Planning and Investment Manager
ginia Department of Transportation
Kenneth M. Eyre, P.E
Greeley and Hansen, LLC
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT
Matthew F. Villareale
Assistant Director of Public Works
Prince William County, Virginia
Steven J. Yob, P.E.
County Eng/Director PW
Henrico County, Virginia
Judith L. Hines
Assistant Director of Public Works
City of Newport News, Virginia
Sharyn L. Fox
Municipal Program Manager
Whitman Requardt and Associates, LLP
Newport News, Virgini
Fred Whitley, P.E.
Senior Project Manager
Newport News, Virginia
Robert K. Bengtson, P.E.
Director of Public Works
City of Roanoke, Virginia
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Harold R. Caples, P.E.
Virginia Department of Transportation
Donald J. Cole
Brown and Caldwell
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Sherry B. Earley, P.E.
City of Suffolk, Virginia
Gaynelle L. Hart
Director of Public Works
City of Lynchburg, Virginia
Phillip J. Koetter, P.E.
Operations Management Administrator
partment of Public Works
City of Virginia Beach, Virginia
Joe Kroboth, III, P.E., L.S., PWLF
Director, Transp. and Cap. Infrastructure
Loudoun County, Virginia
Kelly Mattingly, LEED-AP, CRM
Director of Public Works
Town of Blacksburg, Virginia
David W. Plum, P.E.
or Manager, Municipal Engineering
Rummel, Klepper & Kahl, LLP
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Scott A. Smith, PE, LS
Chief, Coastal Resiliency
City of Norfolk DPW
Greetings fellow APWA members!
For this issue of the newsletter I have an update on the fall strategic planning session held in October. Each year, the Executive Board assesses the health of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter and sets a course for the upcoming year. Taking into account the Chapter's budget and any policy or program updates from National APWA, the Board reviews core functions to evaluate performance. This year's strategic session focused on the areas of administration, finance and activities. These core functions are in many ways the heartbeat of the Chapter and are a good measure of how well the Chapter is achieving overall goals. Well-defined administrative procedures indicate fairness and continuity in adhering to the many tasks that occur behind the scenes. Good financial stewardship means the leadership is balancing resources with expenditures so that we are investing in our membership today while maintaining a monetary reserve to ensure our future. A successful activities program means we are reaching our membership and providing valuable networking and educational opportunities such as the Public Works Institute and Lunch and Learn programs. In taking stock of these core functions a few recommendations emerged for action in the next calendar year.
Improvements in the administrative area include updating important legal documents such as the Chapter Bylaws, maintaining relevant and accurate content on the Chapter's website, and implementing web-based document sharing for storing and editing documents. In the area of financial management, the Finance Committee brought forth recommendations for the annual operating budget. First an increase in membership dues (which have not been updated in over a decade) was recommended to ensure operating revenues support chapter functions. Effective in April 2017, annual chapter membership dues will increase from $10 to $20. Always mindful of good financial stewardship, a thorough review of expenditures was performed to explore costs saving measures. The Board reviewed the contract for the Chapter Administrator, which is generally one of the largest budget items. The Chapter Administrator performs the bulk of critical core functions such as registration, fee collection, membership outreach, legal requirements and other business tasks. The Board is mindful of this expense and where possible engages volunteers to perform these duties. In the area of activities, the Board saw an opportunity to reduce subsidies for certain programs. The goal for most educational programs is to become self-sustaining. As such, there will be a focus on improving cost estimating and setting registration fees.
These recommendations for improvement do not overshadow the many successes achieved over the past year. They serve only to provide continuous improvement for future growth and expansion of the Chapter's mission. Many thanks to those who devoted volunteer hours in serving on committees, hosting or speaking at an event, serving as an instructor for the Public Works Institute, mentoring young professionals, organizing the annual conference and performing other various chapter leadership functions.
In summary we close 2016, our 60th year as a Chapter, with many reasons to celebrate. I look forward to the things we will accomplish together in 2017.
APWA Mid-Atlantic Chapter
Mid-Atlantic Public Works Institute Update
Scott A. Smith, PE, LS, PWI Chair
The Public Works Institute enjoyed another successful session of this unique leadership training initiative. The third session was held on September 20-22, 2016 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Woodbridge, Virginia. This was our most well attended session to date, with record setting enrollment of 50 participants - maxing out registration for the session.
Mid-Atlantic Public Works Institute Session III, Woodbridge, VA - September 21, 2016
The third session focused on Communication, Finance and Legal issues related to Public Works operations and management. We were excited to have a host of speakers representing several companies and agencies from across the Chapter to present over the three-day session.
