Chapter Works 

An electronic publication of the 
Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the American Public Works  Association

September 2017
In This Issue
The Mid Atlantic Chapter has a NEW WEBSITE!

We are excited to announce that we have migrated to the new APWA National template and our new URL reflects our "Mid-Atlantic" chapter name.

These changes do impact links that were in documents and emails prior to December 18th.

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  Upcoming Chapter Events: 
Click the links below for more information

PWI Session I: Introduction to Supervision 
September 19 - 21, 2017
Glen Allen, Virginia 

Lunch & Learn 
"Walking the Path to Leadership"
October 12, 2017
12 noon - 1:30 pm
Hampton, Virginia
Details Here

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Ken M. Eyre, P.E., Senior Associate
Greeley and Hansen LLC
Alexandria, Virginia
Steven J. Yob, P.E., County Engineer/Director of Public Works
Henrico County, Virginia
Immediate Past-President
Dawn V. Odom, Planning and Investment Manager
Virginia Department of Transportation
Suffolk, Virginia
Don Cole, Office Leader
Brown & Caldwell
Richmond, Virginia
Amy Linderman, Engineer
Department of Public Works & Environmental Services
Fairfax County, Virginia
Fred Whitley, P.E.
Senior Project Manager,  AECOM
Newport News, Virginia
Robert K. Bengston, P.E.
Director of Public Works
City of Roanoke, Virginia
David Bradshaw, P.E., Principal
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Harold R. Caples, P.E.
Engineering Manager
Virginia Department of Transportation
Richmond, Virginia
Sherry Earley, P.E.
Engineer Manager
City of Suffolk, Virginia
Gaynelle Hart, 
Director of Public Works
City of Lynchburg, Virginia
Phillip Koetter, P.E.,  Operations Management Administrator, 
Department of Public Works
City of Virginia Beach, Virginia
Scott Smith, P.E., 
Office of Resiliency
City of Norfolk, Virginia
Kelly Mattingly, LEED-AP CRM
Director of Public Works
Town of Blacksburg, VA
James W. Long, 
Project Manager
Rummel, Klepper & Kahl, LLP
Ed Crockett, Assistant Director
Department of Public Works
City of Newport News, Virginia
Judi Hines,  Assistant Director
Department of Public Works
City of Newport News, Virginia
Sharyn L. Fox, 
Municipal Program Manager
Whitman, Requardt and Associates LLP
Newport News, Virginia
Join Our Mailing List
  President's Corner
It is with excitement that I write this message to you for this September edition of our the Chapter's quarterly newsletter, having just heard at the Orlando PWX national President Bo Mills accept his term of office serving all APWA members in the U.S and Canada. We heard of his roots starting as an equipment operator with the City of Germantown, TN, where he now is the City's public works director. Prior to being elected as APWA's national President, Bo was the Region III Director, which includes the Mid-Atlantic, North and South Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee chapters. We are extremely proud to have another of our Region III Directors be recognized for their commitment and leadership, serving us all as APWA's national President. We congratulate Bo on his many and futures successes.
Bo has been busy appointing APWA members to national committee positions. The Mid-Atlantic Chapter is pleased to announce that James Patteson, Director of Fairfax County Public Works & Environmental Services (DPWES), is now serving on the Sustainability Committee and Amy Linderman has been appointed to the Young Professionals committee. Congratulations to James and Amy!
Much has happened around the Chapter since our last newsletter. We received notification from national APWA President Ron Calkins that the Chapter is once again recognized internationally with our 12th consecutive Presidential  Award For Chapter
Mid-Atlantic Chapter leaders receiving 12th Presidential Award for Chapter n Excellence - (PACE) from APWA's immediate Past-President Ron Calkins, at the 2017 Orlando PWX.

