municipal Archives - Infrastructure Digest

Largo to spend $37M on sewer upgrades

“The big driver is (that) it’s going to stop the overflows,” city engineer Leland Dicus said.

The sewer improvements are the result of problems that started about 15 years ago when the system overflowed during the heavy rains of that hurricane season, Dicus said. The overflow came out through manhole covers and dumped sewage in the street that eventually made its way to the bay. In all, Dicus said, about 30 million gallons of overflow came out of the system.

Why should you read this? Just the numbers: “$37M”, “30 million gallons of overflow.” Tampa Bay Times, January 2015

MWRD, Denmark sign MOU to share knowledge, expertise about water industry

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) recently announced that it has entered into a collaborative agreement under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Aarhus Water, an independent regional water and wastewater enterprise owned by the municipality of Aarhus, Denmark.
The partnership was celebrated during a ceremonial gathering held at the Consulate General of Denmark on Friday, Jan. 16, at the John Hancock Center in Chicago, Ill., where MWRD President Mariyana T. Spyropoulos; Aarhus Water CEO Lars Schrøder; H.E. Peter Taksøe-Jensen, ambassador of Denmark to the U.S.; and other MWRD Commissioners all participated in the MOU signing ceremony.

Why should you read this? Chicago and Denmark? WaterWorld, January 2015

What happens when a dedicated wastewater treatment operator earns a pilot’s license? Answer: One of the most unique hobbies you can image.

About 12 years ago, Marcel Tremblay earned his pilot’s license and began a hobby that combined two of his passions: wastewater treatment and flying. Tremblay noticed airports and wastewater treatment plants are often located close to each other, so he began taking aerial photos of the plants and arranging plant tours for when he landed. His fly-over features soon become a regular component of Mass Waters, the Massachusetts Water Pollution Control Association’s newsletter, which Tremblay edits.

Since then, Tremblay has flown to nearly every corner of the state as he explores various wastewater treatment systems.

Why should you read this? It’s always seemed to me that treatment plants are some of the most beautifully designed public facilities, so I’m on board with this hobby. TPO, January 2015

A Huge Success Story: Real-Time Monitoring A Hit Down Under

The site already includes a very busy railway corridor, a bus tunnel and a historic building. This required Watpac to provide assurances to the owners of those assets — Queensland Rail, TRANSLink and the South Bank Corporation, respectively — that the 12-month construction process would not damage them. With this in mind, the company needed a geospatial solution to monitor the work in real time, non-stop, from start to completion, and alert it to any deformation that could lead to a collapse and endanger lives — so that trains and busses could be stopped before they entered the hub and construction personnel could be evacuated in time.

Why should you read this? The realities of increasing litigation and improving monitoring technology more or less dictate that some sort of monitoring will be coming soon to your town. POB, January 2015

Can Taller Buildings Make Toronto More Affordable?

“A two-story-high change in Ontario’s building code could help to increase density and ease affordable housing strains in the city of Toronto. As of January 1st, developers can now construct wood-frame buildings up to six stories; the previous height limit was four stories.”

Why should you read this? Interesting city planning decision. Next City, January 2015


U.S. Supertowers, Megaprojects Retake Center Stage

“Supertall building construction continues apace—especially in New York City, where workers topped out the 1,396-ft-tall 432 Park Avenue residential tower, designed by Rafael Vinoly Architects. Work has begun on another Big Apple “supertall”: the 1,775-ft Nordstrom Tower, designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture. In Chicago, schematic design is underway for an 89-story building, designed by Studio Gang Architects.”

Why should you read this? Personally, I’m a sucker for supertall stories (and have written more than a few myself). ENR, December 2014

“Urban Metabolism” Could Beat “Sustainability” in a Buzzword Contest

“In the past two years, Yale’s Journal of Industrial Ecology has published a special issue devoted to “urban metabolism for the urban century” and a paper on “an urban metabolism approach to Los Angeles.” The phrase has also turned up in books such as Sustainable Urban Metabolism, published in 2013 by MIT Press.

Clearly, certain precincts of academia are abuzz about this concept. And if still another recent paper — “Mainstreaming Urban Metabolism” — has any sway, the term could become as familiar in urban circles as “resilience” and “Vision Zero.” But what exactly does it mean? For the next time you encounter it — when you read about it in a planning journal, or an urban-nerd friend mentions it at a cocktail party — here’s a cheat sheet.”

Why should you read this? Know your buzzwords! Next City, December 2014

City of Columbus, Ohio, Designs ‘Blueprint’ to Control Overflows

However, as the City began to enter subsequent phases of the tunnel program that focuses on controlling separate sanitary overflows, it decided to take a different tack. Rather than continue to build out the tunnel program, the City decided to address the cause of the overflows rather than the symptoms by refocusing its efforts on eliminating inflow-and-infiltration (I/I) through a comprehensive rehabilitation program and green infrastructure improvements. City officials believe that this approach — dubbed Blueprint Columbus — will achieve greater water quality benefits in a manner that will offer economic and social advantages that will benefit the City for generations to come.  

Why should you read this? Everyone loves a good I&I reduction story… Trenchless Technology, November 2014

What the Heck is Acoustic Pipe Inspection?

“Simply put, acoustic pipe inspection, or AI, uses sound to locate and characterize pipe based on the sound of flowing water. And, it’s quickly becoming a buzzword for infrastructure owners and managers thanks to its potential cost savings.

AI systems can help prioritize maintenance needs, which lets utilities avoid needless cleaning of relatively clean pipes or repairs to pipes with only minor issues.”

Why should you read this? Cheap, effective pipe inspection and leak detection? Sounds interesting (see what I did there?). First of three articles. Municipal Sewer & Water, December 2014

Mastering the strategic planning process

“Most people think of public works as the department that fixes things. But in the City of Largo, Fla., it’s also the department that plans ahead.

It does this so well that the American Public Works Association (APWA) recommends Largo’s strategic planning process as a model practice for others to follow when applying for APWA accreditation. Since becoming accredited in 2008, a three-year cycle that produced a set plan has changed to a five-year rolling process that makes it easier for department managers to match priorities to financial and capital planning documents on a $12.6 million budget.”

 Why should you read this article? It appears that someone is making a success of strategic planning. Public Works, December 2014

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