Special thanks to our sponsors: the APWA Mid-Atlantic Chapter, Greeley and Hansen, Waste Industries, Brown & Caldwell, and Mattern & Craig. Without their support, we would not be able to continue this important professional development opportunity. The steering committee would also like to thank Prince William County for providing several outstanding speakers, coordinating the set-up and logistics for the networking event, and allowing us to host the Wednesday night social at the historic Rippon Lodge.
Make Plans Now!
Registration will be opening soon for Session IV, which will be held April 4-6, 2017 in Richmond. It will focus on Executive Leadership.
ruly effective leaders in today's "what-have-you-done-for-me-lately" world must have the long view. The most visionary leaders of today and in history possess long term planning, a systems perspective, strategic thinking, and ethical decision-making skills. This session provides insight into these skills. Specific topics to be covered are:
- Presentation skills
- Organizational self-assessment
- APWA Accreditation
- Equipment and fleet management
- Strategic planning
- Policy development and implementation
- Creating and growing sustainable communities
- Leveraging resources with other entities
- Systems thinking within public works
- Data based decision making in public works
- Succession planning
If you would like more information, wish to volunteer to instruct, or offer to help out at the April 4-6, 2017 session, please contact
International Coastal Cleanup - Getting My Feet Wet
The City of Suffolk took part in the International Coastal Cleanup organized by Ocean Conservancy for the first time. This Virginia state-wide initiative is coordinated through Clean Virginia Waterways based at Longwood University. The initiative is designed to raise awareness and reduce ocean marine debris. As Litter Control Coordinator for the city, I took on the challenge of conducting a debris survey of the downtown section of the Nansemond River shoreline. I knew we had much to consider before undertaking such an effort, particularly since we planned to complete the survey in canoes and kayaks.
Along with the challenges by conducting a clean-up by water, the International Coastal Cleanup also collects information on the type of debris and how much is getting into our waterways. To collect data on the debris, a survey must be taken to find out how what and how much debris such as tires, plastic bottles and kitchen sinks are found within the area surveyed. As you can see there were a number of practical challenges - primarily to clean up debris, reach for plastic bottles and complete a survey . . . without drifting or dropping items.
As our first year and the many challenges we faced, I wanted to "get my feet wet"
before we really promoted it and recruited volunteers from the public. I registered our cleanup with Clean Virginia Waterways, but I kept it exclusive to volunteers I knew could handle the challenges. Based on their feedback, I could plan future events so that they could be open to the public and managed effectively so everyone felt successful. As experienced volunteer coordinators know, it is essential that an event is well organized and tasks are coordinated. Nothing frustrates a person donating their time more than a poorly organized and executed event. This year's controlled event gave me an excellent foundation to build on for next year and beyond.
So what did we learn from our three-hour pilot effort on a beautiful Saturday morning in October?
- We learned we need two people to manage the canoes and kayaks and tasks. One person has the litter grabbers and one person with the pencil and clipboard to record the data.
- We also learned we needed to clean up and count the items at the same time. I had originally thought that we would do the cleanup, then emptying the bags and recording all the debris using the app developed by Ocean Conservancy to complete the survey. However, it quickly became apparent by the rate we were filling the bags that this method would be extremely time consuming.
- In addition, there were a number of larger items we had to leave behind, but needed to be added to the survey. The largest of these items was an ice refrigerator, the type you find outside any gas station. I suspect this came from the gas station washed out by hurricane Mathew the week before and then marooned in the wetlands.
Having the right equipment is also important. I purchased four sets of 6ft long litter grabbers and tested them out during this cleanup. The grabbers allowed up to reach into the wetlands and easily grab plastic bottles and other types of consumer packaging. I would highly recommend these for this type of a cleanup. It's also important to have a larger canoe or small boat to go between teams offloading the collected debris, providing supplies and dropping the debris at the collection point.
From the experience, I know it was the right step to conduct a test run before opening up the event to all interested volunteers. It was a fun and educational experience. It was also very rewarding to be part of an international effort to collate data and contribute to a global picture of what type of debris is finding its way into our oceans. I am looking forward to inviting the public into such a worthwhile endeavor. Working together to gather quantitative data, I believe governments, businesses, non-profits, and individuals can begin to address the problem, work toward solutions and hopefully see a downward trend in marine debris.
One of the highlights for me was meeting a guy named Bill Farrell. Bill was enjoying a morning stroll by the river as we were in the middle of the cleanup. He shouted out to me "thanks for doing this, I have a kayak, how can I get involved?" so I told him I'm the Litter Control Coordinator in Public Works. He called me Monday morning when I was back in the office to give me his details and noted that his wife would like to help as well. I never expected to be recruiting for next year so soon, but I'm looking forward to establishing a fun and educational annual event for my city.