Excellence (PACE), due in part to the energy and  many hours committed by our dedicated volunteers in developing and successfully executing the outstanding programs which we are able to offer to our members. Hats off to Board Member Sherry Early for leading the effort to pull together the supporting PACE award submission information capturing the various Chapter activities.
This year as I set my goals for the presidency, a priority will be to update the Chapter's Strategic Plan to ensure the Plan aligns with the mission, vision and values of national APWA's framework. It is imperative the Chapter's initiatives are guided by national APWA's strategies. Together with the Chapter Board members and Officers, other Chapter strategies will include making sure that continued inclusion is offered to our members for all Chapter activities. The Chapter's educational opportunities, being able to offer effective and beneficial training using our extensive pool and network of subject matter experts, is a core practice touching many of the Chapter services including the Mid-Atlantic Public Works Institute, the numerous lunch-n-learns (similar to the Oct. 12th Leadership Lunch-n-Learn being held in Hampton, VA), and of course our annual conference and equipment show. Learn more in this newsletter about the branding of the Chapter's annual conference and equipment show.
Just having returned from the Orlando PWX, where for the first time a backhoe competition was held, our representatives did not fare well, but it was the spirit of being challenged that made this a fun event, won by City of Charleston, SC. Special thanks to Jason Justice and Alexis Zambarano, Western Virginia Water Authority and Arlington County, respectively, for competing and representing not only their agencies but the Chapter as well, in the Orlando PWX backhoe event. We look for continued Road-E-O participant equipment operators at the 2018 Chapter Road-E-O in Fredericksburg, VA next May 2nd. Watch for more details from President-Elect Steve Yob of Henrico County, Chair, regarding the 2018 Fredericksburg Conference and Equipment Show and Road-E-O.
Speaking of heavy equipment operators, the Chapter has been approached by the Northern Virginia Community College to collaboratively develop a heavy equipment operator training course. Stay tuned for additional details from the Chapter leadership.
In closing, how did your agency celebrate this year's National Public Works Week? We are hoping that your agency had a picnic, touch-the-truck event, barbeque or some employee recognition ceremony.  We also would love to see examples of proclamations issued by your local elected officials to recognize public works at the local level. Please send photos of your events or snap a photo of your proclamation and send it to the newsletter editor's (Deb Oliver) attention.  We will run a collage in the next issue.
Enjoy the upcoming autumn season!

Ken Eyre
Chapter President
APWA Mid-Atlantic Chapter
Big Bang for the Buck - How Social Media Can Serve Your Community
Nell Boyle LEED AP BD+C, 
Sustainability/Outreach Coordinator, 
City of Roanoke
So many things to communicate and so little time and resources, sound familiar? Most local governments can relate to this scenario, providing superior service to our customers is our job, however the reality is budgets are tight and people are spread thin. Four years ago the City of Roanoke made an intentional shift to utilize social media in a much more prominent way starting with Facebook. It has been very successful.
Today, the city has more than 60 social media accounts and more than 200,000 followers. While city staff utilizes a number of social media sites including Instagram, Twitter, Linked In, Nextdoor, and Recycle Coach, its biggest success has been with Facebook.  Multiple and diverse staff participate in social media including the Solid Waste Management and Transportation Divisions, the Purchasing Division, the Lead Safe Roanoke Office, departments including Fire-EMS, Police, Human Resources and many more. Each user finds different benefits to these outreach platforms, but all users find improved customer service and the ability to immediately address a citizen's needs.
Solid Waste Management was an early adopter of Facebook. A dedicated staff member monitors the page and is quick to respond to questions and concerns. This reduces customer calls and complaints, and responses are prompt, which diffuses frustration for citizens. Posts include weekly updates for recycling schedules, holiday week pick-up changes, and videos and pictures from the field to provide on-going education of city policies. Staff found that with a small financial investment, such as $25 - $50, they could extend the reach of the posts to thousands of additional citizens. The most recent addition is the free Recycle Coach App which offers easy access to key information from your smartphone.
Tiffany Bradbury with Roanoke Fire-EMS says "We use social media all the time!  We use these platforms for recruitment efforts and I have also started a new segment on Wednesdays through Facebook Live called "What's Up Wednesdays," where we talk about a topic or answer questions.  One of our segments reached over 16,000 people."
Transportation Division Manager Mark Jamison comments "It's a great way to disseminate information to a wide audience quickly and on a regular basis.  We use it to share information on where we are paving, what streets are going to be closed or affected by construction or utility work, or for public assemblies.  We issue a street closure notice each week for events that happen on the weekend that will affect traffic or access.  We also use it to share information about what our staff is working on, to recognize their contributions to our city, and to encourage citizens to help us out with identifying needed work, whether that is a broken street light or a pothole that needs to be filled."
"I have been very impressed with Nextdoor," explains Crime Prevention Specialist Scott Leamon with the Roanoke Police Department.   "It allows me to communicate one-on-one with neighbors all over the city and eliminate a lot of the political clutter that often comes with Facebook and Twitter," Leamon said.
Nextdoor is free and markets itself as a private social media network where neighbors can communicate with neighbors.  While anyone can join, users are required to provide proof of where they live in order to set up an account. 
Leamon said he also likes Nextdoor because it eliminates any algorithm used by other social media networks that limits the amount of people who see your posts.  "When I put something out on Nextdoor I can be sure that every user that has set up an account will be able to see it," Leamon said.  Nextdoor allows government agencies like the City of Roanoke to post messages to every subscriber or pick individual neighborhoods and target messaging to those neighbors specifically."
The initiative that started with Facebook has grown to incorporate a variety of social media products. As departments identify their social media needs, the growing number of options for products to select from increases. This dynamic field is growing rapidly and becoming increasingly more complex. Roanoke realizes the importance of leading in this new area of communication, remaining engaged and current. Therefore, a new position has been created, the Citizen Engagement Officer, who will maintain a strategic overview of all the city's social media activities. The responsibilities include, working with department liaisons to keep pages current and informed about the latest updates and changes to the platform, provide tools and resources, and support the social media liaisons with additional outreach to support programs and events. The City of Roanoke has won numerous awards for outstanding performance in Social Media and intends to build on the success of the current initiative to continue to reach its citizens.
Hurricane Harvey
Hurricane Harvey has devastated Houston, Harris County, and other portions of Texas and Louisiana. Our thoughts and well wishes are with our colleagues in this part of the country.
Houston ASCE Branch President Patrick Beecher, P.E., M.ASCE, says "Although portions of Houston have flooded in the past, Hurricane Harvey has stressed the entire region like never before, with large areas under water and more rain on the way." Beecher has  posted a message  on the Houston ASCE Branch's website encouraging members to contribute to relief funds to aid in the recovery.
While the focus remains on rescue and providing aid and support to those affected by Hurricane Harvey, ASCE encourages you to donate funds to the  Greater Houston Community Foundation .
Given the large scale of this catastrophic event, and its intimate relation to the work civil engineers do as stewards of the nation's infrastructure, ASCE will continue to evaluate what can be done to improve the resiliency of infrastructure as Houston rebuilds, and what we can learn to enhance public safety in future events wherever they may occur.
$2 Million Dollar Grant to Help Improve Prince William County Waters

