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Infrastructure Week Q&A with FTCH Experts

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  • 1. Infrastructure Week: Q&A with FTCH Experts Kamran Qadeer, PE VP/Sr. Civil Engineer Has Geographic information systems (GIS) improved infrastructure planning, and if so, how? Michelle Lazar: GIS is not just for mapping anymore. Infrastructure planning requires that we also consider the age, condition, and capacity of the system. GIS integrates with modeling and asset management software, and this same technology is used to collect input and share information with maintenance staff, managers, and the public alike. GIS allows us to store and analyze important information about our infrastructure, document our progress, and support our planning decisions. Kamran Qadeer: Potholes are a maintenance nightmare, cause damage to vehicles, and contribute to lost productivity. There is no long-term fix for this except road rehabilitation. Bad roads equate to lost economic growth, lost productivity and lost profit potential for area employers. Deficient bridges play a role in restricting economic growth. Deficient bridges can restrict the loading or can be closed causing inconvenience to users and trade. A long-term sustainable funding solution to maintain road ways and bridges is essential for the economic growth of our state. How do potholes and structurally deficient bridges play into the greater economic scheme of things? Jack Rafter: Wastewater infrastructure is a silent partner in a municipality’s aesthetic attraction for residents, businesses, industry, and potential new business investment. It is seldom seen, operates continually, and must always be effective and reliable. This part of a City’s infrastructure investment maintains community health. Wastewater infrastructure recycles the water resources we enjoy as a Great Lakes state, allowing water to remain a valuable asset for the enjoyment of visitors and residents alike. Much of the infrastructure used to handle wastewater is reaching the end of its useful life, so we look to replace and upgrade these systems and install components that better utilize the labor, energy, and chemicals needed to recover this natural resource. FTCH helps cities improve or control operational costs so the savings in the budget can be reinvested to upgrade infrastructure and sustain a City’s claim as a viable location for new or expanding business. Expand on the idea that wastewater infrastructure must be efficient, effective, economical, and reliable. How does FTCH’s innovative approach help cities achieve this? Claire Schwartz: FTCH has been a leader in innovative stormwater management through our participation in grant-funded studies, and through the design and construction oversight of green infrastructure projects. Our approach is to look for creative solutions that serve multiple purposes such as drainage and flood control, water quality protection, groundwater recharge, and stream stability. Public green infrastructure projects improve public health, safety, and welfare. In what ways does FTCH promote innovative infrastructure solutions that strengthen and grow the economy? Kamran Qadeer: Yes, good infrastructure, including good roads and bridges, is very important to sustain and further economic growth. A good network of roads is vital to the movement of goods, trade, tourism, and the general economy. Good infrastructure attracts employers to the area and convinces them to relocate their facilities and create jobs. With billions of dollars of trade with Canada, we need good infrastructure to further economic growth. Do you believe good infrastructure can further economic growth? How? Wayne Langeland: Good infrastructure includes the water, wastewater, and sewer systems, in addition to roads and bridges. These key infrastructure utilities affect the quality of life in every community. Quality and reliable water and wastewater systems with available capacity and a stable fee structure are primary considerations for industries looking to locate or expand in the area. We can attract or retain investment and the industrial base in our communities by leveraging these quality infrastructure resources. Claire Schwartz, PE VP/Sr. Civil Engineer Jack Rafter, PE, BCEE Sr. Project Manager Process Engineering Wayne Langeland, PE VP/Sr. Project Mgr. Michelle Lazar, PE, GISP GIS Manager Civil Engineering

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