Saturday 29th October 2016 - 9am till noon - High Tide
6 People (3 kayakers, 1 canoe, 1 small boat), Survey highlights:
Plastic Bottles 227
Aluminum Cans 114
Glass Bottles 63
Styrofoam Cups /
Food containers 58
Trash Can Lid inscribed "Please Don't Litter" 1
Plastic Bags 18
Wooden Planks 4
Yard Signs 3
Tool Box 1
Ice Refrigerator 1
Oil Cartons 3
Traffic Cones 2
House Insulation 1
For more information about Clean Virginia Waterways and the International Coastal Cleanup, Click HERE
Prince William Celebrates 'America Recycles Day' with the Power of Recycling
For more than 15 years, Prince William County Solid Waste Division has celebrated America's Recycles Day by hosting a free, family fun event at the Prince William County Landfill in Manassas, VA. This year's "Power of Recycling" event, which took place on October 15, had a record 900 attendees. It is a true community event, supported by residents, local organizations and businesses as well as the Board of County Supervisors.
|Billy B entertains and educates young recyclers during his Recyclmania show at Prince William Recycles Day 2016
There were lots of family and kid-friendly games, activities and displays, most geared toward learning about recycling, waste reduction and reuse.
Attendees were also entertained by regionally known environmental "edutainer" Billy B, and enjoyed free refreshments and door prizes.
Many residents look forward to the annual event and return year after year. Even with all the excitement under the big tent, the landfill tour is still the number one attraction during our Recycles Day event, said Deborah Campbell, Recycles Day event organizer. "Landfill tours are continuous throughout day and about 500 people took the tour."
In addition, to seeing where and how the County's trash is buried, landfill tourists are
always on the lookout for bald eagles and other wildlife that make the landfill their home. Most are also surprised and amazed to find out the power of recycling "their" trash into electricity. Methane gas given off by decaying trash is captured using a well system and converted into electricity. This electricity, enough to power 4000-5000 homes, is sold to power grid operated by
Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative the local power company. The County partners with Fortistar, the company that owns and operates the energy plant on this landfill gas to energy endeavor.
Prince William County's support of America Recycles Day began with a proclamation in early October, climaxed with Prince William Recycles Day and continued with several stations set up throughout the County to promote the "I Recycle" pledge on America Recycles Day-November 15. However, the County's commitment to increase recycling, save natural resources and preserve valuable landfill space is an everyday event.
Fairfax County's Wastewater Management is a Utility of the Future Today Recipient
Matthew Kaiser, information officer, Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services
Wastewater Collection Division Director Stacey Smalls accepted the Utility of the Future Today award on behalf of the Fairfax County Wastewater Management Program during a ceremony in New Orleans last month. Fairfax County was among 61 other utilities from the U.S., Canada, and Denmark to be recognized. Recipients were selected based upon the adoption UOTF principles - water reuse, watershed stewardship, beneficial biosolids reuse, community partnering and engagement, energy efficiency, energy generation and recovery, and nutrient and materials recovery.
Wastewater Program Highlights
- The program has received NACWA's Platinum Peak Performance Award for 18 consecutive years and has AAA bond ratings from all three major financial rating agencies.
- More than 17,000 high school students from 25 schools have participated in the Sewer Science program, and the program is being expanded to include middle and elementary schools.
- The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality certified the program's environmental management system as an Extraordinary Environmental Enterprise.
- The wastewater treatment plant uses natural gas from the I-95 landfill, which provides a financial benefit and reduces the facility's greenhouse emissions by 60 percent.
- The program established one of Virginia's first direct non-potable water reuse systems (purple pipes), which provides reclaimed water to a golf course, ball fields, and a cooling tower at a waste-to-energy plant. The five-mile system provides more than 400 million gallons of reclaimed water each year.
- New back-up generators installed to strengthen the treatment plant's electrical resiliency meet the EPA's Tier 4 air emissions standard, which is more stringent than the facility's air permit.
- The plant partnered with the county's Stormwater Management Division to address concerns of flooding from a nearby creek.
- The program participates in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments' regional marketing campaigns addressing the disposal of fats, oils, and grease and medicines.
- The program provided land to establish a baseball complex and sponsors a Little League team each season.
- Program staff help students with science fair projects and participate in stream cleanups and environmental fairs.
- The program has a decades-long partnership with George Mason University to monitor and document the restoration and health of Pohick Creek and Gunston Cove (Chesapeake Bay tributaries).
- The program participates in the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Grasses for the Masses program.
- Temporary "trial" positions are offered to a few high school graduates in which they learn skills and gain experience to better position themselves to compete for permanent positions as they become available.