Prince William County's Public Works Department recently received $2 million in grant money from the VA Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, for work on four water quality improvement projects within the county. The projects included two stream restorations, one water quality retrofit of existing stormwater management pond and one reforestation project.

All of the projects, which received matching funding from the county through the stormwater management fees, will help the county meet Environmental Protection Agency requirements, which regulate how many pollutants can enter the Chesapeake Bay Watershed through streams on any given day.

The final section of the Dewey's Creek project, between U.S. 1 and Possum Point Road, will be completed using the largest portion of the grant funding, $1.4 million. While the first phase of the project was completed in February 2017, and the second phase is currently under construction, the final phase, covered by this most recent grant, is scheduled to begin early in 2018 with construction continuing for eight months.

Another $215,000 of the grant funding will go to retrofit a stormwater management pond off Wayside Drive in Dumfries. The project will convert the dry pond to a wet pond, which will significantly increase the efficiency of the facility to remove environmental pollutants. The retrofit is scheduled to begin this fall and last for about three months.

Two small tributaries to Powell's Creek, off Beau Ridge Drive in Montclair near Va. 234, will be restored using $325,000 of the grant funding. Work is scheduled to begin this fall and end in about eight months.

The reforestation project, where trees were planted as a buffer on 10 acres between the Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park and New Bristoe Village, an adjacent subdivision, was completed last spring with the knowledge that grant funding would be available. Converting areas of the park from field to forest improves the efficiency of the buffers to remove environmental pollutants.

The Department of Public Works spokeswoman, Deb Oliver, said meeting water quality standards improves the lives of county residents. "We are restoring a lot of streams in the community and that's important for water quality. It's important for the environment, for wildlife and for people. We're doing our part to make sure our waters are flowing and functioning well."

