesses, or new recreational needs can make a public works manager feel like taking early retirement.

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    Relieving congestion

    Exploding growth and increased tourism have taken their toll on State Road 408 (SR 408), the 16-mile limited-access toll road that allows travelers to bypass downtown surface streets in Orlando, Fla. The Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority needed to add lanes to SR 408 to increase capacity...

  • Unique public participation builds consensus

    Rapidly growing communities are often faced with challenges and opportunities as the existing infrastructure struggles to keep pace with the surging population. It's not unusual to find communities where there is strong agreement that greater transportation capacity and additional bridges are...

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    Expansion project grows with citizen support

    As one of the fastest growing communities in the country, Cape Coral, Fla., is expected to have double-digit population growth over the next 10 to 20 years. City officials, while optimistic about the anticipated economic vitality, quickly realized that this anticipated growth would put a tremendous...

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    Keeping pace with development

    In Kendall County, Ill., the race is on. As developers scramble to buy farmland, builders scurry to create homes, and people flock to purchase lots, officials entrusted with providing public works must struggle to keep pace with the growing need for services.

  • Quick-sealing tire technology

    Earlier this year Goodyear introduced commercial tire technology, called DuraSeal, that repairs tire punctures. And it works, said Ross Petrini, Toronto's fleet maintenance operations manager.

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    The fine art of foiling flats

    Should you do tire maintenance in-house or contract for it? With your own people, you may have more control, but a contracted shop often can do it for less money.

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    Designing the school zone

    School may be out for the summer, but I can't stop thinking about picking up my child, who attends the local public school.

  • Letters to the editor

    Your editorial of June 2005 was so “on the money” I felt like I wrote it myself. I have made it mandatory reading for my employees and submitted an “FYI” copy to our Board of County Commissioners....

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    Interstate's Golden anniversary to be celebrated

    The Rhode Island DOT will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Interstate on June 29, 2006. This milestone will recognize the impact the Dwight David Eisenhower Interstate and Defense Highway System has had on the transportation system.

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    Senate passes energy bill

    On June 28, Senate passed the HR-6 energy bill by a vote of 85–12. Unlike the House-approved version, the Senate's version does not include a liability waiver preventing local governments from recovering cleanup costs associated with water supply contamination caused by methyl tertiary butyl ether.

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    Smart growth technical assistance awarded

    The EPA has selected five communities to receive assistance from a team of private-sector national experts in planning for future growth. The EPA will direct ICF Consulting, Fairfax, Va., to organize multi-disciplinary teams to provide the communities with tools and resources to find innovative...

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    Smart parking accommodates commuters

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    Concrete canoe competition stays afloat

    A team of students from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, won this year's American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Concrete Canoe Competition, held June 25–27. The contest, designed to provide students with a practical application of the engineering principles they learned in the classroom...

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    UCLA starts water technology research center

    University of California at Los Angeles's (UCLA) Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has formed a new Water Technology Research Center, led by Yoram Cohen and dubbed the WaTeR Center. It will develop technologies to turn brackish or seawater into fresh water.

  • MTBE analyses predict high cleanup costs

    Two new studies predict the costs to remove methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) contamination from public drinking water systems across the United States. Costs are likely to be in the range of $25 billion to $33.2 billion and could be as high as $85 billion. The studies are commissioned by the...

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    APWA Recognizes top projects

    The American Public Works Association (APWA) has announced its top public works projects of 2005. This year, 14 projects were recognized in various categories.

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    PUBLIC WORKS BRIEFS: August 2005

    Report promotes water system security, Illinois garners water tasting award, and other news.

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    What's the cost?

    How much is a planter full of flowers worth to your town? Sure, you can figure out what the monetary cost is to set it up and maintain it, but what is the value of having the planter downtown or on a main street? Or better yet, what is the cost to your town's “quality of life” or appearance if the...