Innovative communities and consultants are working together to develop creative new solutions to reduce pollutants in the environment, while maintaining compliance with increasingly stringent water quality requirements. R/M has worked with communities to develop coordinated pollutant reduction approaches between their storm water and wastewater programs.
The Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) regulates Wisconsin water utilities. You can’t avoid it. PSC approval is required before utilities can change rates. Navigating PSC regulation requires preparation, planning, and a lot of patience. But sometimes the PSC can be a valuable tool in your toolbox to solve problems.
Bees are an important part of healthy ecosystems and contribute to food supply security. Bumble bees are great pollinators for wildflowers, alfalfa, berries, and other crops. Unfortunately, populations of some bumble bee species are declining due to disease, altered habitat, pesticides, invasive species, etc.
The Village of Mukwonago recently committed to building a new 115-acre business park in its thriving community. The key to the development of the business park was a clear understanding of its community-wide infrastructure systems and how that expanded infrastructure would fit within the community’s infrastructure puzzle.
Envision® is a rating system and best practice resource that was developed to help successfully implement sustainability into infrastructure projects. It can measure the sustainability of an infrastructure project from design through construction and maintenance for all types and sizes of civil infrastructure.
A primary positioning strategy is to proactively plan for, and develop, land into business parks that are shovel-ready for prospective buyers. There are many aspects involved to plan for, design, fund, and construct a new business park. These activities may be led by the municipality directly or may involve a public/private partnership approach with a developer.
Urban Forestry Grants provided by the WDNR can help your community in planning for your upcoming tree projects. The DNR offers two grant applications to help your community establish or refine your forestry management practices.
Ruekert & Mielke, Inc. (R/M) provided the City of Sheboygan with electrical engineering services to layout and design an LED lighting system to serve their new SouthPointe Enterprise Campus. By going with an LED-based lighting system, the City will benefit through reduced energy consumption, lower maintenance, and longer-lasting fixtures.
Many communities discharge sanitary wastewater to treatment plants in other communities. The communities receiving wastewater from neighbors need to find the best way of recovering, and even reducing, the costs of this service.
There are many different definitions of “sustainability” these days. When referring to a sustainable community, the term often includes growth/development and municipal operations. The Public Works Department activities today have a large impact on how we will live and operate in our communities in the future.
As communities continue to look towards more sustainable infrastructure options, updating lighting systems is often a great place to start. Implementing an LED lighting system can mean not only a lower utility bill, but also a lower impact on the environment for your community.
Urbanization has led to a large increase in paved surface area. This has caused urban streams and rivers to swell to higher levels and to do so more frequently. With more water comes more erosion, making it increasingly important to properly maintain and protect urban stream and river banks.
Water pumped from the deep sandstone aquifer in Southeastern Wisconsin usually contains radium. This radionuclide occurs naturally. People drinking water containing a high concentration of radium are at increased risk of developing bone cancer.
Learn how R/M worked with the Village of Pewaukee to design an economical treatment system to remove radon from their groundwater.
Dog parks are a great addition to many community park systems, however, high traffic and repeat visits can add up to a lot of dogs and related doggy deposits at these sites. E. coli and high nutrient levels associated with accumulations of pet waste can be mobilized into local lakes, streams, and wetlands during snow melt and rain events.
In most cases, the water produced by a groundwater well is safe to drink. However, groundwater may contain substances which make the water unhealthy or, more frequently, either unpalatable or aesthetically disagreeable. Different treatment methods are used to treat different contaminants. In most cases, the goal of treatment is to remove all or most of the subject contaminant.
Trees have always been a part of the beauty of our communities, but it can be difficult to put a value on the many other benefits they provide. The U.S. Forest Service has developed a software suite of tools to calculate those values, called i-Tree.
Many municipalities face the problems of declining roadway infrastructure and limited funds to pay for repairs. Undertaking proper pavement maintenance at the appropriate time produces overall savings to the community. With limited funding for its road repair program, the City of Pewaukee used an innovative approach to resolve their roadway problems.
Ruekert & Mielke, Inc. launches AssetAlly, a GIS-driven solution that integrates all your community assets into a single, intuitive, digital tool that empowers your staff to be more productive with easy access to accurate infrastructure data. The best part – it works anywhere, on any device!
Few expenditures irk taxpayers more than funding “bridges to nowhere,” so municipalities must approach spending on transportation assets with care. Municipalities need to offer clear, convincing arguments as to why such spending is needed and what the benefits are. A transportation asset management plan (TAMP) offers a municipality what they need to justify their expenditures.
Urban trees are showing more promise from a storm water perspective than ever before. Trees absorb water from soil and transpire it to the atmosphere, reducing the amount of rainwater that flows untreated into storm sewers and ultimately to local lakes and rivers.
Most people think of pavement preservation as items that are directly related to maintenance and repairs to the pavement surface such as crack sealing, base patching, or slurry and chip seals. But anything that is attached or adjacent to the pavement surface is a candidate for pavement preservation.
R/M's Steve Wurster was named an "Emerging Leader of Waukesha County" by the Waukesha County Business Alliance for 2018. This annual awards program honors young professionals who live or work in Waukesha County and who are creating and inspiring a better vision for the future.
On March 28, 2018, Governor Walker signed Wisconsin 2017 ACT 183, which calls for a variety of changes to the way wetlands are managed and permitted in Wisconsin. Read more to learn about the many details and nuances to these changes.
Just about every project has some sort of challenge. There are physical challenges such as, wetlands, endangered resources, environmental corridors, storm water planning, setbacks, topography, proximity to services (or lack thereof), and access. Then, there are financial challenges like supply and demand, changes in the economy, and over-extension. What’s makes this private development a great case study is that all these challenges were experienced.
Spring has officially arrived, whether it feels like it or not, and Earth Day is just around the corner! The focus of Earth Day this year is to end plastic pollution. One significant source of plastic pollution is plastic film. Plastic films are used in almost every industry throughout the United States because they are easy to manufacture, lightweight, and inexpensive. Learn more about ways you can assist in ending the pollution of plastic.
The development review process must ensure that your community grows responsibly, safely, and sustainably. It is important to review plats, CSMs and construction plans, in comparison to your community’s zoning and land division ordinances. It’s also critical to get feedback from staff, elected officials, and the public. Ruekert & Mielke, Inc. (R/M) has helped communities create and organize their processes by developing checklists, flowcharts, and other procedures to funnel developments through the bureaucratic and political landscape.
While storm water ponds can be aesthetically pleasing and a community recreation feature, they are actually engineered devices with two main functions. First, they prevent flooding by capturing runoff and flow from local storm water pipes, swales, and drainage ditches. Second, they provide water quality treatment by settling out excess sediment and nutrients from storm water that flows to the pond.
As the City of Kenosha embarked on a comprehensive analysis of their storm water infrastructure from both flood control and water quality perspectives, the City was hit with back-to-back intense rainfall events in July of 2017 that resulted in significant local and regional flooding. The immediate public health and safety concerns tied to this flooding event doubled down the City’s efforts to simultaneously develop a long-term plan for the future, while also quickly addressing some of the most pressing concerns.
Water systems across all fifty states have tested positive for lead contamination that threatens the health of those who drink it, especially young children and pregnant women. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there is no safe level of lead, particularly for children. While Wisconsin communities have done a good job of providing safe water, communities can use new legislation to further improve safety.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is now accepting grant applications for construction of storm water treatment practices through the Urban Nonpoint Source and Storm Water Grant Program. This is a valuable funding program that helps offset the cost of meeting MS4 Permit requirements and protecting local lakes, streams, and wetlands in Wisconsin.