Public Works and Utilities Newsletter

Paving The Way For A Brighter Future By Educating, Engaging And Empowering Our Employees.

Bluff Road Landfill Construction Under Way

The Bluff Road Landfill has been an extraordinarily busy place recently. Four major construction projects are currently under way:

  • About 300,000 cubic yards of soil are being excavated and stockpiled to allow for construction of a landfill liner; construction of the access roadway embankment to allow for paving; and the excavation and replacement of soils unsuitable for the foundation of the landfill liner.
  • The Phase 12 liner project includes the construction of a 10-acre composite (clay and plastic), with connections to two previous liners and connection of the leachate collection systems. The leachate collection system is a series of pipes that collects the liquids from the waste. This and the liner systems help protect the groundwater and the environment from contamination.
  • The methane gas collection system is being expanded with the installation of 22 vertical gas wells at depths ranging up to 100 feet and 3,500 linear feet of horizontal gas collectors and laterals. The landfill gas is collected, cleaned and used by Lincoln Electric System to produce electricity.
  • Paving about 4,000 feet of 10-inch thick roadway will provide access for refuse trucks to reach the active filling areas.

The total value of the projects is about $7.5 million. HDR Engineering designed the projects. The material testing, surveying, documentation and observation services were provided by Alfred Benesch and Company (excavation project) and SCS Aquaterra (liner, paving and gas system expansion).

In a single day a few weeks ago, all these activities were occurring:

  • Concrete trucks arrived at the rate of one every three minutes during a seven-hour period to pour 1,400 cubic yards for the road.
  • The liner construction contractor was seaming the plastic for the liner, which is the most critical component of the installation process.
  • While the vertical gas collection wells were being drilled, a doctoral student and a professor from the University of Nebraska also were taking measurements, recording video and weighing the wastes taken from the gas well borehole.

Having these projects under way during normal daily operations is a big challenge for landfill staff. On an average day, 315 refuse trucks (one every 90 seconds) and 1,265 tons of waste is received. With everyone using the same roads and landfill space, staff met the challenge and maintained operations for litter collection, management of leachate and landfill gas, and maintaining compliance with permit requirements for the landfill operation, air quality and stormwater.

Gas valve and lateral Gas valve and lateral Liner side slope material deployment Liner side slope material deployment Revetment mats for stormwater Revetment mats for stormwater

Leadership Link 2014 Award Winners

Chris Koll received the Administrative Professional Award, honoring an individual who has worked to support a work area, a project or another successful activity and who has demonstrated qualities of an effective administrative professional. Chris was nominated by Ben Higgins, Watershed Management, and PWU Assistant Director Donna Garden for her organizational and planning skills used to assist with Donna's orientation. Chris provides support to Watershed Management and facilitates the PWU Policy Team efforts.

Chris Koll

Ellen Wright received the Project Manager Award, honoring an individual who has effectively managed and coordinated a successful project. Ellen works in the Water Quality and Education Program unit of Watershed Management. Nominated by her supervisor, Ben Higgins, she was recognized for her development of the City's Landscape Water Quality Grant Program and her creative work in promoting water conservation to the public.

Ellen Wright

Strong Lincs

There Is No ‘Division’ Among Our Divisions.

- Miki Esposito

PWU Director Miki Esposito is pleased to announce the Strong Linc Award recipients for the workplace principle of poise. Please congratulate these Strong Lincs for their valued service:

