2018 has come to a close, and to commemorate this incredible year, we’d like to share the top five sustainability articles of the year with you. From bees to salt brine, read on for the topics you were most interested in!
Winter is generally an off-season for construction projects, but just because things slow down doesn’t mean that progress has to stop. Keep reading for 4 reasons why updating your GIS maps in the winter will benefit your community all year long and keep your municipal projects moving forward during the colder months.
Ruekert & Mielke, Inc. (R/M), a local civil engineering firm, presented the Village of Oregon with the Investment in Infrastructure Achievement Award, a distinction given to communities that put forth exceptional effort to better the lives of their residents through improvements in infrastructure. Communities that receive the Investment in Infrastructure Achievement Award are gifted $1,000 to donate to a local non-profit of their choice. The Village of Oregon opted to give their donation to the Oregon Youth Center, a free program that supports young people in grades five through nine. The center provides a safe, supervised place for young members of the community to gather after school and in the summertime.
At Ruekert & Mielke, Inc. (R/M), we understand the importance of protecting the environment in which we live, work, and play, and we are always looking for ways to help the communities we serve be more sustainable. As the holidays approach, we’d like to share a few tips on how you can make the season of giving a little more sustainable as well.
Mitigating your utility’s cybersecurity risk can seem daunting, but there are some very practical steps you can take in order to reduce your SCADA system’s vulnerability. The following measures incorporate basic strategies that can be implemented at a relatively low cost and still provide a fundamental level of security within your utility.
Pollutants that enter the storm sewer system and flow untreated toward the local streams, lakes, and wetlands pose an ongoing threat to the overall health of our communities. Not only can urban pollutants reduce the amount and quality of available habitat and present reproduction problems for aquatic bugs, amphibians, and fish, but high levels of bacteria in waterways also act as a source of human illness.
The Village of Hartland’s Arlene Drive sanitary lift station serves a high-end residential community adjacent to a golf course. Many of the homes served by this submersible lift station use a cleaning service. Unfortunately, “disposable” wipes and other cleaning materials that are frequently used by these cleaning services are often flushed down the toilet, clogging the lift station pumps. Before this issue was resolved, the Village utility staff were sent out several times a week to pull the pumps from the wet well and unclog them.
MS4 programs include important information required for permit compliance and the evaluation of the effectiveness of the programs over time. As state and federal authorities begin to require more detailed and quantifiable reporting information, it’s increasingly important to utilize reliable and efficient tools like GIS to track and store your MS4 permit data.
Is your sewer utility looking for ways to save on energy costs? A great place to start is the often-overlooked workhorse of the sanitary sewer system – the lift station! Many people don’t realize that even after a lift station is designed and installed there are still significant cost savings available to those who are willing to regularly maintain and/or upgrade their facilities.
Active construction sites continue to be a major source of pollution in our local lakes, streams, and wetlands. Just like training for a new skill or a new piece of equipment, training is needed to show construction site crews how, and when to install and maintain erosion control practices on construction sites.
The City of Franklin had one subdivision that was experiencing unusually high peak to average sewer flows. A hundred homes were 1950’s vintage, the subdivision was rural cross section with ditches, and there were known homes with hung plumbing and possible cross connections. Learn how utility rehabilitation assisted in resolving this issue.
As the temperatures fall and the leaves do too, the annual leaf collection programs start operating again. Whether it’s a community drop-off location for bagged leaves, municipally operated trucks, vacuums and sweepers to collect the piles along the road, or something in between, the public expects relatively clear roads and storm drains throughout the fall months.
Do you have an area in your system where breaks are common, back-ups are anticipated, or bypassing occurs frequently? Effective management and planning by public works staff are critical to meet the demands of deteriorating infrastructure and go from being “reactive” to “proactive” with maintaining your underground facilities.
The Village of Fontana-on-Geneva-Lake received the Investment in Infrastructure Achievement Award presented by Ruekert & Mielke, Inc. at their Village Board meeting on Monday, October 1, 2018. Ruekert & Mielke, Inc., a civil engineering firm serving southeastern Wisconsin for over 70 years, presents this award to exceptional communities in recognition for their efforts to better their community and residential life through successful infrastructure projects.
Schoolyards present a unique opportunity for a transformation from grey to green infrastructure as many public schoolyards, especially in larger cities, are covered in asphalt. Green schoolyards can help to foster healthy urban watersheds and wildlife habitats, while improving the health and happiness of students.
Working with the Public Service Commission (PSC) for water rates can be slow and labor-intensive. But don’t worry – there’s still hope. Learn how local communities like yours applied these six best practices to expedite the process and reduce effort.
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 radium from their groundwater.