"Now that we've gotten over the shock of Hurricane Katrina and are left to deal with the realities of cleaning everything up, what are they doing with the debris from all the houses that were lost?"

As you would expect, finding sources to dispose of all the construction and demolition waste, as well as vegetative waste, has been a real problem. EPA has been forced to take extraordinary measures to handle the millions of tons of waste created by the storm. Mississippi has opened up dozens of emergency landfills which includes 13 building debris disposal locations in the state's three coastal counties that were hardest hit. Most of us wonder how that could happen, knowing the detailed and lengthy process involved in siting and permitting a new landfill. These sites bypassed the normal regulatory process and were selected due to their high clay content, which serves as a natural liner to contain the debris.

"I'm looking for a document that will list grants available from the federal government and how to go about applying for them. Can you point me in the right direction?"

There is a Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance website that contains on online catalog of federal domestic assistance programs available to state and local governments, as well as many other units of government. It provides information on types of financial and non-financial assistance, uses and restrictions, eligibility requirements, information about writing grant proposals, application and award processes, contacts, examples of funded projects, criteria for selecting proposals, and guidelines and policies. You can locate the document at

"Every once in awhile we need to find some public works pictures from the past. I know APWA sells some in the catalog but I'm looking for some that have some information about them, as well. Can you recommend a source?"

You just hit the jackpot! The Public Works Historical Society has just recently published a booklet entitled Scene by the Engineer: Remarkable Prints from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. The material was compiled by William E. Worthington, Jr. and provides 140 pages of pure public works history of various projects and public works operations. Check it out at the online catalog at and enter the title to search for it. Can't beat the price of $10 for APWA members. And if you're not a Public Works Historical Society member, you need to be! Contact Teresa Hon at for all the membership information. Help us protect our heritage!

"My department has just started the Self Assessment process leading up to Accreditation. I notice that one of the new practices requires a Vulnerability Study be completed for our wastewater treatment plant. I know we have to have one, but can you give us some guidance about what things should be included or where to go for help in putting it together?"

The National Environmental Services Center of West Virginia University, through a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has developed an outstanding document entitled "Ten Steps to Maintain Critical Wastewater Services and Protect Public Health in an Emergency." The pamphlet is written as a checklist and in plain language that anyone can read and comprehend. To order copies, contact the National Environmental Service Center Product Distribution Unit at

"Does anyone have a suggestion as to how we can cut down on truck traffic using our two-lane rural roads as shortcuts between Interstates? Not only does this increase the traffic on our usually quiet roads, but the wear and tear is really cutting in on our maintenance and repair budgets."

I never thought I'd see gravel roads make a reappearance after we've struggled for decades to pave them all, but that seems to be a growing trend in agencies where the heavy traffic is growing in out-of-the-way places. There seem to be several reasons why agencies are tearing up perfectly good asphalt and pouring a layer of gravel and then sealing it with oil. Some places, like West Marlborough Township, PA, are doing it because of the excessive amounts of traffic at all hours of the day and night in what was usually a peaceful stretch of road. The New Jersey Department of Transportation is downgrading an expressway along the riverfront to a boulevard (although they don't plan to gravel it). The boulevard would have links to city streets but would, by its nature, discourage high speeds and big trucks. Pennsylvania lets townships declare a road a "scenic route" and that allows them to quit maintaining it so it eventually reverts back to a dirt-covered surface. Even Orlando, FL has torn asphalt off five miles of streets, exposing the original brick surface underneath. They say it has cut traffic by 10% and lowered speeds. Sounds like reverting to the past, but "everything old is new again" and this may be the solution.

Ask Ann...

Questions are welcome.

Please address all inquiries to:

Ann Daniels
Director of Technical Services
APWA, 2345 Grand Blvd., Suite 500
Kansas City, MO 64108-2625

Fax questions to: (816) 472-1610