Shannon Ideus (Technology Services)
Shannon always has great poise even when she is struggling to correct a persistent problem.
Ron Edson (Engineering Services)
Ron regularly works in the field with private contractors and private property owners. Ron expresses himself in a "dignified, self-confident manner" that is a great example for the rest of the staff.
Susie Filipi (Engineering Services)
Susie is always calm and quiet, even when faced with short deadlines or difficult assignments. Susie has recently taken over the responsibilities for Special Assessment Districts. When dealing with unfamiliar rules and conveying difficult information, Susie shows an easy assurance of manner and polish when talking to property owners and citizens. She is a great ambassador and a credit to City employees.
Jared Nelson (Watershed)
Jared presents a calm and confident manner when meeting with the public, consultants and other staff on difficult and technical issues, regarding drainage, floodplain or stormwater.
Connie Taylor (Water)
Connie deals with customers on a daily basis concerning backflow testing. Connie consistently conducts herself in a professional, pleasant and understanding manner. She is able to help customers understand their issues. Regardless of the workload, she is unflappable in dealing with certified testers and water customers alike.
Chuck Turner (Water)
Chuck deals daily with a variety of customers, keeping track of $500,000 in inventory. He remains poised even in the most difficult situations.
Michele Martin and Rita Hall (Water)
Managers and staff at the Ashland Water Treatment Plant report both Michele and Rita are always pleasant. Even when assignments are received on short notice, both graciously accept their tasks and can be counted on for accurate and timely results.
Steve Vandenberg, Ana Williams, and Keith Baue (Water)
All Ashland Water Treatment Plant operators must deal with emergencies. A fundamental trait of these staff members is their poise, confidence and composure when dealing with stressful situations. Steve, Ana and Keith were operators in charge during two recent emergencies. All three displayed great poise while dealing with these issues and relaying pertinent information to others. The quick actions and decisions allowed LWS to maintain constant water supply and fire protection to Lincoln.
Jerry Morris and Mike Squibb (Wastewater)
Jerry and Mike stayed after regular hours to use Wastewater's pipe video inspection equipment to assist City, County and federal law enforcement personnel in searching the storm sewers for an escaped fugitive. They provided valuable intelligence from inside the storm sewers.
Lori Wyatt (StarTran)
As a bus operator, Lori transports an average of 60 Lux Middle School kids per trip on one of the busiest booster routes. The poise Lori displays is amazing. She has gained the trust and respect of the kids, and has received numerous compliments from parents and school administrators. Lori has been a bus operator for 15 years, and the City is lucky to have her.
Mike Davis (StarTran)
As the new StarTran Manager, Mike handled several sensitive issues and high profile projects (bus purchase, brokerage contract, etc.) with great poise. Mike has worked to build relationships with all StarTran employees, earning everyone's respect in a short amount of time.

The next workplace principle will focus on commitment. Nominations are due to Miki by Friday, July 18.

A Farewell Note

Best wishes to our Public Works and Utilities colleagues on their retirement from City employment. We appreciate their service to our community. May they find success in all their future endeavors!

Karen Sieckmeyer
Administration – 43 years
Ed Kouma
Watershed – eight years
Louise Weyer
Engineering – six years

Technology Bits and Bytes

Thanks to all staff for their efforts resulting in the completion of the Novell to Windows file migration project!

As staff continue to identify and purge duplicate files, Technology Services staff will shift their focus to the next critical computer infrastructure project.

Construction commenced and equipment has been ordered to expand our fiber backbone capacity from one to 10 gigabit. The City's Internet service provider connection was increased to 250 megabit May 1. This increases the City-County network capability, allowing more simultaneous connections and faster file transfers.

Project organization and planning have started for the XP to Windows 7 upgrade, including the budget approval process.

Implementation of the OnBase Enterprise Content Management System started in June. The Water and Wastewater project will store all asset records on the State's server. Engineering Services is in the process of drafting a project outline, expected to be completed in July.

In other exciting news, PWU recently installed public Wi-Fi in Iron Horse Park. Check it out on your next trip to the Farmers Market or the next time you're out to eat in the Haymarket. The pilot project will run through September 15.

Wifi sign

Upcoming Events

Uncle Sam Jam 2014

Uncle Sam Jam 2014
Oak Lake Park
1st and Charleston
Lincoln, Nebraska (keyword: Uncle Sam Jam)
Oak Lake Park Cleanup
10 a.m. to noon
JULY 8 and JULY 22
"For Your Well-Being" Nutrition Presentation Series
County-City Building, Bill Luxford Studio (formerly room 113)
Noon and 12:30 p.m.

More PWU Events...

