APWA Conference in San Antonio

Yesterday, I arrived in San Antonio for the 2007 APWA conference. Today, after registering, I attended my first educational session on right of way management. This talk was given by administrators from Hillsborough County, Florida. They explained how they worked to create a right of way management office for the county after having experienced safety-related issues and other problems with the existing system. By creating this office, they dramatically reduced the number of violations and incidents related to work in the right of way by other entities. This also enabled them to pass the cost of the remaining problems onto those responsible instead of having the county absorbed the costs as had been done in the past.  A CD was passed out at the session with forms and other information.

The next session covered selection of CSO controls and was given by Vincent Spada. This was particularly interesting to me because for the city I work in, sewer separation has always seemed to be the best solution to deal with elimination of our CSOs. However, treatment, collection, and storage of combined flows has instead seemed to be pushed as the better solution by several others in our area. Mr. Spada discussed a particular situation in Springfield, Mass., in which a more thorough analysis proved that separation was the more economic and better solution.

The final session covered pavement preservation and was given by David Hein, engineer with Applied Research Associates, Inc. This session was helpful because Mr. Hein, with his extensive background and research, was able to offer examples that better explained why specific methods may or may not be the best solution. Many times in our community, contractors approach politicians and try to convince them that a particular application is a good idea for certain roads. Often these solutions are costly and not appropriate – for example cracksealing a roadway that has extensive alligator cracking. This session offered information that can be used by a city engineer to better educate city leaders who are approached in this manner.

 Oh, and one of the best times of the day – a talk by Dave Barry in the morning. The man is incredibly funny. Based on his talk, I think every city should name a lift station after him like they did in North Dakota!