Your Guides to the Latest and Greatest in Public Works
Nerds Unplugged February 2024: CEAM Conference, Richard McCoy and Episode Recaps
Welcome to the first Nerds Unplugged episode! Deb Heiser, Michael Thompson and Mark Ray join me as a panel of opinionated Public Works professionals talking about random issues related to Public Works. This is planned to be a monthly or so feature where we recap recent podcast episodes, talk about public works issues in the news and give updates to what's going on in our public works worlds.
For this first episode we are joined by Richard McCoy, Public Works Director and City Engineer with the City of Robbinsdale, MN. Our Australian native colleague talks about his multi award winning Water Treatment Plant project and how things are a little different in Australia.
The panel also talks about the City Engineers Association of Minnesota's (CEAM) Annual Conference which concluded on February 2nd, the day we recorded this episode.
We hope you enjoy this experiment in the episode format. We would LOVE to hear from our listeners on topics to talk about. Let us know if you have a suggestion or want to share something interesting that is going on in your career and/or community.
Below is the AI generated recap for this episode. I figured I would keep it here in the show notes so you can see what AI thinks of this episode. As always, thanks for listening!
Ever wondered how the seemingly mundane world of public works is actually a high-stakes game of strategy and innovation? Strap in as we take you beyond the orange cones and into the heart of our communities' unsung heroes with Deb Heiser, Michael Thompson, and Aussie newcomer Richard McCoy. Discover why Minnesota's unseasonable warmth isn't just good for your tan but also for street maintenance, and how our playful podcast download rivalry underscores the passion that drives public works professionals across the globe.
This episode isn't just about the concrete and pipes beneath our feet; it's a celebration of the milestones marking the journey of our colleagues, like Mark Ray's exciting new chapter as Public Works Director in Burnsville. As we chat with these industry mavens, we uncover the crucial blend of ethics, culture, and communication that propels our field forward. You'll gain insights into the intricate dance of long-term infrastructure planning, the human touch needed in crisis management, and the cultural shifts that are redefining our workspaces from the inside out.
Join us for a discourse that ventures into the lesser-seen realms of public works, from the complexity of waste management in the face of changing policies to the surprising efficiency of trash-to-energy processes. Learn how cities like Plymouth are navigating the organics collection conundrum and why Aussie asset management might just be the blueprint for future-proofing our infrastructure. This isn't just talk; it's a masterclass in the art of balancing technical prowess with the finesse of community service. Grab your hard hat and let's get to work understanding the world that works for us.
Infrastructure Resilience with Russ Matthys - an APWA 2023 Top Ten Public Works Leader
Join us for our first of hopefully many conversations with an APWA Top Ten Public Works Leader. In this episode we are joined by a Public Works Nerds Podcast veteran, Russ Matthys. In 2023, Russ was one of 10 professionals named a Top Ten Public Works Leader by APWA. We talk to Russ about the award and what that means to him.
We also talk about a new task force formed by the Minnesota Legislature. Russ teased about this when we last talked to him and since then he was appointed to the task force as the APWA representative.
With the formation of the Minnesota Infrastructure Resilience Task Force, Russ provides a window into the collaborative efforts aimed at elevating asset management and infrastructure coordination. From creating centralized project portals to grappling with the challenges of utility information sharing, he doesn't shy away from the tough conversations about accountability, legislative efforts, and the quest for excellence. Tune in as we unpack the intricate dance of public and private sector roles in shaping the sustainable infrastructure of the future.
Minnesota Infrastructure Resilience Task Force
Michigan Infrastructure Council
Institute of Asset Management
The State of Recycling with Eureka Recycling's Kate Davenport
Discover the transformative power of recycling and how it intertwines with community economics in our latest Public Works Nerds podcast episode. I, Marc Culver, am joined by the insightful Kate Davenport, co-President of Eureka Recycling, who not only shares her personal journey from climate activism to leading a nonprofit recycling enterprise but also sheds light on the game-changing concept of revenue sharing in recycling contracts. Together, we examine the fluctuating tides of commodity prices and the effect they have on the cost of recycling services, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at how to navigate these challenges and turn sustainability commitments into financial wins for communities.
