Q&A - Glad You Asked

The normal format for this feature has been to present a group of questions along with the responses that APWA has been able to provide to each question. In almost every case our response has ended with a request for more information on the subject from readers. In this issue we are going to vary our format and "plug" the terrific benefits for APWA members in signing up for one or more of the new infoNOW Communities. All of the questions presented in this issue come from APWA's infoNOW Communities.

Q. Debra Davis, City of Worcester, MA, has asked APWA for information on sanitary sewer connections. Her question was as follows: "Our current specifications require one sanitary connection per building. They specifically do not allow for shared connections to multiple buildings on one lot. Condominiums are now sprouting up, unattached single family homes in maintenance-free condominium complexes. With shared ownership, is there still a need for single connections for each building within these complexes? What are the standards in your community for condominium complexes?"

A. Ms. Davis' question produced 17 responses when it was posted on the infoNOW Environment Community. Seventeen excellent responses to one simple question! If you would like copies of these responses, please contact me at jmacmullen@apwa.net or (816) 472-6100.

Q. Saeed Kashi, Town Engineer, Plymouth, MA, asked the following short and to the point question: "I am trying to develop a checklist for reviewing site plans. Any suggestions? Samples?"

A. Mr. Kashi's question resulted in four almost instantaneous responses. These responses came so quickly that one-which recommended APWA's video-based Construction Inspector training course-was posted before staff could post a response. We were able to add that APWA's 2001 Publications Catalog contains a new publication entitled Public Works Inspectors Manual.

Q. Bill Terry, Internal Services Superintendent, Town of Chapel Hill, NC, posted a multi-part question on vehicle maintenance. His question was as follows: "The Town of Chapel Hill is reviewing its policy on whether or not the Town should provide tools for automotive mechanics or require them to have their own tools. We are interested in finding out what other agencies are doing in regard to the following questions:

1. Do mechanics supply their own tools?

2. If employees provide their own tools, do you pay a tool allotment and, if yes, how much?

3. If you provide the tools, how much do you spend per year per mechanic for replacement/updated tools?

4. Who has keys (access) to the garage after hours?

5. When is the garage staffed and open?

6. Can employees work on private vehicles/projects in the garage?

7. Are employees allowed in the garage when it is closed?"

A. Mr. Terry's question prompted three equally detailed responses within a few days.

Q. Courtney Stephens, Fleet Manager, City of St. George, UT, was another Operations Community member who received multiple responses. The following question of his brought four very good responses: "We are presently doing a review of our vehicle fleet and are interested in knowing the standards or schedule you use to determine when vehicles should be replaced. Do you use age, mileage, or other interval measurements like cost of maintenance? Any policy or standard that you are using would be helpful."

A. Again, one of our members beat APWA's staff to the punch and noted that one of our publications, Managing Public Equipment, contained a chapter that answered this question in great detail. In all fairness, it must be admitted that the responder in this case was the author of the publication, but where else can you ask a question on public works and get an answer directly from the guy who literally wrote the book on the subject? To view these questions and the responses provided by an outstanding group of public works professionals, visit the Members Only area of APWA's web site and sign on to all of the infoNOW Communities that interest you. You will not be disappointed.

Glad You Asked...

Questions are welcome.

Please address all inquires to:
John "Mac" MacMullen,
c/o APWA, 2345 Grand Blvd., Suite #500
Kansas City, MO 64108-2641
Fax questions to (816) 472-0405
E-mail: jmacmullen@apwa.net