Since 2013, the county has received $4.6 million in grant money for stream restoration. "I think DEQ and others recognize that we do a good job with the grant money; that we do meaningful work and that we do it well," Oliver said.

For more information about stream restoration or information on how you can help with stream issues, please contact the Prince William County Department of Public Works, Watershed Management Branch, at 703-792-7070 or the Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District at 571-379-7514.
Honey Bee Initiative Pollinator Program
Matthew Kaiser, information officer, Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services

German Perilla, director of GMU's Honey Bee Initiative, uses a tool to scrape fresh honey from a hive at the I-95 landfill complex. 
Honey bee hives in Virginia have declined by two-thirds since 1970 due to colony collapse disorder, invasive mites, and manmade pesticides. Bees pollinate one-third of the food we eat, so their health is tied to ours.
Fairfax County's Department of Public Works and Environmental Services has partnered with George Mason University's Honey Bee Initiative to create pollinator habitat and install bee hives at the I-95 landfill complex in Lorton, VA.

GMU's program began in 2012 and now includes 40 hives located throughout Northern Virginia. The goals of GMU's program are education, collaborative research, and improving the security and sustainability of Northern Virginia's ecosystem.
Landfill complex supervisor Eric Forbes, a GMU alum, contacted former classmate and bee expert German Perilla about managing bees at the landfill. Nearly five acres of previously mowed turf at the landfill complex have been seeded to grow a native meadow for pollinating insects. The meadows will beautify the landfill, improve water quality, create pollinator habitat, and reduce mowing costs. Landfill staff have built 12 bee hives (three apiaries) on green hills overlooking Belmont Bay, and the goal is to build more to support 30,000 bees.
Dredged material removed from Lake Royal was used as topsoil. The landfill complex composts leaves on-site and that organic material was used to enrich the soil.
The Honey Bee Initiative Pollinator Program will receive $50K over the next five years ($10K/yr) from the county's Environmental Improvement Program. The program supports the county's 20-year Environmental Vision and creates educational opportunities for students and community groups. This program is one of the ways in which the landfill is transforming into a destination for environmental experimentation and education.
Mid-Atlantic Public Works Institute Update
Scott A. Smith, PE, LS,  Chairman MPWI Steering Committee
As the second round of sessions begin, I am pleased to announce that the available 50 seats for the September 19-21, 2017 session are completely filled. We are maintaining a waiting list in the event space opens up for this class.

The members of the Steering Committee are happy to see that agencies recognize the importance and value of this training program. Our program focuses on enhancing supervision, leadership and management skills.  It also provides participants with the opportunity to network with other Public Works professionals across the region.

I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to Kelly Mattingly (Blacksburg) and Ken Eyre (Greeley & Hansen), two of the original members on the Steering Committee.  Their tireless efforts have helped build and support this incredible program.  Kelly and Ken have completed their terms on the committee. We welcome M-PWI graduates, Staci Hopkins-Reynolds (Lynchburg) and Jeff Wilkerson (Martinsburg, WV) to the team.

I also want to thank all the participating agencies that have sent both students and instructors.  True to our can-do Public Works culture to serve our communities, it is the people that make great things happen for our colleagues too!  Finally, many thanks to our sponsors, the Mid-Atlantic Chapter and Westport Fuel Systems, Inc. 
Charting the Year Ahead

Gaithersburg's Mike Johnson discussing the City's upcoming projects
The first ever gathering to look at the year ahead for projects in the Northern Virginia, DC Metro and Baltimore areas was held on July 26, 2017.  All agreed it was an excellent start for this type of networking.  There were 42 attendees and guest speakers that attended to share information about their upcoming projects and goals.
The impressive list of guest speakers included: 
  • Mike Johnson, PE, City of Gaithersburg, DPW Director
  • Ramzi Awwad, PE, Arlington County, Engineering Bureau Chief, Department of Environmental Services
  • Matt Doyle, PE, Branch Chief, Wastewater Design and Construction Division, Fairfax County DPWES
  • Nick Roper, PE,  Northern VA District Engineer for Project Development - Virginia Department of Transportation
  • Stevie Cox, Town of Berwyn Heights, MD
  • Troy Brogden, Chief, Office of Fiscal Management - City of Baltimore DPW; Azzam Ahmad, Acting Chief Engineering & Construction; Prakash Mistry, Baltimore DPW
  • Hamid Omidvar, Manager, Montgomery County DGS Division of Building Design and Construction
Arlington County's Ramzi Awwad reviewing County projects

A special thank you to Mike Johnson, City of Gaithersburg DPW Director and Ron Kaczmarek, Division Chief of Facilities and Capital Projects Division for their support and coordination.

