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Robert Moylan masccc 2013


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DPW Worcester

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Robert Moylan masccc 2013

  1. 1. Making our physicalenvironment moresustainablePresented at 3rd Massachusetts SustainableCommunities ConferenceApril 24, 2013Robert L. Moylan Jr., P.ECommissioner of Public Works and ParksWorcester MA
  2. 2. Overview§  What is sustainability?§  How do we evaluate sustainability?§  Case studies of sustainable practices§  Examples of non-sustainable practices§  Guidance for going forward
  3. 3. SustainabilityWhat is it???Sustainability in public works, in thebroadest sense, means delivering ourservices in a manner that ensures anappropriate balance between theenvironment, the community and ourability to pay. It means making smart,thoughtful decisions by spending thepublics money to get the best return forthe environment and the community
  4. 4. Responsibilities of PublicWorks Directors or CityManagers§  We are problem solvers and practitioners ofsustainability§  Stewards of our community’s resources§  Advocates for and protectors of the environment§  Managers of complex infrastructure systems§  Responsible for the prudent expenditure of thepublic’s money§  Visionaries for our communities§  And if we are really good, we not onlydo more with less, we do almosteverything with nothing!!!!
  5. 5. How Do We Evaluate aSustainable Concept?§  Triple bottom line•  Needs to be good for the environment•  Needs to be good for people/community•  Needs to be economically justified & viable
  6. 6. How Do We Evaluate aSustainable Concept?§  Sustainability cannot be achieved if one of therequirements is missing; it should not beforced§  Economics is often the most challenging ofthe 3 requirements to satisfy§  The Holy Grail: Identifying a practice thatachieves environmental improvement bypromoting good behavior that costs less thanbad behavior
  7. 7. Some of sustainability’smany forms§  Fleet operations§  Vehicle idling policy§  Vehicle fuel policy§  Recycling opportunities§  MSW§  Construction Materials§  Vehicle re-use§  Energy and Street Lighting§  Smart offices§  LED lighting
  8. 8. Case Study #1: Making SolidWaste Management inWorcester Sustainable§  Worcester’s Historical Solid Waste CollectionProgram (prior to 1993)§  Traditional waste collection – tax levy funded§  Weekly collection (50,000 household units)§  Over 40,000 tons/yr collected (WTE facility)§  Bagged waste collected at curbside (36employees)§  Recycling strongly promoted at drop-off centers(2% of waste stream recycled)
  9. 9. Making Solid WasteManagement Sustainable§  Conclusion:•  Traditional program was not sustainable•  >40,000 tons/yr incinerated•  Only 2% of waste stream recycled•  36 city employees needed to collect waste•  The city’s solid waste program was notsatisfying the economic requirement of TBL….therefore program not sustainable
  10. 10. Worcester’s Current PAYTSolid Waste System§  Developed in 1993 duringbudget crisis§  Required purchase of specialyellow bags at 50 cents each§  Benefits§  Weekly curbside trash andrecycling§  Recycling is “free”§  Created monetary incentive torecycle; promoted goodbehavior vs. bad
  11. 11. Worcester’s Current PAYTSolid Waste System§  Results:•  Worcester recycle rate increased from2% to 38% in one week….12,000tons/yr•  We now recycle > 50% of our wastestream with leaf and yard waste•  City’s MSW waste reduced from40,000 tons/yr to 23,000 tons/yr…savings > $1M/yr•  Workforce reduced from 36 personsto 16•  Program is successful because itsatisfies the triple bottomline...created new behavior thatimproves environment and costs less
  12. 12. Case Study #2:Composting Worcester’sLeaf and Yard Waste§  Historical Practice:§  Landfill leaves and yard waste collected oncity streets (75,000 cy) during fall season§  Residential properties managed their ownleaf and yard waste during other months
  13. 13. Case Study #2:Composting Leaf and YardWaste§  New Program:§  Leaf waste collected by city equipment fromall city streets over a 5 week period in fall§  Yard waste collected from residentialproperties during growing months§  All waste is composted and screened andthen made available for residents at nocharge§  Some compost material sold to landscapecompanies
