Category: Local government

The cities that battle winter with beets

Read the full story from Bloomberg CityLab.

When Washington, D.C., announced it was busy preparing for a wintry mix by making a cocktail of road-coating beet extract last week, some people were understandably confused. Beets and streets do not compute. Salt and streets, on the other hand, has a nice ring to it — if only because that particular food-infrastructure pairing had a head start in the popular imagination as an effective way to stop cars from skidding during icy nights. 

But D.C., like many cities, has long relied on a potion of beet-enhanced brine to coat its roads. The extract of sugar beets, when combined with traditional ice-melting chlorides, can be more effective at lowering the freezing point of water than salt alone (here’s how the chemistry works). It’s also more biodegradable and less corrosive to vehicles. Discovered by a Hungarian scientist in the 1990s, the just-add-beets method has spread across North America, joining a host of other agricultural byproducts — including pickle juice, cheese brine and leftover beer — sprayed on streets in a quest to cut the dangerous salt habit that highway departments have picked up. 

When a city’s data-driven decisions go bad

Read the full story at Next City.

Every city government says they want to be data-driven. But not that many cities do it right.

Phoenixville’s wastewater treatment plant to get a first-of-its-kind upgrade

Read the full story from WHYY.

Phoenixville has announced plans to build what it claims will be the first hydrothermal carbonization plant at a municipally-owned wastewater treatment center not only in Chester County, but in all of North America.

EPA’s COMET tool blazes a path towards planning cleaner cities

Read the full story from U.S. EPA.

Energy, environment, urban planning, and living standards are all common elements city planners must consider when building sustainable and smarter cities of the future. To equip local officials with the tools they need to find integrated solutions, EPA researchers designed the City-based Optimization Model for Energy Technologies (COMET). COMET allows users to examine the next 40-50 years of energy technology evolution, based on their planning criteria. The model provides practical and applicable energy policy solutions for cleaner energy, especially for cities that aim to achieve air pollution emissions reduction targets. The tool can reveal how the energy system can be balanced at the city level under a different set of scenario assumptions, and how system costs and resulting emissions change with respect to those scenarios.

Study shows critical need to reduce use of road salt in winter, suggests best practices

Read the full story from the University of Toledo.

Overuse of road salts to melt away snow and ice is threatening human health and the environment as they wash into drinking water sources. New research from The University of Toledo spotlights the urgent need for policy makers and environmental managers to adopt a variety of solutions.

Hydrogen helps power Carmel’s street department fleet

Read the full story at Current.

AlGalCo is technically based in Indianapolis, but for the last eight years, founder and President Kurt Koehler has primarily officed in the City of Carmel’s Street Dept. building on W. 131st Street.

That’s where Koehler has been working to fine tune his patented technology that uses hydrogen to supplement gasoline, increasing mileage 10 to 12 percent per tank and lowering carbon emissions by 20 percent.

White House unveils EV charging action plan, prepares network rollout guidance for cities, states

Read the full story at Smart Cities Dive.

The White House on Monday unveiled an EV Charging Action Plan that sketches out how federal agencies will coordinate on the development of a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers.

The action plan establishes a Joint Office of Energy and Transportation, coordinated by the Department of Energy and the Department of Transportation, aiming to provide stakeholders with a harmonized approach and single point of contact for charging resources.

The new joint office will be critical to facilitating a smooth and equitable rollout of taxpayer funded infrastructure, said EV advocates. “Too often, localities and other stakeholders can’t easily access federal funding because of difficult grant application processes,” Zero Emission Transportation Association spokesman Daniel Zotos said in an email.

SEDAC public water infrastructure webinars

The Illinois EPA Office of Energy has teamed up with SEDAC and the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) to help local municipalities reduce the cost of treating water and wastewater.

SEDAC has two upcoming webinars:

View recordings from past webinars on the SEDAC website.

SEDAC Public Water Infrastructure Webinar Series

SEDAC’s fall webinar series will help water and wastewater plants to learn about new technologies and strategies to save energy and improve operations.

Introduction to the Illinois EPA Public Water Infrastructure Energy Efficiency Program for Water Treatment Plants

  • ​Oct. 14th, 9 am.

Introduction to Aeration & Energy in Wastewater Treatment 

  • Oct. 19, 11 am. Activated Sludge Plants
  • Oct. 26, 11 am, Lagoon Systems

Oxygen Transfer Efficiency: Diffusers and Aerators

  • Nov. 16, 11 am, Activated Sludge Plants
  • Nov. 30, 11 am, Lagoon Systems

Register for upcoming webinars and view recordings of past events on the SEDAC website.

Tiny Bubbles Mean Big Energy Savings for Henry POTW: Micro-Bubble Aeration Improves Energy Efficiency at Wastewater Treatment Plant

Download the document.

With assistance provided through the Public Water Infrastructure Plant Efficiency Program, the City of Henry Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) replaced their existing lagoon aeration system with Micro Bubble Diffusion (MBD) technology, resulting in significant energy cost savings and a reduction in the dissolved solids present in their treatment lagoons.

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