Sponsors for the event included:
Gold Level:  SAK Construction and Greeley and Hansen
Silver Level:  Whitman, Requardt and Associates
Bronze Level:  Bryant Associates, East Jordan Company, Rice Associates, Inc., and Volkert Inc.

The attendees were so pleased with the presentations, discussions and the value of the event, they would like to host the second gathering next year.  The group is looking for a location and a committee to plan the event.  The City of Gaithersburg DPW staff has offered to facilitate the planning. 
New Mixers Conserve Energy at Fairfax County's Pollution Control Plant
Dilli Neupane, asset manager, Noman M. Cole, Jr. Pollution Control Plant
 Fifteen old wastewater mixers were replaced with new high-efficiency mixers that use half as much energy.
Fairfax County's wastewater treatment plant - the Noman M. Cole, Jr. Pollution Control Plant, in Lorton, Va. - continues to shrink its carbon footprint and increase energy efficiency. Equipment used to mix wastewater during treatment has been replaced with new mixers that use half the power.
The electric mixers, which run around the clock, will emit approximately 550 fewer metric tons of greenhouse gases annually and save the plant more than $62,900 per year in electric bills. The estimated annual energy savings from the new mixers is 968,000 kwh/year - enough power to run approximately 90 households for a year!  
The plant replaced five of its 15 horsepower mixers in 2009 and ten more this summer with 7.5 hp mixers. Each new mixer costs approximately $35,000 to purchase and install. With the savings in energy costs, the mixers will pay for themselves in about eight years. If maintained well, the mixers should last long beyond their expected 15-year lifespan.
Resilience and Sustainability Resources Available Free Online from SSF  
Denise Nelson, P.E., ENV SP, LEED AP
The Security and Sustainability Forum (SSF) provides information from global experts on the changing environmental impacts that threaten society and national security.  They focus on urban resilience, energy, infrastructure, food and water security, economic vitality, public health, governance, and other impacts that must be solved in meeting climate security challenges.  SSF is a place for government, industry, researchers, academics, and others interested in the impacts to society from climate change and other disruptions to natural systems.  
SSF hosts free webinars for participants to learn where government and industry are making investments to protect the environment, promote clean energy, and plan for better solutions to protect the nation from natural and manmade threats.  The webinars cover emerging research and innovative technology and policy solutions.  
"Through theory and case studies, the webinars outline how sustainable approaches are working to mitigate and adapt to a changing climate in a rapidly urbanizing world.  Panel members tackle difficult questions that often lead to new ideas for solutions, and new applications for existing approaches to security and sustainability.  Our programs seek to not only educate our audience about sustainability and how it fits into their areas of interest and work, but also spark new ideas about resilient approaches and solutions."
Currently scheduled webinars include ( sign up for email notifications of upcoming webinars here  ):