Asset Management in Public Works Lunch-n-Learn, October 18, 2016
Henrico County, VA, Belmont Recreation Center
A nice turnout of public works practitioners heard from Julie Hannah, PE, Technical Services and Asset Management Manager with Virginia Beach's DPW, discussing the City Virginia Beach's asset management applications and practices regarding the City's transportation infrastructure services. Numerous assets are located in the transportation corridors for which the City commits engineering, maintenance and operational resources to keep them functioning. Some of the numerous assets located in the City's transportation corridors include:
- ADA Ramps
- Asphalt/Concrete Street Segment
- Bike Facilities
- Curb & Gutter
- Pavement Markings
- Pedestrian Signal
- Pedestrian Lights
- Sidewalk/Multi-Use Path
- Signals and Cabinets
City of Virginia Beach
Matt Stolte discussing public works asset management
Additionally, Matt Stolte, PE, the Town of Blacksburg's Assistant Director Public Works, touched on the range of service levels associated with transportation, drinking water, public buildings, museums and cultural centers, parks and grounds, fire & rescue, wastewater and stormwater. Matt also covered the role of public works and asset managament, touching on:
- Understanding Level of Service and Risk
- Determining Repair, Renew or Replace
- Keying in on Performance - day to day basis
- Being sustainable (social, economic, environmental)
- Addressing resilience - being able to recover from unforeseen events
- Recognizing capital assets reflect financial position
Matt closed out the discussion regarding physical condition assessment challenges, necessary to inform resources needs and financial requirements.
Ken Eyre, PE, Chapter President-Elect and Senior Associate with Greeley and Hansen, gave the opening welcome and set the stage for the asset management framework, and together with Julie and Matt's assistance, helped facilitate the group breakout summary of "hot" issues regarding asset management in the public sector. The summary of Asset Management challenges and concerns resulting from the facilitated group discussion included:
- Unknown infrastructure, uncertainty regarding where is it and what is its function, especially:
- o right of entry
- o physical condition
- Need for data supporting financial requests
- Regulatory compliance (Sanctions such as sanitary sewer system consent orders)
- Productivity with respect to work order measurement (cost accounting tracking response to close-out)
- Need for maintenance crew awareness, engagement and understanding of roles and responsibilities
- Quality data (from all public work sources)
- Stakeholder communication and coordination
- Need for infrastructure renewal (asset management)
- Capture institutional knowledge
- Link asset management to beginning of capital projects and O&M activities/practices
- Work Order management system(s)
- Address municipal leadership awareness of, and application of, asset management principles and applications (likelihood and consequence of failure, service levels, risk assessment)
Special thanks to Steve Yob, PE and Henrico County for serving as host for this lunch-n-learn. Based on the interest expressed by the participants, another Chapter-sponsored educational venue for asset management in public works is being considered, where the challenges and concerns resulting from the facilitated group discussion topics will be featured. Other asset management educational venues include tracks at the Chapter's 2017 Fredericksburg 59th Conference & Equipment Show.
The 2017 Fredericksburg 59th Conference & Equipment Show call for abstracts is presently out, due February 3rd. For the 2017 abstract details, CLICK HERE
Abstract instructions can be found HERE
Public Works and Millennial Employees
Public Works doesn't need the millennial generation, we need every generation. Although complaints about millennials run rampant, new research
by the Harvard Business Review has shown that millennials aren't any more entitled or lazy than other generations but rather young people of every generation show some immaturities, because they are young. The same research has shown that millennials have similar goals for their jobs as most other employees - to contribute to their organization and to the world, to work for fair and honest bosses, and to have access to opportunities for growth and advancement. In Washington DC's Department of Public Works (DPW) we asked a few millennials why they enjoy being a part of our team and their answers may shed insight on how Public Works can appeal to and take advantage of the skills and enthusiasm of younger generations.
DPW Solid Waste Management Administration (SWMA) Management Analyst: "As a millennial, I think we come with a different outlook on the world around us. We have been rooted in innovation and technology. We use mobile technology for everything and recognize the benefit it has in the work place... I believe we can find ways to enhance programs such as recycling and beautification because we care about the environment and the community in which we live...Hard work is noticed and widely recognized. Most of all, at DPW you feel like you are part of a machine in which every piece contributes to its success. Human capital is our greatest asset and every individual is valued."
DPW Parking Enforcement Management Administration (PEMA) Parking Enforcement Officer: "Millennials should work for DPW-PEMA because this is an organization with a strong company culture. DPW-PEMA's brand truly represents in a clear concise tone unity. DPW-PEMA encourages its employees to band together as a team and work together....In addition, our organization serves the greater good."
DPW Office of Waste Diversion (OWD) Program Analyst: "It's important that city planning reflects it populations. There is a need for more diversity in the area of environmental management, both in policy and in implementation. Where there is an economic divide, it is often people of color living in the closet proximity to industrially-zoned property. Therefore, a career in city planning, public works and the environment allows millennials of color to ensure broader sections of the community are heard."
