Meeting Community Needs
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Cary’s 2018–2019 Annual Wastewater Report was released electronically to citizens and wastewater utility customers in August. The annual report is created to keep citizens and customers informed of programs related to the operation, maintenance and performance of the wastewater collection and treatment systems. The annual report is also a regulatory requirement of Cary’s state-issued wastewater collection system and water reclamation facilities wastewater discharge permits. The Annual Wastewater Report is located on the Town’s website as well as in hard copy at Town Hall, community centers and local public libraries. During the 2018–2019 reporting period, there were no permit compliance violations at the water reclamation facilities. In addition, of the 7 billion gallons of wastewater conveyed and treated for the year, only 18,403 gallons escaped the system due to backups and overflows.
Originally constructed in 1966, the Maynard Road Water Tank is the most iconic and recognizable tank in Cary. With a capacity of 500,000 gallons, this multi-leg water tank is also the smallest and longest-standing tank in the water system. Rehabilitation of this tank, completed in Q1, will extend its service life by approximately 20 years and help ensure adequate water storage in this redeveloping area. Rehabilitation included removing the existing coatings and applying fresh coats of paint to both the interior and exterior of the tank. Additionally, the interior and exterior ladders, the safety climbing systems and the altitude valve that measures the water level in the tank and controls the flow of water in and out of the tank were replaced, and the handrail along the catwalk of the bowl was repaired.
The Cary Collects app, an interactive communications tool customized for Cary’s solid waste collections programs, launched on September 25. This innovative connection with citizens through a new web and mobile app is an environmentally-friendly addition to collection program communications.
For 10 years, citizens have received blue or yellow recycling calendars, loose leaf collection schedules, maps and other information and program tips by mail. With Cary Collects, this information is available digitally. To help with the transition, the loose leaf schedule will be mailed to all households this year; printed recycling and solid waste schedules will be available on request.
Cary Collects allows citizens to:
- Search for an address to view or print a personalized collection calendar
- Sync to an iCal, Google or Outlook calendar
- Search for items in the Waste Wizard to determine the correct disposal method
- Sign up for collection day reminders and notifications via phone, email or the mobile app to receive service alerts when collections change due to holidays or inclement weather
In the first two weeks following the app launch, there were:
- 1,800 mobile app downloads, surpassing the anticipated 9-month benchmark of 1,400 downloads for similar-sized municipalities
- Address searches, currently at 5.5 percent of households, are trending to surpass the 6-month benchmark of 9 percent
- 4,500 Waste Wizard searches
These statistics reflect our tech-savvy community embracing their new digital tool. Cary Collects will continue to enhance communications by syncing our messages with citizen needs and providing valuable data as the solid waste programs evolve.
In April 2019, Cary secured a two-year agreement with Recycle America for processing and marketing recyclables collected curbside and from the Citizen’s Convenience Center. Over the past few months, staff met with the Environmental Advisory Board and the Information Services Advisory Board to discuss recycling and the Cary Collects app. Interdepartmental staff came together several times to discuss recycling strategies and to participate in guided tours of the landfill and Recycle America’s facility.
In conjunction with the recent addition of Cary’s recycling tonnage, Recycle America decided to build a new Material Recovery Facility off Globe Road in Cary. This facility is scheduled to open in early 2021 with a blend of the newest technology and skilled manual sorters. This will be a more convenient and cost-effective location for Cary since it will be very close to Public Works.
For the second consecutive year, the Town of Cary has been ranked #34 in the Top 50 Green Fleet Organizations in North America by Tom Johnson’s 100 Best Fleets. This is an annual competition where government and commercial fleet operations showcase their efforts in creating more sustainable, environmentally-friendly fleets. Applications are judged on seven criteria: fleet equipment composition, fuel consumption, policy and planning, fleet utilization and maximization, technician education, executive and employee involvement, and supporting programs and technologies.
Fleet Manager Brandon Pasinski and Sustainability Manager Emily Barrett drafted the application, highlighting improvements as well as current and planned projects. Cary’s fleet was specifically recognized for Council’s Strategic Energy Action Plan, continued efforts to acquire optimal type and size vehicles based on operational needs, increased placement of electric and hybrid electric vehicles, and a predominant use of biodiesel fuel.
During a regular cleaning and inspection of the sewer system at the Prestonwood County Club Golf Course, a section of 30-inch sewer line was identified with a serious deformation and was in danger of collapse. The problem was located on the golf course and underneath a creek, which presented unique challenges. Further complicating the repair was the October SAS Golf Championship. Staff quickly developed a plan with Prestonwood Country Club and worked with a utility contractor to repair the sewer line.