1.  Making a Big Impact in Sustainability Science with Big Data
Thurs, Sep 21, 2017 1:15 - 2:30 PM EDT.  Register here

Fri, Sep 29, 2017 11:15 AM - 12:15 PM EDT.  Register here

3.  Drawdown - 60 Minutes with Paul Hawken

Wed, Oct 4, 2017 1:15 PM - 2:15 PM EDT.  Register here 
They have an online archive  with over 100 webinars available for free on-demand replays.  The archive includ es the following series (as well as several singular sessions):
  • Closing the Environmental Literacy Gap
  • Restoring the Carbon Balance
  • Circular Economy
  • Global Climate Security
  • Food, Water, and Energy
  • The Future of Sustainable Transportation Fuels
  • Planning for Resilience
  • Weathering Change:  Local Solutions for Strong Communities
  • Renewable Energy
  • International Environmental Security
  • National Climate Assessment
  • Urbanization in a Growing World
  • Adaptations to Protect Security in a Changing Climate
  • Water Management
The Water Management series includes the webinar The Mississippi River: Is Sustainable Infrastructure a Watershed Solution focusing on using the Envision rating system.  Bill Bertera, former Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure, discusses the rating system.
You can find more information at their website , on facebook , YouTube , or twitter , or by following their Executive Director,   Ed Saltzberg, on LinkedIn .
Denise Nelson is an Environmental Engineer with The Berkley Group.  She serves on the chapter Sustainability Committee and is a local expert on the Envision rating system for sustainable infrastructure.  She also manages the chapter Twitter feed (@APWAMidAtlantic).
Water Quality Field Day Makes Impression on Students
Matthew Kaiser, information officer, Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services
Ecologist Danielle Wynne smooches an invasive Northern Snakehead at the Give a Fish a Kiss station
On Thursday, June 1, 2017, staff from Fairfax County's Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (Stormwater, Wastewater, and Urban Forestry Divisions) participated in Water Quality Field Day at Fairfax Water's Griffith Plant in Lorton, Va. One hundred and forty seven sixth-graders from Fort Belvoir Elementary School worked their way through 13 stations where they learned about water quality and the environment.
This hands-on event is sponsored by a partnership between Fairfax County, Fairfax Water, Fairfax County Public Schools, George Mason University, and the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District. Since its inception seven years ago, the field day has grown from a fun educational day to become a large-scale programmatic event that helps the school teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Laurie Shellenberger, DPWES organizational development and training, volunteered with the Wastewater Management team. She spoke with a teacher who told her, "I went to a big water conference last week and it taught all kinds of interesting things, but this event is still my favorite. It is simple, the kids learn a lot, it is very enjoyable and well-organized."
Chris Ruck, an ecologist with Stormwater Planning said, "I talked to the Belvoir Elementary science coordinator at some length yesterday and she couldn't have been more pleased with this relationship and kept heaping on the praise for Judy Fincham and Danielle Wynne.
This was the first year Stormwater Planning ecologist Chris Mueller has participated in the event. He said, "It was very exciting to see the enthusiasm to learn about the environment the students brought with them to our stations.  It really stresses the importance of these types of stormwater outreach and educational events reaching the students at a time when they are wanting to learn about how to care for and protect Fairfax County streams and wildlife."   
Urban forester Linda Barfield and her intern led an activity to show how stormwater runoff flows over different surfaces and the importance of trees in slowing it down.  Barfield says, "The urban forest is like a sponge in the watershed.  I was surprised that about half of the sixth graders predicted that runoff over pavement and exposed soil was slower than over vegetation.  After the demo they realized that runoff over the vegetation tray was about twice or three times slower with less erosion compared to exposed soil and pavement trays."
Diversities Strength
Curtis Garnett

Diversity, we know we all need it to make our organization stronger. But what does it mean to be truly diverse? Is it simply enough to be racially diverse?  Can we be diverse if members of the same race are different culturally? And lastly how do we use our uniqueness to truly strengthen our organization?

The definition of diversity, according to Merriam and Webster, is the condition of having or being composed of differing elements.  Our country is referred to as the Great American Melting pot, the blending of different cultures to form a more perfect union. Our country as a result has risen to be one of the greatest in history.  With all of the differences how were we able to move forward?  In recent times our differences have been divisive. What was lost in this once Great Melting pot?

Being racially different does not necessarily equate to diversity.  The fact of the matter is our race does not always reflect our culture. It is very possible that we can be different racially but be similar culturally. If we depended on race alone, we could squelch the diversity we strive to promote.

Being diverse means little if we do not have the wisdom to use the very strength of our differences.  It was recognized by Mr. Timothy Shockley, the Solid Waste Administrator for the City of Newport News Public Works, that the perspectives of management and of its subordinates were at odds.  A body was needed to bridge the gap between our drivers and management.  A group made up of diverse individuals that could be flexible enough to see the perspectives of both entities and find the common ground. They would also be able to translate the challenges that both group were facing. They would have the responsibility of taking the issues of both parties and debating to find a reasonable solution. After a year of discussion, the efforts of the group resulted in an increase in morale, a decrease in call outs from work and an enjoyable work experience by all.

The core strength of diversity, in my opinion, is the ability to confront challenges from different perspectives. This means we have respect for other ideas and viewpoints in which we might not agree. This must be tempered with the action of solving the challenges with which we are faced.  We must learn or continue practicing compromise, then arrive at a settlement of differences through arbitration.  An organization is effective when it can manufacture solutions to pressing issues in a timely and effective manner.  Effective communication must also play a huge role in our promotion of diversity.