Upcoming Construction Projects

2014 Construction Season Projects (keyword: projects)

Public Works Day Celebrated During Waterfest

Lincoln residents celebrated Public Works Day and Waterfest at Holmes Lake Park June 7. These combined biennial events offered an educational opportunity for families to learn about the daily services provided by Public Works and Utilities as well as what individuals can do to reduce water pollution. PWU staff provided exhibits featuring equipment they use on a daily basis. Attendees received prizes and coloring books.

Waterfest/Public Works Day U.S. Army Corps of Engineers presents information to the public.

This year's theme was "Building for today, planning for tomorrow." More information on these events is available at (keyword: public works).

Waterfest/Public Works Day Nick McElvain and Chuck Seuferer, Lincoln Water System, discuss components of the water system with the public.

Service Awards

  • The City of Lincoln Service Awards ceremony honors employees who have completed 10 or more years of City service. Employees were recognized May 21 at this year's ceremony at Windsor Stables.

    Five were honored for 40 years of service:
    Jim Chiles, Steve Connell, Charles Craig, Dale Gebhard, and Jim Tompsett.
  • In addition, Public Works and Utilities recognized 66 employees for their service.

    Number of employees Years of service
    9 35
    2 30
    10 25
    4 20
    12 15
    29 10

Thank you and congratulations to all of our award recipients!

Water Conservation Poster Contest Winners

The annual "Be Waterwise" poster contest, sponsored by the Mayor's Water Conservation Task Force, had 160 entries from Lincoln fifth graders this year. The top two entries were submitted by Grace Akins, Morley Elementary, whose artwork is displayed on a StarTran bus, and Braden Lackey, St. Teresa Elementary, whose artwork is displayed on billboards at various Lincoln locations.

Congratulations to all the winners! Thank you for your help in promoting good water conservation practices.

For additional information on water conservation and the poster contest, visit (keyword: conservation).

Mayor's Water Conservation Poster Contest Winners Front row from the left: Kayleen Nguyen, Grady Arndt, Mayor Beutler, Grace Akins, Braden Lackey, Olivia Swanson. Back row from the left: Nicole Davis, Holly Ochsner, Jordanna French, Brynn Drickey, Morgan Madsen.

Dollar$ & ¢ent$

Lincoln Water System's Facilities Master Plan

Lincoln Water System (LWS) staff is working with HDR Engineering to wrap up City-County work on the Facilities Master Plan. The plan builds on the Comprehensive Plan and determines what infrastructure improvements are necessary over the next several decades to meet the needs of the community.

Projecting future water needs and comparing them to the existing water resources is the first step. As Lincoln grows at a rate of 2,500 to 3,000 people per year, customers are finding more ways to conserve. The Comprehensive Plan suggests that Lincoln's population will exceed 500,000 by 2060. That places high priority on finding additional resources to expand Lincoln's supply beyond the Platter River Valley Aquifer. Treatment facilities will need to keep pace with community growth, as well as with changes to water quality regulations.

The plan also looks at the locations for pump stations and reservoirs in the community. Each of the six pressure districts is evaluated to determine necessary improvements. Existing parts of the system are evaluated to determine if there are deficiencies. A review of LWS's water main replacement program determined that the total miles of mains replaced each year would need to be increased from five miles to more than seven miles for the utility to be sustainable.

LWS and HDR briefed the City Council and Planning Commission on the Master Plan in early June. Each body is expected to incorporate the findings into the Comprehensive Plan.

Were You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader?

Answers from the April/May newsletter's "Are you smarter than a fifth-grader" article:

  • How many fire hydrants are in Lincoln? (12,000)
  • How many miles of underground water mains are there? (1,200)
  • How many gallons of water are stored in Lincoln reservoirs? (104 million)

Thank you to those who answered and received a free rain gauge!

