Flagging Doggy Doo

Public spaces should be respected and kept clean for the enjoyment of all; and around here, there is a group of people who are not all pulling their weight – Dog Owners.

Continue Reading →

Water Suppliers and Health

One of the highlights of the BCWWA Conference I just returned from was a discussion about the ethics of water treatment and the frameworks that decisions such as this are made in. With a presentation from two Interior Health officials, the discussion and points raised gave us all plenty to consider on the ethics of our business – I did record this session and it is attached to this post.

Continue Reading →

Open Source Civil Engineering

Can design by committee work for infrastructure projects?

The article quoted in my previous post on Integrated Sewerage Systems has critics claiming that with an extension granted by the Province for completion of the sewer upgrade project in Victoria, BC, the Capital Regional District should seek a wide base of input and comment on the viability of integration options for the proposed sewerage treatment system.

This puts the engaged consultants in a difficult position. Outside interest and comment on design ideas is often welcomed, but should changes be made to the design or a shift in the project priorities occur, who defines the change in scope and the appropriate compensation for the work undertaken.

Continue Reading →

Manholes for Scrap Metal

Scrap metal is one of the unlikely markets that is forcing municipalities to rethink how they manage their infrastructure…

Several hours a day, five days a week, [Francis McConnell] stakes out junkyards. Pretending to read a newspaper, Mr. McConnell sits near the entrances and writes down descriptions of passing pickup trucks and shirtless men pushing shopping carts. His mission is to figure out who is stealing the city’s manhole covers and its storm drain and street grates, increasingly valuable commodities on the scrap market. More than 2,500 covers and grates have disappeared in the past year, up from an annual average of about 100.

Source: With a Surge in Iron and Steel Prices, Thieves Are Stealing Metal Manhole Covers – NYTimes.com


Philadelphia has quite the problem, causing liability issues, as well as the cost of replacing the manholes. To combat this, the City is installing chains to secure the lids…

But so far, only 300 of the city’s more than 70,000 manhole and inlet covers have been locked.

Cities across the country are working with the police, junkyard dealers and industry associations to improve the chances of catching thieves, but while the price of metals keeps increasing – so will the problem. I haven’t noticed a problem around here, anyone got stories?

Continue Reading →

Low Flush Toilets

The City of Rossland is going ahead with a rebate program for the replacement of old toilets with newer, low flush models. This is in addition to the Province’s (BC) recent announcement that all new houses will be fitted with low flush toilets. The final details of the program have not been ironed out, but it raises an interesting question that impacts everyone.

What standards of performance do toilet manufacturers have to meet?

Continue Reading →