DPW Office of Waste Diversion (OWD) Program Analyst: "I think it is rewarding to help provide services that make a direct and meaningful difference for your neighbors and community. I think that millennials are especially drawn to jobs where they can see the result of their efforts...there is something potentially exciting about bringing a younger perspective to an industry that has been around for a long time. Whether it's increased automation, additional data collection and accuracy, or sustainability efforts, these are concepts that are beginning to take root in the Public Works field...I think that millennials have the skills and persistence to implement these changes."
Overall these voices expressed a strong desire to add value and to be valued. At DC DPW they feel they are adding value to their organization, to their community, and to the field of Public Works. They feel they are valued by their organization and as a member of the team. And finally they feel they have a unique opportunity to use data and technology to improve value in Public Works overall.
Two opportunities where millennials could make a difference to the field are not mentioned above and I would enjoy hearing feedback from jurisdictions that have been successful with these two opportunities. The first is using open source data to gain insight from the community through hackathons, local data science programs, and data meetup presentations. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has a public API which frequently fuels the local Transportation Techies data meetup. Several apps for citizens have been developed through this group including prediction of train delays and arrivals.
The second opportunity, or challenge, is to capture the institutional knowledge held in the brains of older generations before they retire. We have grounds maintenance workers who know the exact inch our land ends and National Park Service land begins, but it is not captured on a map. We have sanitation workers who know every customer on the block, but the relationships are not yet as part of a community outreach program. Technology and apps won't do any good unless they hold the information built up over decades of service by our veteran employees.
Because of the crucial services that Public Works provides and the growth potential with technology, our sector can have a unique appeal to and provide unique opportunities for millennials. I look forward to being part of a generation of DPW workers that upholds and builds on the legacy of generations of Public Works employees that came before me.
MeghanMarie Fowler-Finn is a millennial performance analyst who focuses on finding and using data to make better decisions and to improve Public Works efficiencies.
Happy Holidays from the Members of the Diversity Committee
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word Diversity as "the quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc." and as "the state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group our organization".
We hope that you will take time during this season to celebrate the Diversity, not only in your organization, but in your personal life also. Try a new food, start a new tradition, celebrate, and be safe. We look forward to seeing you in Fredericksburg!
If you are interested in joining the Mid-Atlantic Chapter's Diversity Committee, please contact Scarlet Stiteler at email@example.com.
Scarlet Stiteler is the Accounting Specialist for the Department of Public Works in the City of Newport News. She is the Chair for the Mid-Atlantic Chapters Diversity Committee and is looking forward to becoming more active at the Chapter level.
2017 Mid-Atlantic Public Works Conference and Equipment Show:
Public Works Makes It Happen!
On behalf of the Chapter's Leadership, we are pleased to announce open registration for the annual conference 2017 Mid-Atlantic Public Works Conference and Equipment Show! This year's theme is:
Public Works Makes It Happen!
We invite you and your colleagues to join with us in Fredericksburg, Virginia for the 59th Mid-Atlantic Conference and Equipment Show. The Mid-Atlantic Conference and Equipment Show will take place May 10-12, 2017 at the Fredericksburg Expo Center. Plan to network with hundreds of other public works professionals at the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Conference and Equipment Show.
The Chapter's 2016 Roanoke Conference and Equipment Show was a resounding success.
Our attendees had an excellent opportunity to see PW in action -- from the elementary school classes watching the Road-E-O competition, to the Awards ceremony, capped off with the superb display of PW equipment and service providers, and the top-notch technical presentations and social networking events. We are pleased to build upon the 2016 Roanoke Conference and Equipment Show at a new venue in Fredericksburg, VA.
The annual Mid-Atlantic Conference and Equipment Show provides each participant the opportunity to learn from the experiences of others, as well as network with equipment suppliers and manufacturers' representatives, public agency specialists, staff from construction contracting and engineering firms. Technical programs will again feature numerous and diverse presentations, plus provide opportunities for sharing in discussions of challenges facing public works. The content-rich education sessions will cover emergency management; winter operations; asset management; public works advocacy; water resources; stormwater, infrastructure engineering and management practices; equipment and fleet management, and other topics. Continuing education units (CEUs) will be available.
At the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Conference and Equipment Show, plan to join us for:
- College Scholarship Golf Fundraiser at the Lees Hill Golf Club. This event pairs public agency folks with their colleagues from across the region. Registration is forthcoming.
- Road-E-O has become very popular the last few years, so we look for regional winners from around the Chapter's service area to showcase their talents with multiple course competitions. Road-E-O participants compete in skills events which include operation of public works equipment (street sweepers, backhoes, loaders, dump trucks, trash trucks). Events will be timed and judged and prizes awarded to the top contestants.
