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TECHNICAL COMMITTEE NEWS

Solid Waste Management Committee: Sharing their knowledge, assisting our members

Art Gall
Technical Services Program Manager
APWA Kansas City Office

The Solid Waste Management Technical Committee actually began its present year's agenda in the spring of 2004 at the March Combined Meeting. This two-day conference offered the opportunity for all of the Technical Committees to engage in a day of face-to-face dialogue and goal setting. The Solid Waste Management Committee's deliberations led to the selection of annual priorities and objectives, expressed as a preliminary 2004-05 Business Plan, which was adopted at the September Congress.

The other day of this annual weekend gathering, held in Kansas City, highlighted individual committee activities and initiatives and reports from then-President Dwayne Kalynchuk, then-President-Elect Tom Trice, and Executive Director Peter King. The three gave updates on revisions to the association's Strategic Plan, member needs survey, and the success of the Click, Listen & Learn webcast training series. The meeting's interaction and idea-sharing helped refine the association's mission in the coming year.

Such overall coordination is critical to the Technical Committees' role as centers of expertise for the APWA members. Given the diverse nature of the public works profession, member service providers need a cross-referenced point of view. What are the water quality impacts of increased runoff from transportation projects or public works yards? How do new Homeland Security provisions affect daily operations or treatment plant security? Can green roofs on municipal buildings be part of an aquifer recharge system? The more that the nine Technical Committees can combine their efforts, the more relevant their guidance.

The Solid Waste Management Committee's real work commenced in the months before the annual Congress in Atlanta. Members were responsible for producing and submitting solid waste-related technical sessions. Jim Close was a speaker at a program on the diversion of construction and demolition (C&D) debris from conventional disposal. Other committee members arranged for presentations on new bioreactor landfill regulations, the timely subject of terrorism's impact on solid waste operations, and scrap tire disposal/recycling.

The 2004-05 committee consists of the Chair, Keith Hunke, Public Works Director - Service Operations in the City of Bismarck, ND. Jim Close, the veteran of the committee, is the Director of Public Works for the City of Harrisburg, PA. Ram Tewari, the Director of the Solid Waste Operations Division of Broward County, FL, is in his second term. New for this year are three committee members: Dawn Ritchie, Greenways Manager, City of Fort Wayne, IN; Jos‚ Gamboa, Superintendent of Solid Waste, City of Santa Cruz, CA; and Roger Flint, Director - Public Works & Utilities, from the City of Spokane, WA.

The Board liaison is Environmental-At-Large Director George Crombie, who represents the Solid Waste Management and Water Resources Management Committees. George is the Director of Public Works for the Town of Plymouth, MA and was the Chair of last year's committee. The staff liaison for the committee is Art Gall.

A household hazardous waste program survey was initiated by Keith Hunke and posted on the APWA web page (www.apwa.net). This survey, sent through the Environment infoNOW Community, yielded an encouraging number of responses and amount of information. These positive results gave impetus to the article, "Evolution of municipal household hazardous waste collection programs" in this issue.

Hazardous waste collection programs will also be highlighted in one of the committee's 2005 Congress educational sessions. In addition, members were responsible for arranging the following educational offerings: "Municipalizing Contracted Solid Waste/Recycling Services" and a waste-to-energy facilities update, "Energy Recovery: A Solid Waste Solution."

One of the Technical Committees' key roles is providing assistance to APWA Washington Office legislative advocates. There is constant communication, via e-mail, legislative briefings and the monthly conference calls. Heather Doucet, of the Washington staff, reports on upcoming changes to the regulatory landscape. In return, the committee provides feedback on technical or operational matters. Areas of concern emphasized were a national economic incentive for recycling, electronic (E) waste, revised EPA regulations for the disposal of CRTs, and the international/interstate movement of solid waste. There was discussion of proposed federal regulations for solid waste flow control.

To help draft and annually update the association's advocacy, regulatory and technical guidance position statements, the committee reviewed and modified, where necessary, the following positions:

  • Brownfields
  • Environmentally Preferable and Recycled Content Product and Service Procurement (a reference to online resources)
  • Federal Resource Conservation & Recovery Act Program
  • Integrated Solid Waste Management Systems
  • Municipal Solid Waste Flow Control
  • Superfund
  • Environmental Justice in Providing Public Works Services
  • Municipal Solid Waste Organics Recycling

Throughout the year, concepts for several solid waste publications were outlined. The committee expressed a desire to produce manuals detailing the solid waste aspects of emergency response to terrorism and a glossary of public works-related terms. It was felt that the glossary had the potential for translation as a field guide for non-English speaking workers.

The dedicated volunteers serving on the Solid Waste Management Committee should be proud of their many accomplishments noted above. But next year offers another chance to match, or exceed, their present achievements.

Art Gall can be reached at (800) 848-APWA or at agall@apwa.net.