As we discuss the rising tide of extended producer responsibility (EPR) legislation, you'll grasp the profound effects of mandating brands to invest in recycling infrastructure and the push for regulations that demand recycled content in consumer packaging. You'll be swept up in the conversation on the significant role consumer choice plays in driving the demand for sustainable packaging, and the intriguing potential of long-term supply agreements to counterbalance the competition from virgin material manufacturers. Witness the innovative leaps, such as Sprite's move to clear plastic bottles, and the hurdles like non-recyclable packaging that shape the future of the recycling landscape.
Wrapping up our insightful dialogue, Kate and I turn our gaze towards the horizon of recycling and sustainability. We spotlight the essential role mission-driven recyclers like Eureka play in promoting environmental and public good, and how crucial collaboration between municipalities and businesses is to enhance recycling, reuse, and ensure a more sustainable future for all. Tune in to be part of a movement that's redefining our relationship with waste and crafting a greener tomorrow.
Since we recorded this episode, Kate has transitioned into a new role at Eureka as a Strategic Advisor.
Challenges and Solutions for Water Service Line Inventory with Chelsea Alger and Dave Malm
Unlock the secrets of how cities are combatting the pernicious issue of lead in our drinking water, as Chelsea Alger and Dave Malm from Bolton & Menk join us to dissect the monumental task of lead service line replacement. With the Flint water crisis still fresh in our memories, we explore the complexities of updating water service inventories, the power of GIS technology in this process, and the urgency of securing public funds for these life-essential projects. Chelsea and Dave bring a treasure trove of knowledge, providing an insider's look into the reality of preparing for regulatory deadlines and the scarcity of qualified personnel to undertake such a significant endeavor.
Listen in and learn about available funding and tools for inventory compliance, as well as where we stand in the inventory process. We also talk about the proposed rule change to require replacement of lead service lines within 10 years.
Lead Service Line Presentation at MN APWA Fall Conference – David Malm and Chelsea Alger, Bolton & Menk, Inc.
Timeline of Flint, MI water crisis
EPA Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) – Final Rule Effective 6/17/2021 – Rule making docket link
Lead Service Line Inventory | NC DEQ
Revised Lead and Copper Rule | US EPA
Lead & Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) - North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality (nd.gov)
Lead Service Line (LSL) Replacements | | Wisconsin DNR
Lead and Copper Rule | Drinking Water Compliance Assistance | ADEQ (azdeq.gov)
Drinking water Lead and Copper Rule & Revisions | Department of Public Health & Environment (colorado.gov)
Lead Service Line Inventory | Missouri Department of Natural Resources (mo.gov)
SD Water Pipes | Lead Service Line Inventory | South Dakota
Season 1 Recap with Mark Ray
It's our 20th episode! Which is milestone in and of itself. Considering 90% of podcasts don't make it past 3 episodes, we're in pretty good company. I am joined by our first episode guest, Mark Ray, Public Works Director and City Engineer for the City of Crystal, MN. Mark, who is one of the most positive people I know, helps me review the season and highlight several episodes.
I am very thankful for the loyal following we have developed (all, about 70 of you?) and everyone else who has listened in and given us a shot. Thank you to everyone who is listening. Whether that's one episode or 20!
We are going to take a little break and as we gear up for the next season - whatever we decide that's going to be. We hope to be dropping episodes again in November. In the meantime, go back and check out the episodes you may have missed and continue to help us spread the word!
Check out the links to our website and our YouTube page below.
Solid Waste: Organized Collection, Recycling and Organics with Rachel Lindholm
This week we dive into the intricate world of waste management with Rachel Lindholm, the Sustainability Specialist from the City of Richfield, Minnesota. In this episode we talk about how Richfield implemented organized collection, managed recycling services and started both a drop off and curb side organics collection system. Listen in as we nerd out about garbage!
Richfield, MN Organics Recycling Information
MN PCA Organized Collection Process Flow Chart and Information
Eureka Recycling MRF Video