Thursday, December 20, 2012

Public Works: High and Low Places

Location: Nederland, CO 80466, USA
Mayor Gierlach emerges from a man hole
The Board of Trustees have established our Board Goals for 2012-14, which addresses mid-term steps toward achieving the Envision 2020. The vision has a high degree of sustainability woven into it, and our goals include a lot of infrastructure sustainability. Check it out on the Town website here. As a community, we will be able to track our progress as we've consolidated the Staff Reports on the town's website for easy access.

Taking PUBLIC WORKS to NEW LEVELS – I caught-up with our Public Works Director, Jason Morrison, to review our town's infrastructure. At first glance, you can't help but notice that he's cultivating a ZZ Top beard, but the conversation quickly turns to how sustainability requires both new high tech equipment combined with a low tech, 'back to the basics' approach. Here are some examples:

LOW TECH – First, Jason showed me how we are addressing decades of neglect on basic systems. We went underground into a vault where the town replaced corroded Pressure Reducing Valves (PRV's). This particular vault handles about a third of our town's water. I figured we couldn't get any lower tech than being underground. Then, I saw where leaks have recently been repaired, that had been leaking so long, that most people thought they were natural springs of water. 100 year-old wooden pipes have been found and replaced.

HIGH TECH – At the same time, we're installing state-of-the-art monitoring systems for the water & waste water plants. This system, in conjunction with the new meters, identifies leaks, and improves efficiency. We will also be using the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure program which is coincidentally trademarked as the “Envision” Sustainability Rating System. This is a computerized system that tracks our progress for Public Works.

TEAMWORK – It all happens because we've assembled a great team at Town Hall. We effectively allocate resources where they produce the best results through our budget process. Our organizational structure allows us to deliver services (in this case: water) in the most cost effective way. Both a Bottom-Up, and a ZZ Top Down approach.

NDDA – The planning process for the NedPeds project is well underway to address traffic, storm water drainage, and pedestrian travel along Second Street. This project relieves strain on Public Works and has uncovered new ideas and techniques for managing the impacts of our roadways.

WATER METERS – Data from the new water meters has already helped to identify leaks and save residents money. If you don't have a new water meter by now, call Town Hall (303) 258-3266 for an appointment. The new meters are installed free of charge. No questions asked.

[Here is a Video Valediction] With all this high tech / low tech on my mind, I walked back home humming ZZ Top's Tush: ...I been up, I been down. Take my word, my way around. I ain't askin' for much. … I said, Lord, take me downtown, I'm just lookin' for some tush. [What is a Video Valediction?]
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