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.
MS4. TMDL. NPDES. These acronyms (and many more) can sometimes make complying with municipal storm water regulations seem like an exercise in alphabet soup more than anything else. A variety of recent advances in ways of thinking and technology can simplify regulatory compliance.
In addition to doing illicit discharge inspections during dry weather, monitoring storm sewer outfalls during snow melt and rain events can reveal pollutants that accumulate and mobilize only when storm water flows through the system.
The Village of Menomonee Falls is the perfect example of how long-range planning can increase your SCADA system's reliability. Over the past 25 years, their ongoing system maintenance and regularly scheduled hardware and software upgrades have resulted in no significant failures. Read more to learn how they did it.
Water utility alert! Due to the recent change to Wis. Stats. §66.0601(2m)(b), you can transfer the public fire protection (PFP) municipal charges to end-use retail customers without having to reduce your municipal levy limit.
Storm water controls are necessary to prevent flooding, protect property, and to protect local lakes and streams. Unfortunately, effective storm water controls are often very costly. Maintenance to ensure these features keep working means additional costs that are added on each year.
SCADA systems are an important tool in the day to day operations of water & wastewater utilities. Do you have a good strategy for ensuring that your SCADA system stays up to date and provides the optimum levels of reliability, security, and efficiency? Learn how regular analysis and planning can extend the life of your SCADA system hardware and software, and how periodic planned updates can be more economical than waiting to replace critical components when a failure occurs.
One common concern with green infrastructure practices is their functionality in cold weather. However, studies have shown that green infrastructure continues to be effective for water quality treatment and peak flow reduction in cold weather.
The City of Peshtigo has experienced recent sewer system overflow events that have been partly due to high wet weather flows. R/M assisted in performing a smoke testing program as part of the City’s sewer system evaluation survey (SSES).
Snow plowing and applying road salt was the accepted norm from the mid-20th century until just a decade or so ago. More communities are now using new technologies and methods that are ultimately cheaper, better for the environment, and most importantly provide the level of safety the public expects during winter storm events.
Some of the primary goals of CMOM programs are to protect public health, avoid basement backups, prevent sanitary sewer overflows, and protect the infrastructure investment. Municipalities place high emphasis on investigating private laterals in addition to the public sewers when they experience higher flows at their wastewater management facilities, sewers surcharge, or basements backup during wet weather events.
Why do some streams have TMDLs while others don’t? When monitoring or sampling results over a designated period of time reveal problems with the physical, biological and/or chemical conditions of a stream, river or lake, a waterbody can be listed on a state’s Impaired Waters List.
Vegetation shades the land in rural areas, allowing it to stay cool and moist. Urban development causes these natural environments to be replaced with roads, buildings, and other dry, man-made surfaces that retain heat causing the "heat island effect".
Earlier in 2017, R/M designed a water main replacement project for the City of St. Charles, IL, utilizing the horizontal directional drilling (HDD) installation method. Incorporating the HDD method of installation saved the City nearly 25% over an open-cut and auger alternate method of construction.
Ruekert & Mielke, Inc. was recently profiled in "US Builders Review Magazine," a publication for leading construction executives. The article focuses on R/M's growth, culture, and transition to 100% employee ownership.
Developing and analyzing data sets showing the relationship between land use and location efficiency can be a difficult and expensive process. In response to this issue, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed three tools that analyze the land use and transit accessibility of metropolitan neighborhoods in the United States: Smart Location Database, Access to Jobs and Workers Via Transit Tool, and National Walkability Index.
As our utility systems age, the need for replacing infrastructure in tight spaces has greatly increased. At the same time, the general public has become less and less tolerant of the hassles associated with underground construction projects. The horizontal directional drilling (HDD) method of utility installation can help your agency overcome these challenges and potentially save money at the same time!
Development drove the need for the City of Oconomowoc to provide new municipal facilities. Impact fees helped them meet the need by providing facilities, such as Fire Station No. 2, to fuel development.
Learn how Oconomowoc was able to fund facilities to attract development through working with R/M on an impact fee study.
Many communities want to grow, but water, wastewater, police, fire, parks, and libraries for new growth are costly. Impact fees fund facilities to attract development and recover the capital cost from new growth.