The Great American Melting Pot was boiled in the fire of a mission, the mission of Liberty and justice for all. Our organizational mission must serve as the fire that blends our perspectives. We must always look to our creed as the impetus to not only be diverse but use our diversity to its fullest potential.
Wastewater Treatment Plant Gets Paid to Provide Energy Relief
Matthew Kaiser, information officer, Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services

Every year since 2012 the Noman M. Cole, Jr. Pollution Control Plant in Lorton, Va., has participated in a program that provides relief to the electrical grid on hot summer days when air-conditioners are working overtime to keep homes and businesses cool.
New generators capable of powering all wastewater treatment operations allow the plant to unplug from the grid during peak usage events.
The PJM Emergency Response program is run by CPower Energy Management to protect customers from blackouts by reducing demand on the grid during periods of peak usage. CPower recruits customers that use lots of electricity to commit to curtailing energy use (100 kW minimum) during emergency events from June through September. Customers may be asked to curtail energy use up to ten times for periods lasting up to six hours. For its commitment, the Noman Cole plant, which is owned and operated by Fairfax County's Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, was paid a one-time flat fee of $170,000, up from $30,000 in past years because the plant has committed to curtail more energy.
In the past, the plant simply limited operations during curtailment events to meet energy conservation requirements. This year, however, the plant has five new 2,000 kW generators capable of powering the entire facility uninterrupted, which allowed the plant to commit to removing its whole 5,258 kW load from the grid during emergency events.
A mandatory one-hour test in June proved the plant could sustain operations on its own during emergency events without relying on the grid. By participating in the PJM Emergency Response program the plant is helping ensure people throughout the Mid-Atlantic region have a reliable source of electricity when they need it most.
Innovative Program Connects Students to Watershed
Chris Mueller, ecologist II, and Danielle Wynne, ecologist III, Stormwater Planning Division, Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services

For the last decade, the Stormwater Planning Division of Fairfax County's Department of Public Works and Environmental Services has been working with public school students and teachers on various stormwater science and environmental stewardship programs and projects.  These programs include creating stormwater activity books, hands-on teaching opportunities highlighting aquatic life in streams, and a classroom pollution detection lab called Stream Crime Investigation.

Recently, another opportunity arose with the students and teachers of Mantua
Danielle Wynne, ecologist III, Stormwater Planning Division, explains to Mantua Elementary School students what a bioretention facility is and how it helps control stormwater runoff.
Elementary School.  Mantua, like many Fairfax County Public Schools, has several stormwater features to help control and treat stormwater runoff. One type of stormwater control at the school is a bioretention facility. Bioretention facilities are depressions in the landscape designed with specially engineered soil to filter pollutants from stormwater runoff.  In addition to the engineered soil, bioretention facilities are planted with native water-tolerant plant species which help absorb excess water and nutrients in stormwater runoff.

During an assessment of the bioretention facilities at the school, the DPWES's Maintenance and Stormwater Management Division noted that one facility had become overgrown with invasive vegetation and was in need of routine maintenance. Around the same time as the MSMD assessment, Michelle Sullivan, a teacher at Mantua ES, was looking for a project to connect her students to their local watershed.

When ecologists Danielle Wynne and Chris Mueller heard of this issue, they seized the opportunity to work with Mantua educators to roll out an innovative education program combining bioretention maintenance with teaching the students about the science behind this stormwater facility.  "These facilities are usually cleaned and replanted by contractors," said Wynne.  In this instance, Wynne and Mueller coordinated the facility's maintenance with Heather Ambrose and David Alexander of MSMD to clear the site of the invasive vegetation and add new soil media. Wynne continued, "This created a blank canvas for a hands-on educational opportunity for students.
Once the facility was cleared and ready for planting, Wynne and Mueller arranged for 90 fifth grade students to replant the facility using 500 plants made up of five species specifically chosen to survive in the wet conditions of the bioretention facility.  In addition to being able to survive in the facility, the selected plants also fit into the FCPS science curriculum.  One species in particular, milkweed, is a host plant for part of the monarch butterfly life cycle, a focus of the second grade science curriculum.

"This was a win-win-win opportunity for FCPS, MSMD and SWPD.  The students planted this facility themselves *and now understand what these facilities are designed to do and how the plants play a role in keeping our streams clean," said Mueller.

