ASK ANN

"I recently heard mention of a "Green Infrastructure program" and I am interested in knowing more about it. Do you have information available?"

The objective of the green infrastructure project is to adapt rural natural resource strategies and agroforestry technologies to solve metropolitan environmental problems. The Mid America Regional Council (MARC) in Kansas City, MO received a $630,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to create demonstration programs, conduct outreach activities and support large-scale green infrastructure design and development programs in this region. You may contact Tom Jacobs, Director of Environmental Programs, MARC, at TJACOBS@MARC.ORG.

"I recently read about "Rainwater Harvesting" and am curious about its application for public works. Is this something we may need to do to conserve water?"

With continued drought conditions across much of our country, it would make sense that we might need to look for new sources of water and, of course, we do. However, the process of harvesting rainwater is designed for residential and small commercial users, not public water supply agencies. The Texas Water Development Board has produced a guidebook which offers detailed information and is available on their website at www.twdb.state.tx.us/assistance/conservation/Cons-image/Downloads/RainHarv.pdf. While the process may be limited to small areas, it may be something that residents immediately outside city boundaries could benefit from using. Share it if you like.

Stephen G. Lippy, Bureau of Solid Waste Management for Baltimore County, MD, wrote asking the following: "Several years ago I solicited responses on using a conveyor belt at a residents' drop-off center in lieu of the more standard roll-off container or retaining wall arrangement. At that time, the general consensus was that people were not happy with the results. For several fiscal and physical reasons, we are considering using the conveyor belt concept again. If anyone has experience with residents loading conveyor belts, whether successful or not, I would appreciate hearing about your experiences."

We all know that old adage that "if you wait long enough everything old becomes new again." Is this a process you have an opinion on? Would you share the information with Stephen? If so you may contact him at slippy@co.ba.md.us. If you want to share your information with me, we'll pass it along in a future column.

"Does anyone have a policy that allows their sign shop to sell street signs to the public? If so, does it produce much revenue?" asks Holt Hopkins from Anderson County, South Carolina.

Government agencies, especially those in local or county settings, often find themselves involved in a dispute with commercial providers in the same area if they offer their services to the general public. And especially if the price is lower than the market price routinely charged by commercial vendors. Some have even been criticized for purchasing signs from state prison agencies whose price includes very little labor charge. A local public works agency would probably not have enough manpower to produce signs on demand for use outside their own needs. Consider the public relations risk before committing to this project. The dollars you might earn may not offset the bad press you would likely receive.

"I recently read about the new outbreak of Cryptosporidium. I know there was big push to toughen the regulations on this dangerous pathogen but I haven't heard anything about it lately. Any news on that front?"

EPA did propose rules in 2002 which directed enhanced surface water treatment and disinfection byproduct treatment. Cryptosporidium is a waterborne pathogen resistant to common disinfectants like chlorine. It causes gastrointestinal illness that can be fatal to children, the elderly, and the immuno-compromised. While EPA officials believe most public water systems are now providing sufficient treatment, they realize some may still require more protection because they are more vulnerable to Cryptosporidium. The strengthened LT2 rule will prevent up to one million new cases per year and up to 140 premature deaths. For more detailed information visit the EPA website at www.epa.gov.

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) 472-0405
E-mail: adaniels@apwa.net