- The Chapter's Sustainability and Young Professional Committees are collaborating on a joint activity, so check the 2017 Conference webpage for updated information.
- Welcome address by City of Fredericksburg Mayor Katherine Greenlaw, followed by APWA National President Ron Calkins (Invited) APWA Executive Director Scott Grayson comments (Invited).
- Professional networking with more than ample opportunity for informal discussions during breaks, lunch, Wednesday evening's opening reception with exhibitors/sponsors, and at the Thursday evening social.
- Consideration is being given to The City of Fredericksburg elementary schools to attend the Wednesday Road-E-O, similar to the successful Roanoke Grade Schools participating with the Road-E-O this past May.
- Technical program featuring numerous, diverse presentations. Access the call-for-abstracts link HERE.
And don't forget that spring in Fredericksburg brings warm sunny days and the opportunity to experience the numerous historical venues, with plenty of shopping in Central Park. We hope you take advantage of the many treasures in Fredericksburg.
We look forward to welcoming you at the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Conference and Equipment Show and sincerely hope you and your colleagues can join us. We have established a 2017 Mid-Atlantic Conference and Equipment Show webpage to facilitate registration and offer a single place for all the information.
Thank you in advance and we look forward to seeing you in Fredericksburg!
2017 Mid-Atlantic Conference and Equipment Show Co-Chairs
Fairfax County Wins Gold Level Honor from Water Environment Federation (WEF)
Irene Haske, information officer,
Department of Public Works and Environmental Services
Fairfax County was recently honored by the
Water Environment Federation
for its outstanding stormwater management program and commitment to installing green infrastructure, and has been placed in the phase I category: Innovation Gold Level and Program Management Gold Level. A phase I community includes medium and large cities or counties with populations of 100,000 or more residents.
"We are thrilled to be recognized by WEF and to receive this award," said Craig Carinci, director, Stormwater Planning Division, Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, Fairfax County. "This award really belongs to the employees of the department who have worked very hard and in partnership with other county agencies to achieve this Gold Level status," he said.
The recognition, introduced by WEF in 2015 "to celebrate administrators of Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems
that perform beyond regulatory requirements, was awarded to the winners during WEFTEC's annual Stormwater Congress on Sept. 27, 2016," according to a WEF
The types of stormwater management projects that improve stream water quality and the natural habitat include:
Recognition and Certification of Environmental Engineers and Scientists
Since 1969, the American Public Works Association has been one of the Sponsoring Organizations of the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (prior to 2013, its predecessor was the American Academy of Environmental Engineers founded in 1955). The Academy is now certifying environmental engineers in the following eight specialties:
- Air Pollution Control
- Environmental Sustainability
- General Environmental Engineering
- Hazardous Waste Management
- Industrial Hygiene
- Radiation Protection
- Solid Waste Management
- Water Supply& Wastewater Engineering
Within the past three years, AAEES began certifying environmental scientists in the following nine different specialties:
- Air Resources
- Environmental Biology
- Environmental Chemistry
- Environmental Microbiology
- Environmental Toxicology
- Groundwater and the Subsurface Environment
- Solid Waste Management
- Surface Water Resources
- Sustainability Science
All environmental scientists complete a written examination that includes a Part A that covers common questions and a Part B that focuses on a selected specialty topic, e.g., solid waste management. The entire written examination for engineers covers the specific specialty.
Environmental engineers and scientists with sufficient qualifying experience may opt not to take the written exam. However, all applicants must either complete an oral examination or qualify for certification through the Eminence procedure.
Applications for 2017 are due March 31, 2017.
Certification offers recipients with the personal satisfaction to be recognized for their knowledge in a denoted environmental specialty by a third party. It also demonstrations to the public, clients and employers that you possess expertise in your field. Recipients can then add the BCEE (i.e., Board Certified Environmental Engineer) or BCES (Board Certified Environmental Scientist) to their credentials and signature.
to learn more about AAEES. Also, you can contact Stephen G. Lippy, P.E., BCEE, S.C. who is an APWA Life Member and has been certified in solid waste management since 1983
Laborer Finds Spear Point in Dredged Dirt at Landfill Complex
Erin Abrahams, environmental compliance specialist, I-95 Landfill Complex, Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services
In a week in which we celebrated Christopher Columbus's accidental discovery of the New World, a different kind of discovery piqued my interest in Fairfax County's pre-European history.
The I-95 landfill complex receives dredged material from multiple lake dredging projects, such as the current dig at Royal Lake. Excavated dirt is transported from the bottom of lakes to the landfill where it is dried, spread on slopes, and saved for future construction backfill needs.
While overseeing the incoming dredge, a small piece of stone protruding from the graded soil caught laborer Tony Clayborn's eye. As an avid arrowhead and spear point collector, Tony is always looking for unearthed artifacts. Tony dislodged the stone from the topsoil to examine it more closely. Based on how the stone was worked and carved, and by its small size, he determined the artifact was most likely a Native American spear point. Arrowheads are typically larger, he said.
