"We are considering composting with our organic wastes. I know it has been done for some time by lots of places but we really want to try to find a way to use some of our biosolids from the wastewater treatment plant, as well. Have any ideas whether that would work or not?"

Boy, do I! The City of Davenport, IA (recently accredited as the 45th accredited agency in North America!) has an outstanding composting program which does exactly that. The "proof is in the pudding" as my Daddy used to say, and the 1,176-pound pumpkin that was the state fair champion this year is ample proof. All kidding aside, Davenport has a great program involving the biosolids along with yard waste. They bag and sell the product to landscapers and individuals. For more information contact Tom Bylund, Solid Waste Superintendent, at

"One of our employees recently attended an equipment expo and won a big screen television. Our city paid for his registration and all his expenses. Does he have to give the TV to the City or does it belong to him?"

The answer is a definite "maybe." The first place to check is your agency's code of ethics or professional conduct and/or your state's laws concerning the topic. The purpose of such a document is to make it clear to all elected officials and agency employees exactly what may or may not be accepted as gifts. If the policy isn't in place or doesn't address such a "drawing" specifically, you'd need to ask for clarification from the agency's legal counsel. Most codes will not allow employees to accept or solicit any gift that might influence them in their official capacity. Since no one asked your employee for a favor, and it was a random drawing, it might be construed to be outside the parameters of the code of ethics and he may be free to accept it for his personal use. I certainly wouldn't assume anything, though, without checking it out first.

"I've seen references made to EMAC in some of the Emergency Management infoNOW postings and am curious about what it is."

Thanks for asking. Sometimes those of us who use acronyms frequently forget that our readers or listeners may not be familiar with them. EMAC is short for Emergency Management Assistance Compact. The EMAC is an agreement among state emergency management coordinators to provide mutual aid across state lines during a disaster. Administered by the National Emergency Management Association, EMAC provides another way for states to receive interstate aid in a disaster, especially when not all disasters are eligible for federal disaster assistance. APWA is represented on the EMAC Advisory Board by Larry Zensinger. For more information and details visit

"I think I missed the first Online Mentoring Call. Will there be another one? How can I sign up?"

If you did, you missed a good one. However, it's not too late to catch the second in the series of four calls. The next one is scheduled for Thursday, January 24, 2008, at 1:00 Central time. The topic for this session will be "Humble Beginnings-Unlimited Opportunities." For call-in information and other details, check the website at

"Same old question. How can we finance the much-needed upgrades and increased capacity for our wastewater treatment plant? Nobody wants to pay for it."

Same old answer. "Wish I knew an easy way but I don't." However, I can point you to the new Financing Alternatives Comparison Tool (FACT) recently introduced by the Environmental Protection Agency which details the Clean Water State Revolving Fund program. FACT is a financial analysis tool that helps identify the most cost-effective method to fund a wastewater or drinking water management project. It produces a comprehensive analysis that compares various financing options for these projects by incorporating financing, regulatory, and other important costs. If you're interested in checking out this new tool, visit the EPA website at

"We have many miles of unpaved (dirt) roads in our county. We are looking for products or processes to use that help to stabilize them and are cost effective. Any suggestions?"

Mohave County, AZ, is using a polymer compound that is mixed in with their aggregate on the many, many miles of unpaved roads in the jurisdiction. The mix produces a harder surface and almost looks like the road has been sealed. For more information, contact Nick Hont at

"So, when's the Certified Infrastructure Inspector Professional program getting underway?"

It was announced at Congress in San Antonio. Check out the website at The first exam will be given March 29, 2008.

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