The full - day effort was orchestrated by Sullivan, Mantua's science coordinator who serves as the liaison between teachers and students. "We were out there all day," Sullivan said. "The kids got their hands dirty and really had a wonderful time learning how plants can help clean the environment."

The students learned that they can have a positive impact on the environment, and the teachers saw how to use a stormwater facility to teach about the environment and how such facilities help improve the water quality of our local streams. To further the educational benefits of the bioretention facility, plant identification signs were installed identifying each species planted and listing a few facts about the benefits of the plant.

Since the project's completion, the students have taken turns watering the plants.  Sullivan and the students created a sign-up calendar for watering the plants during the critical two-month establishment period after planting.  The students were so excited to water the plants they planted that they filled the calendar up to the end of the school year!

Not only was this pilot project successful as an educational endeavor while imparting values of environmental stewardship to students and staff, but it also saved the county money on the maintenance of bioretention facilities.  By having students plant and water the bioretention facility instead of a contractor, the county saved thousands of dollars. The participants' enthusiasm and success of the project help illustrate county-wide goals of innovation, empowering communities, environmental stewardship, cost reductions and strengthening connections between FCPS and the county's Department of Public Works and Environmental Services.

With more than 40 bioretention facilities on FCPS property and an ever-increasing need for stormwater education within schools, Stormwater staff expect this program could become an integral part of the Stormwater Planning Division's ever-expanding education and outreach activities.

Written by Chris Mueller, ecologist II, and Danielle Wynne, ecologist III, Stormwater Planning Division, Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services
Photo: Mantua ES bioretention
Caption: Danielle Wynne, ecologist III, Stormwater Planning Division, explains to Mantua Elementary School students what a bioretention facility is and how it helps control stormwater runoff.
Fairfax County's Solid Waste Management Program Wins National Safety Award
Matthew Kaiser, information officer, Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services

New Fairfax County trash collection trucks feature the Slow Down to Get Around message.
Fairfax County's Solid Waste Management Program has won the 2017 SWANA Safety Award for Biggest Improvement in the category of Collection and Transfer. This national award from the Solid Waste Association of North America recognizes the county's commitment to ensuring its solid waste employees make it home safely every night. The award will be presented during a ceremony on Sept. 27 at the International Solid Waste Association's annual conference in Baltimore, MD.

According to SWANA's website, "SWANA's safety awards exemplify the solid waste industry's profound commitment to improving employee safety through communication, best practices, increased company regulations, and accident review."

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics lists trash collection as the fifth most dangerous job in North America. Solid Waste Management Program operations manager Hans Christensen says, "Teaming up with public works leadership and with SWANA's support, we want to lead the way in making trash collection safer and removing our industry from the list. We owe that to our coworkers and their families."

One of the programs' significant accomplishments was reducing recordable injuries from 40 in 2015 to seven in 2016 at its collection division. The program's safety team has partnered with operations to educate staff about the program's most important value - safety. The team revised the safety program with a focus on five major components: training and evaluation, staff engagement, risk reduction, monitoring and coaching, and metrics and accountability. Some of the tangible changes that have been made to improve safety throughout the program include:
  • Teaching supervisors to be leaders and to communicate safety goals
  • Monthly safety posters distributed to staffed locations
  • Tailgate talks to engage crews
  • Monthly safety newsletter filled with news and tips
  • Revitalized internal safety committee
  • Safety resources website created and updated
  • Amplify SWANA safety messages, such as Slow Down to Get Around and Safety Monday
  • Adopted in-vehicle video system to identify coachable driving behaviors
  • Revising operational policies and developing new procedures
  • Conducting regular facility inspections
  • Field observations
  • Tracking and measuring progress toward meeting safety goals
  • Annual safety perception survey
Program safety manager Dennis Batts said, "The heart of a waste collection operation is its drivers and helpers. While picking up the trash is the task, so too is keeping those workers safe. To achieve these kind of improvements took the personal commitment of every one of our employees. Doing better starts at home and that is exactly what the Fairfax County Solid Waste Management Program did."

The Fairfax County Solid Waste Management program collects trash and recycling from approximately 44,000 customers in the county and operates the I-66 transfer station and the I-95 landfill complex.

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