According to author Lynne Garvey-Hodge in her book, Images of America, Clifton, increased temperatures between 12,000 BC and 7,500 BC melted sea ice and opened new inner-coastal waterways, which led to a migration of Native Americans to this area. For more than 15,000 years, the Powhatan, Dogue, and Algonkian tribes inhabited the land which we now know as Fairfax County. Weapons and tools from these tribes are found often along local creek beds and on the ground.
The spear point wasn't the first one Tony has found while on the job. He not only has the eye but also the patience for finding them. When asked how he finds so many, he said there was not a whole lot to it, just "a lot of looking, and a lot of picking up and checking."
Finding a spear point in the dirt reminds us of our nation's long history and the diverse people that have come before us in Fairfax County - long before Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492!
Roanoke, Virginia's Clean Water Legacy
Nicknamed the Star City of the South, Roanoke, Virginia has a population of just under 100,000 and 43 square miles of land. The Roanoke River flows through the City and serves as one of its main water sources; some stretches meander through parks and natural settings, while others flow through industrial areas. In 2014, the Roanoke Stormwater Utility was formed to help protect the River's water quality by controlling and eliminating stormwater pollution from municipal storm sewer systems, construction sites and industrial activities.
The Stormwater Utility bought two new ROVVER X sewer inspection camera crawlers and a Quickview Haloptic zoom camera to aid them in their mission to create a "Clean Water Legacy". "Our ROVVER X sewer inspection cameras have been imperative in identifying and inspecting the City's storm drains and pipelines, as well as investigating illicit discharges," says Ryan Apple, the Utility's Maintenance Crew Leader. "In the last 5 months, we have televised over 100,000 feet of pipe with our ROVVER X systems; with their predecessor we only inspected about 17,000 feet of pipe in a year".
"We take a proactive approach to stormwater management. Knowing the condition of our stormwater infrastructure and being able to locate assets helps us better manage the quality of our water source and prevent flooding," adds Apple. The information the stormwater crew collects is used by engineers to address flooding concerns and benchmark assets. "There have been situations where we've located sources of pollutants,
such as a gasoline leak
or substantial water ingress, with the help of the technology we have."
The Utility is also involved in a GIS study to map the City's storm-drain system, and is concurrently assessing the state of the City's gray water infrastructure. The Utility's inspection crew uses their ROVVER X sewer cameras and Quickview zoom camera to readily identify storm drain features including pipe orientation, termination points and outfalls. "Before conducting the GIS study we only knew of 219 miles of stormwater pipelines-now, we've discovered we have more than 400 miles and we've only inspected ⅓ of the City's stormwater infrastructure," concludes Apple.
To learn more about the City of Roanoke, VA, CLICK HERE
APWA Young Professionals
Be on the lookout for our YP event at the 2017 Fredericksburg Chapter Conference on May 9th!
or for more information.
Chinese Delegation Visit Underscores International Stormwater Management Needs
Irene Haske, information officer, Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services
An exchange of information and "lessons learned" between Maintenance and Stormwater Management and visitors from China pointed out the similarities and differences of Fairfax County stormwater management and that of a country more than 7,000 miles away.
It all started with an email to the MSMD mail box from Zoey Zhang of
Forte International Exchange Association
, which is an organization based in Falls Church that facilitates cultural, professional and governmental exchanges between the United States and China. Ms. Zhang asked if there was an opportunity to arrange a site visit to MSMD and a briefing for the Chinese delegation.
Never known to decline an opportunity to learn or teach about stormwater, several employees of MSMD sprang into action to accommodate the request including Chad Crawford, Val Tucker, Karlee Copeland, Todd Nelson, Michael Allen, Ta-En Huang and Wen Wang, all of MSMD and Charles Smith of the Stormwater Planning Division.
The delegation arrived at the Government Center and included 18 officials from the Shandong Province Department of Housing and Urban-Rural Development who were coming to the Washington D.C. area to learn about the U.S. experience in stormwater management. Ms. Zhang also wrote in her request, "They are very interested in learning more about your rainwater harvesting system and how your rainwater harvesting practice works."
Stormwater facility maintenance dominated the presentations, discussions, questions and site visits to the Government Center stream and pond restorations, the Herrity Green Roof and the Stringfellow Park and Ride.
"It was very much a two-way exchange of information," said MSMD Director Chad Crawford. "We learned from them and they learned from us," he said.
"We asked our guests to talk about their stormwater-related experiences in China," said Karlee Copeland, Chief, Stormwater Management Branch, MSMD.
