While improving your utility’s finances through water conservation may seem daunting, in truth it can be as simple as taking proper care of your distribution system. Investing in the inspection, maintenance, and repair of your system can yield great net cost savings, all without reducing sales. Read more to learn how.
Ruekert & Mielke, Inc. (R/M) is excited to announce that we’ve recently hired Ginny Plumeau to lead our already robust Environmental Services Team. Plumeau is a Senior Ecologist, Registered Environmental Manager, and a regional leader in ecological services and permitting. Keep reading to learn how our Environmental Services Team can help your community succeed.
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.
Every odd year, Wisconsin municipalities are required to conduct road ratings and submit their findings to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT). Knowing the current condition of your pavement makes it easier to diagnose the overall state of your community's roads, forecast your future needs, plan maintenance activities, and provide quality roads to constituents. Read on to learn more.
The Wisconsin DNR Urban Nonpoint Source & Storm Water Management (UNPS) Planning Grant Program applications are now available on the WDNR website and are due mid-April of 2019 for the 2020-2021 grant period. Read on to learn how UNPS Grants can help your municipality with your storm water management plan.
Although Wisconsin banned lead in drinking water pipes in 1984, the US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 176,000 Wisconsin homes receive water through lead pipes. Wisconsin water utilities can now use water rate revenue to replace the customer-owned portion of a lead service line. Allowing utility funding to contribute to these upgrades will improve public health, increase public acceptance of rate increases, and improve compliance with lead limits for drinking water. Continue reading to learn more.
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.