All available issues

June/July 2013 PDF 

  • Respect And Civility At Work
  • City Resources
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • A Farewell Note...
  • Condolences to Jeff Grove's Friends and Family
  • Service Awards
  • Something For The Kids: Dig Into Reading
  • Stormwater Runoff
  • Mayor's Award of Excellence for April
  • Dollar$ & Cent$ – City Council Approves Drought Rates
  • Water Conservation Poster Contest Winners
  • Flashing Yellow Arrows

April/May 2013 PDF 

  • Spring is Here!
  • Davis to Serve as StarTran Transit Manager
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • Whisenhunt Presented Mayor's Award of Excellence for January
  • A Farewell Note...
  • Morris Receives March Award of Excellence
  • Employee Training and Recognition Event
  • Golden Shovel and Platinum Pen Awards
  • Dollar$ & Cent$ – Managing the Cost of Electrical Power
  • Summer Water Restrictions Again Possible

February/March 2013 PDF 

  • Director's Corner: Laying the Groundwork
  • Call Before You Dig
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • A Farewell Note...
  • Condolences to Warren Wondercheck's Friends and Family
  • 2013 Home & Garden Show
  • Welcome Frank Uhlarik!
  • StarTran Stuff the Bus
  • StarTran 31-Consecutive Day Bus Pass Has New Lower Price!
  • Dollar$ & Cent$ – Funding Utility Services
  • Lincoln's Biosolids Land Application Program: 20 Years Old and Going Strong
  • PWU Recognized at NWEA Conference

December 2012 / January 2013 PDF 

  • Lincoln Water System Utility Supervisors Vital to Asset Management
  • StarTran 2012 Big Red Express
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • Brian Dittmann and Steve Titus are Retiring!
  • PWU Teams Up With Lincoln Public School Students
  • Dollar$ & Cent$ – Engineering Services
  • Municipal Services Center Continues Renovations
  • PWU Praised for Cooperative Efforts

October/November 2012 PDF 

  • Director's Corner: We Endure
  • City of Lincoln Wellness Program
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • A Farewell Note...
  • September Mayor's Award of Excellence
  • The Drought of 2012
  • Prepping for Snow
  • Wellness Initiatives
  • StarTran Serves 2,000,000 Riders

August/September 2012 PDF 

  • Public Works and Utilities Runs Defense
  • VoIP
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • Leadership Link Manager of the Year
  • July Mayor's Award of Excellence
  • Taylor Buss: Public Works and Utilities Ambassador
  • Dollar$ & Cent$ – Asset Management: A Commitment to a Sustainable Community
  • Wastewater FROGs
  • StarTran Receives Environmental Leadership Award

June/July 2012 PDF 

  • Dollar$ & Cent$ – "Color of Money"
  • Sidewalks: A Change in Responsibilities
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • John Ottoson is Retiring!
  • Kennedy Receives Mayor's Award of Excellence
  • Public Works Day Celebrated During Waterfest
  • 2011 Mayor's Award of Excellence Honorable Mention: Jose Regueira
  • June is National Safety Month
  • Safety is Director's Top Priority
  • Compost Program Nearing Anniversary
  • Water Conservation Poster Contest Winners

April/May 2012 PDF 

  • Director's Corner: Who We Are
  • E-mail "Alerts"
  • National Public Works Week
  • Strong Linc Awards
  • Service Awards
  • February Mayor's Award of Excellence
  • PWU Active in Sustainability Events
  • Stuff the Bus
  • Double Roundabout Wins Prestigious ACEC Honor Award
  • 56th and Elkcrest Water Main Breaks
  • Clean Water Program
  • Golden Shovel Award

February/March 2012 PDF 

  • PWU Director Esposito Appoints Marketing Committee
  • Snow Removal Effort Receives Multiple Compliments
  • Employee Kudos!
  • Terry Ullsperger Receives Award From HBAL
  • 2012 Home & Garden Show
  • StarTran Sees 20 Percent Increase in Ridership Over Two Years
  • City Has Filled More Than 7,000 Potholes This Winter
  • We're Listening: Why does it take so long to clear my cul-de-sac?

Marketing Committee Members

*Newsletter Committee Member

Kitty Elliott
Clay Engelman
*Kris Humphrey
Lance Loschen
Kyle Williams
*Meagan Pratt
Michelle Zuhlke
Rock Krzycki
Gene Hanlon
*Michele Abendroth