  14. 14. Case Study #2:Composting§  New Program (cont)§  One of largest municipal compostingprograms in the state§  Operation fully managed within city limits bycity forces§  Reuses a material that once took upvaluable landfill space and now provides abeneficial use to residents§  Annually provides 25,000 cy of “black gold”§  Program is fully embraced by public
  15. 15. Case Study #3: CompleteStreets Program§  $20 M Street Improvement Program (27 miles)§  Work includes coordination of infrastructureimprovements of all utilities§  Water & Sewer§  Gas & Electric & Cable§  Includes:§  Street & Sidewalk Improvements§  Tree Planting§  Traffic signals & signage§  Hydrant painting
  16. 16. Be cautious of the “Green”tag§  Not all “Green” initiatives are worthy ofadoption…evaluate against the TBL§  Bio-Fuels§  Tree Pits to control P§  Clean Water Act§  Stormwater§  NPDES permits
  17. 17. Bio-Fuels for MunicipalEquipment Fleets§  Bio-fuels: fuels made from organics thatare mixed with other fuels to reduceGHGs§  Avoided by City for many reasons:§  Fuel is very problematic < 40°F§  Reduces engine efficiency and life§  Unreliable§  Costly even though subsidized
  18. 18. Tree Pits to removephosphorous from runoff§  “Green” Infrastructure to improvestormwater quality§  Placed on residential streets to collectrunoff and pass it through a medium toreduce P loadings§  Average cost to install = $8k/ea§  Equivalent number of trees = 27§  Which choice is preferred?
  19. 19. Is the Clean Water ActSustainable?§  CWA passed in 1972§  Noble goal is to make allwaters fishable andswimmable§  Law passed at a time whennations waters were verycontaminated, many poseda health hazard and wereunusable
  20. 20. Is the Clean Water ActSustainable?§  EPA’s NPDES PermitsSystem•  Stormwater: controlsdischarge from urbandrainage systems•  Wastewater: controlspoint sources fromPOTW’s
  21. 21. Stormwater Management§  EPA’s Historical Approach•  Maximum Extent Practicable = statutorymunicipal stormwater treatment standard•  Best Management Practices + PublicEducation + Implement within your means= MEP•  Seek continuous Improvement•  Sustainable because it satisfied the TBL
  22. 22. Stormwater Management§  EPA’s New Approach•  MEP is insufficient; specific water quality standardsmust now be achieved•  Standards are unachievable with good behavior•  Meeting standards far more costly…treatmentneeded§  Cost to treat an impervious urban acre is$150,000 (estimate from EPA)§  Statewide = $21 Billion§  Triple bottom line remains unmet becauseeconomic requirement is not satisfiedDoes anyone in MA think that we have a $21Bstormwater problem?????
  23. 23. NPDES Permit forWastewater Treatment§  NPDES permits require removal of pollutants toassure uses of water are protected or restored§  Gross pollutants (toxins, metals) are undercontrol§  Focus is now nutrients: namely P and N§  UBWPAD not yet completed $200M upgrade tomeet 2001 permit and are hit with new permitcosting $200M
  24. 24. Wastewater TreatmentUBWPAD NPDES Permit§  Current plant discharge is•  TP = 0.3 mg/l•  TN = 6 mg/l§  New Discharge Permit (2008) nowunder appeal•  TP = 0.1 mg/l•  TN = 5 mg/l§  To meet new permit will require a50% increase in the carbonfootprint of the plant
  25. 25. Wastewater TreatmentUBWPAD NPDES Permit§  Conclusion: The CWA does not consider“sustainability”§  It focuses on improving water quality at theexpense of energy consumption, air qualitydegradation and other environmental impacts§  It does not satisfy the TBL criteria
  26. 26. Wastewater Treatment§  EPA’s Historical Approach•  Federal and state cost sharing to lessen thefinancial burden•  EPA very conscious of costs and cost-benefit when they have money in the game•  Incredibly successful at restoring nation’swaters•  Sustainable because it produces clearenvironmental and societal benefits andconsiders economics
  27. 27. Wastewater Treatment§  EPA’s New Approach•  No more federal or state grants•  Assistance limited to loans (SRF)•  Sorry, we can’t consider costs•  Any perceived improvement is good, nomatter how marginal•  Science is weak and disputed§  Triple bottom line remains unmet becauseenvironmental benefits and social benefits areunproven and economic leg is not satisfied
  28. 28. Going Forward§  Triple Bottom Line is the method by which wemust measure or evaluate a sustainableinitiative§  The most challenging variable of the TBL iseconomic§  Technology and innovation will drive theeconomic variable§  Be wary of adopting “green” solutions simplybecause they come with a “green” tag