2016 APWA Awards Announced!

It is not every year that the Chapter gets to consider two very large, sometimes controversial projects (especially two that share part of a place name) for Chapter Project of the Year. The Los Osos Wastewater Project and The Los Osos Valley Road Overpass were both selected as Project of the Year for their specific category.  The Los Osos Valley Road Overpass won for Structural Project >$15 million and the Los Osos Wastewater Treatment Plant won for Environmental Project >$15 million. One project is helping to protect a groundwater basin and bay estuary from pollution.  The other project relieves traffic congestion and provides a much needed link between two halves of a city. Two fantastic projects and one tough decision.  But there can only be one.   This year the Awards Dinner attendees voted to select the Chapter Project of the Year. It was a tough choice for the attendees.  After tallying the vote it was clear that one project is the winner. Congratulations to the County of San Luis Obispo for winning the Overall Project of the Year Award for the Los Osos Wastewater Project. A complicated and difficult project and the award is well deserved.  The project will now be submitted to the National APWA for project of the Year Consideration.  Let’s all root that the project wins on the National Level. 

On March 9th, your Chapter is holding a training on the Envision Sustainable Infrastructure Framework and Rating System.  But before I get to the class, I want to discuss some items that are challenging to all of us.  We all have challenges, some are shared and some are specific.  The challenges we share include water security, flooding, sea level rise (for our coastal cities and our two counties), and the State’s Trash Policy.  We also can’t forget the Post Construction Stormwater Standards or Greenhouse Gas Reduction goals. Another item we all deal with is long-term infrastructure maintenance costs.  I am guessing that there is at least one project where if we could go back in time we would tell our predecessors to change or not build.   I know I would suggest that we not use the less expensive corrugated metal pipe or a small drop inlet openings.  Finally, what about community challenges?  Are your citizens behind your projects, or is there a backlash on or continued complaints about projects?  Lack of community buy in and acceptance is a real challenge, especially if the project is needed and will be a benefit. Most of us have had the experience of listening to a citizen complain about a project that was built years ago and yet is still evoking strong negative emotions.

So how are you addressing these challenges in your communities? Eventually, we will be required to address these challenges in our Capital Improvement Plan. But how do you know if what you are planning to build will address the environmental, fiscal, and social concerns of your community? That’s where this month’s training can help you. March’s meeting is focused on sustainability and the Envision Sustainable Infrastructure Framework and Rating System.  The March 9th class will equip participants to use the Envision tools in the design process, and prepare participants to take the Envision Sustainability Professional exam.  The Envision tools will help your project team assess lifecycle costs, evaluate the environmental benefits and ensure your project meets your sustainability goals.  We have a great instructor lined up and have made the training course cost as reasonable as possible.  There are only a few days left, so sign up as soon as you can. I am looking forward to seeing you at the training.

Lastly, be on the lookout for our April events.   We are planning to hold another one of the Public Works Institute trainings.  April’s training will be on communication.  The class will be fun and interactive, so be on the lookout for the signup announcement.  We are also working on a field trip that will likely occur in late April in San Luis Obispo County.   We have tentatively arranged for a tour of the Los Osos Water Reclamation Facility on April 27th. We will finalize the date and time very soon.  


David Athey

Chapter President 

APWA Awards 2016.pptx APWA Awards 2016.pptx

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