Best Practices

Mayor Jim Dailey

Neighborhood Roll-Off

Many of the neighborhoods in Little Rock were unable to coordinate large scale cleanups. An ongoing concern has been how to handle the removal of litter along rights-of-way, cleanup of illegal dump sites, and disposal of large bulky items from abandoned properties. The City of Little Rock's Sanitation Section, in conjunction with the Department of Neighborhoods and Planning, provides 20-cubic-yard roll-off containers for coordinated clean-ups by private citizens, neighborhood organizations, and volunteer groups. Containers are placed in prearranged locations for approximately three days at no cost to the requestors. All items, except building materials, automobile parts, and vehicle tires, are approved for disposal.

Since its inception in 1991, this program has continued to expand in response to increasing citizen requests. From a meager 200 clean-up sites in its first year to over 700 locations in both 1993 and 1994. Purchase approval of an additional roll-off vehicle in 1995 would allow further expansion to nearly 1,000 locales. This program provides for a cleaner, healthier environment for all citizens, and allows sanitation crews normally utilized for such purposes to be reassigned to other programs providing for the public welfare.

Contact: Warren Atkins, (501) 562-5102


Captain Sewer Conservation

The Captain Sewer Program was created to educate school children and adults about environmental concerns regarding water and wastewater. The Captain Sewer Program focuses on the limited supply of water and the natural biological processes used to treat wastewater. Children learn simple ways to conserve water. Rick Badger, Director of Operations for the Utility, plays the part of Captain Sewer by dressing in blue tights, red shorts, and a blue cape. He carries a toilet lid shield and plunger sword. The Learning About Water Usage with Captain Sewer coloring book is distributed at the beginning of the program and children are guided through the program by coloring in the answer to water- related questions.

Captain Sewer schedules approximately two appearances each week to reach about 600 children per month. The demand for Captain Sewer is greatest in grades K-8; however, Captain Sewer also performs at hospitals, museums, zoo festivals, high school career day programs, Earth Day events, and adult civic organizations. The program is specifically tailored to match the age and affiliation of the audience.

Public reaction to the program has been very favorable. This positive image has been a vital asset in seeking public support and interest in other utility programs that are environmentally linked. Comments received from those attending the Captain Sewer program indicate concern for Arkansas's clean water, and appreciation of the suggestions and advice given on conservation.

Contact: Rick L. Barger or Nancy Trotter, (501) 376-2903


Driver Safety and Vehicle Maintenance

Water Works' drivers log in hundreds of thousands of miles each year to cover our 127- square-mile service area. As traffic has increased in the Little Rock metropolitan area during the past few years the risk of our employees being involved in vehicular accidents has increased as well. Any operation with a fleet of vehicles driven hundreds of thousands of miles each year will experience a certain number of vehicular accidents and equipment failures that could result in injury to employees, damage to vehicles, and down time.

The utility implemented safety programs for drivers and a preventive and general maintenance program for vehicles and heavy equipment. The focus of the safe driving program is defensive driving skills. To be certified as a utility driver, an employee must master a driving and inspection test administered by an outside defensive driving consultant. Further, an employee must practice defensive driving skills under supervision of a certified utility driver and complete a defensive driving course. The course is taught by the consultant in a classroom setting. These requirements for our drivers are in addition to federal commercial driver's license (CDL) requirements. Employees who drive vehicles that do not fall under CDL rules must meet the standards as outlined above. Drivers who incur "no preventable accidents" within a 12-month period earn a Safe Driver Award. Under the vehicle and equipment maintenance program, all vehicles and equipment in the Water Works' fleet are inspected on a daily basis. If problems are discovered, the necessary repair or maintenance is completed before the vehicle is placed back into service. The components of the vehicle maintenance program also are above and beyond federal CDL requirements.

Employees have been involved in fewer "preventable" accidents. That result alone has reduced the number and severity of injuries suffered by employees, decreased the amount of damage to our vehicles, and reduced the amount of down time that we incur because of injury to employees, damage to vehicles, and vehicle and equipment failure. In addition, the program has contributed to the safety of employees, extended the life of vehicles, and given us a better return on the sale of retired vehicles.

We have 30 employees who have had "no preventable" vehicular accidents during the 14 years that the program has been in place. In addition, employees take greater pride in their safe driving records and in the upkeep and maintenance of the vehicles they drive.

Contact: John E. Webb, (501) 377-1253

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Telephone (202) 293-7330, FAX (202) 293-2352

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