Temporary pumps and more than 3,600 feet of bypass piping were installed to re-route wastewater around the repair site. The creek was also diverted while 80 feet of sewer line was replaced, and a cured-in-place liner was installed to reinforce the sewer line. Special ground protection matting was installed on golf cart paths and fairways to minimize damage from heavy equipment. The sewer line repair was complete on August 30. Collaboration and coordination with Prestonwood County Club led to a fast and successful repair before a collapse could occur and in time to restore the turf before the SAS Golf Championship.
After more than a decade of permitting, design and construction, the Western Wake Regional Water Reclamation Facility (WWRWRF) began operating on July 28, 2014 and started returning highly treated wastewater to the Cape Fear River on August 11, 2014. WWRWRF, affectionately known as “the Greatest Place on Earth” by staff, represents an excellent model of regional cooperation among the towns of Cary, Apex and Morrisville to ensure the future of wastewater treatment services to support economic growth and development in western Wake County. A $255 million project, the facility and associated infrastructure, jointly owned by Cary and Apex, remains the largest capital endeavor that Cary has ever completed.
Designed and permitted for 18 million gallons per day (MGD) of advanced wastewater treatment, WWRWRF represents the culmination of decades of wastewater treatment experience. Key features include:
- Expandable to 30 MGD within the current footprint
- Class A and Exceptional Quality thermal biosolids drying process
- Site layout and design that protects the environment and buffers the plant from nearby homes
- Modern technologies to mitigate odor, noise and light
- Advanced wastewater process technology that consistently produces high-quality, treated wastewater to reclaimed water standards
Plant Manager Damon Forney and his staff have strived for excellence from the first day of operations, successfully transitioning from a construction project to a fully operational facility. At five years of operation, staff at WWRWRF were recognized with a Gold Award from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies and a Director’s Award from the American Water Works Association’s Partnership for Clean Water.
As part of a state-wide network of storm response resources, Cary Fire Department’s swift water rescue team was deployed to the coast in advance of the arrival of Hurricane Dorian in early September. Staging key resources is crucial to providing safe responses to residents in need. The team, led by Captain Chad Thomason, was sent to the Otway Fire Department in Carteret County near Harker’s Island to support local emergency services agencies. The team worked with a NC National Guard unit on Cedar Island removing stranded victims and assessing damage.
The Fire Department was excited to welcome its first tractor-drawn aerial truck, or “tiller.” The tiller (pictured on page 13) will help accommodate trends toward closer housing, lower tree canopies and technical complications for larger trucks. Citizens will recognize them as the ladder trucks with drivers in the front and the rear of the truck.
On August 1, 2019, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) Lead Assessor, Retired Deputy Chief Michael Webb, and Team Member Lieutenant Charles Groover, completed the on-site assessment for reaccreditation. Accreditation is a process by which police agencies are evaluated on compliance with over 400 standards in all areas of operations, support, and administrative processes.
A Compliance Service Member (CSM) reviewed PD files before the on-site assessment, and all standards were in compliance. The CSM commented that Cary’s files were the best he had ever reviewed. The on-site assessment focused on day-to-day operations. Assessors spent three days evaluating the effectiveness of processes and outcomes associated with the standards specific to our policies. Assessors engaged in a variety of activities such as interviews with police, other staff, and members of the community and also made direct observations while attending specific program events. As part of the on-site assessment, agency employees and members of the community were invited to offer comments at a public information session. There was also a call-in session for citizens who could not attend in person.
The onsite assessors were extremely complimentary of the department in the exit interview; both assessors stated they had assessed many departments across the United States and neither of them had seen a better department than in Cary.
Chief Toni Dezomits and Accreditation Manager Kathleen Sanfratello will attend the CALEA Hearings on November 15, the final step of the process, and will find out at that time if the department will receive reaccreditation.
During this quarter, in-car cameras were installed in all designated police vehicles. Over 5,086 recordings were generated by the end of Q1.
Body-worn camera deployment began the first week of September, and although there were some system glitches early on, those technical issues were overcome quickly when the camera system vendor, WatchGuard, flew an engineer to Cary to assist, and the problems related to the camera system server and software were corrected.
Once deployment began, it became apparent that additional equipment was needed to ensure that police activities related to off-duty assignments could be recorded. As a result, an additional 40 body camera units, additional vehicle charging units and tactical uniform mounts for the Emergency Response Team will be purchased. With the 40 additional cameras, all sworn officers will be equipped with a body camera, thus preventing recording gaps that could result from unplanned police activities.