ASK ANN

I participated in a survey last year asking about Core Competencies for Public Works Directors. Are the results available yet?

They certainly are. The Leadership and Management Committee completed tabulation of the surveys and has prepared several items to present the results to our members. The first is a brochure entitled "Public Works Leaders' Core Competencies" and can be found at www.apwa.net/About/PET/Leadership/, and then click on the PDF link. A description of the survey and how it was conducted is located at www.apwa.net/About/PET/Leadership/, and click on "Additional information." The third is a series of thirteen articles to be printed in the Reporter, each one describing one of the "Baker's Dozen" of the Competencies (the first article in the series is on page 37 in this issue). If you wish to make comments, you can direct them to me or to Wayne Tanda, Chair of the Leadership and Management Committee, at wtanda@dot.lacity.org.

I often read items about "alternative fuels" and the benefits an agency can get from using them in their fleets. Any success stories you could share?

In Missouri we have an old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." However, that sometimes leads to old-fashioned thinking, and using alternative fuels usually falls under that heading. On the other hand, the City of Berkeley actually just completed conversion to 100 percent biodiesel for virtually their entire fleet. The City believes they will provide a practical demonstration of the viability of this fuel alternative. Biodiesel is comprised of vegetable oil, usually soybean oil. It has numerous advantages including less than half the emissions produced by petroleum-based diesel, according to U.S. EPA. The City is using biodiesel in 90 percent of its 200 diesel vehicles with the remaining 10 percent that are Fire Department vehicles to be converted when accommodations are made for delivering biodiesel to the more remote fire stations throughout the City. Check out their website at www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/news/2003/09Sep/092403biodiesel.html.

Aside from deicer and salt and sand, is anyone successfully using any innovative techniques to control snow and ice?

In a few locations in the world, roads or streets are heated as a way to control snow and ice. In the U.S., Snowmelt Road in Snowmass Village, Colorado, holds the front and center spot. The road consists of 3,500 feet of pavement with 9 inches of concrete placed over more than 14 miles of heat tubing. Three boiler systems are used that heat water to heat propylene glycol which is circulated through the tubing to melt snow and ice from the road. For more information, contact Hunt Walker, Public Works Director, at hwalker@tosv.com.

With the major thrust of terrorism activities being directed in Iran and Afghanistan, are our water systems safer now? Is there any real need to worry about security for these systems?

History tells us that "Nero fiddled while Rome burned." If we're not careful, we may find disaster striking our water systems while our backs are turned. Complacency breeds contempt and thinking all is well could lead to unsuspected attacks on these systems. The best protection is information. Recognizing that water security is a shared responsibility between water systems, governments, law enforcement, and our citizens, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has developed flyers to educate and alert communities. They are available on EPA's Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water website. The philosophy behind the flyers is that the more citizens who are aware of the potential threats and are watching, the greater protection is available. The flyers are designed to be posted in public areas and to encourage citizens to be on the lookout for suspicious activities. They are available in different formats, depending on the format needed. Space is provided for the community to provide contact information. For more information or to download the flyers, go to www.epa.gov/OGWDW/security/flyers/index.html.

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