In 2013, the President of China, Mr. Xi Jinping, proposed a campaign named Sponge City. This campaign guides stormwater managers in China in ways to better absorb rain water, "like a sponge."
Jinan, the capital of Shandong province, was chosen to be one of 16 cities in China to be included in the pilot project for the Sponge City Campaign. Each year Jinan receives a subsidy of 500 million China Yuan, or the equivalent to 80 million American dollars, from the central government to improve their stormwater system. The goals of the Sponge City project are:
- No ponding in the streets during moderate rain fall
- No flooding in heavy rain
- No black-odor water in rivers and streams, i.e., no combined sewer overflow or CSO whereby stormwater and wastewater are conveyed to a wastewater treatment plant, cleaned and later released to a river or other receiving water body. As the name implies, a CSO system may overwhelm a treatment plant during heavy rain and create a sanitary sewer backup into streets and buildings
- Mitigate the urban heat island effect
- Absorb and reuse 70 percent of stormwater.
The long term goals of the "Sponge City" campaign are to absorb and reuse 70 percent of rain water by the year 2020; and to absorb and reuse 80 percent of rain water by 2030.
"What a fun experience. I learned so much," said Copleand. "I'm looking forward to another opportunity to host in the future."
The PowerPoint presentation made to the visiting delegation included information about regulatory program drivers, stormwater management inventory, maintenance, stream restoration, federal, state and local regulations and public education.
"We talked about our local water impairments and made a comparison between the
number of impaired waters in 2004 and in 2012," said Charles Smith, SWPD. "We also presented information about regulations from the federal, state and local level, TMDLs (total maximum daily loads) for the Chesapeake Bay and local streams and how the county has to work to improve water quality as a result of these regulations," Smith said.
Other topics included the George C. Marshall High School rainwater harvesting project, conveyance system reinvestment options, how infiltration practices work, maintenance unit costs, conveyance pre-lining pipe conditions, conveyance system projects and a look at stream and outfall restorations, before and after. The complete presentation is posted to
"It was my great pleasure to participate this event," said Wen Wang, Programmer Analyst, MSMD, who served as one of the translators during the visit. "I've learned a lot, not only about stormwater, but also about your passion and commitment to daily work," Wang said.
Past APWA President Presents Accreditation Plaque to Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on Behalf of Public Works Department
On November 1, 2016, American Public Works Association past President Elizabeth Treadway presented the APWA Accreditation certificate for the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. DPWES Director James Patteson said, "It was a great recognition for a job well done by everyone in DPWES. It is another indication of the quality of work we do and the people that carry it out every day."
This is What Platinum Peak Performers Look Like
Matthew Kaiser, information officer, Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services
The Noman M. Cole, Jr. Pollution Control Plant earned the Platinum Peak Performance Award for the eighteenth consecutive year for its 100 percent compliance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. The award recognizes the commitment, innovation, and achievements of individuals and public agencies in the clean water community.
To be eligible for a Platinum Peak Performance award, a wastewater facility must obtain and test 365 daily sample results (of effluent), 52 weekly samples, and 12 monthly samples. Biochemical oxygen demand, or BOD, tests determine if cleaned wastewater released from a plant will or will not harm the environment. One hundred percent permit compliance dramatically impacts the quality of water moving downstream from Fairfax County.
Noman M. Cole, Jr. Pollution Control Plant staff run the award-winning wastewater treatment plant in Lorton.
Office of Waste Diversion Studies the Impact of Plastic on Area Waterways
The DC Department of Public Work's (DC DPW) Office of Waste Diversion and Solid Waste Education and Enforcement Program (SWEEP) staff set sail from Annapolis on a windy September morning to learn, first-hand, the impact of plastic pollution on the Chesapeake Bay. DC DPW leads the efforts for litter prevention and waste diversion in the District. They are looking for solutions to the amount of the debris that enters DC's storm drains and flows into the Anacostia River and ultimately to the Chesapeake Bay.
The tour was led by Julie Lawson, director of the nonprofit group Trash Free Maryland. She presented the team with regional seawater samples containing algae, litter and ecosystem-polluting "microbeads," also known as "microplastics."
The DC DPW staff helped Lawson collect plastic samples with a manta trash trawl netted
device. The device was developed by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to skim the water surface. Varying types of plastics were collected during the event, including microplastics that are used to package hand soap, toothpaste and other personal care products. Most of these waterborne plastic products will eventually photodegrade into smaller fragments, but will almost never biodegrade. Instead, the plastic fragments adhere to other oil-based pollutants and various chemical toxins in the water. These pollutants
may be ingested by marine life and then could eventually be consumed by humans.
DC DPW is committed to working toward zero waste. Their initial goal is an 80% waste diversion. Litter prevention and community education about recycling and properly discarding materials such as plastic are critical to reaching that goal.
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