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City of Lancaster Recipient of Two American Public Works Association Awards

City of Lancaster Recipient of Two American Public Works Association Awards

Lancaster, CA. 12/15/10 – The City of Lancaster has received not one, but two High Desert Branch 2010 American Public Works Association (APWA) Awards. Lancaster was the only double-winner, receiving awards for the Best Environmental Project for its Fats, Oils and Grease program and Outstanding Public Works Employee of the Year for Ray Hunt, Capital Engineering Division Manager for the City’s Department of Public Works.

“I would like to congratulate Ray on this achievement and commend him for his ongoing commitment and dedication to the City of Lancaster,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “It is because of employees like Ray that we are able to carry out projects like The BLVD transformation. Lancaster’s employees consistently go above and beyond, and these awards reflect this.”

Hunt was nominated for his overall excellent management skills, as well as his work on three major public works projects:  the Lancaster Boulevard Streetscape Improvements, the Amargosa Creek Underground Conveyance project and State Route 14/Avenue I Interchange Improvements.

Under Hunt’s oversight, the construction of the Amargosa Creek Underground Conveyance project was successfully completed at the end of 2009, weeks ahead of schedule and on budget.  The undergrounding of the creek brought with it environmental concerns and right of way issues which required coordination with several state and Federal agencies, utility companies and property owners.  Hunt’s outstanding project coordination was key in limiting the potential problems inherent to working within a federally regulated waterway during the rainy season.

Hunt’s skill and oversight was also instrumental in the recent completion of the Lancaster Boulevard Streetscape Improvements project in time for the holiday season.  Hunt was able to orchestrate design staff, including consultants and staff engineers, to have a quality set of plans for this 10 million dollar project and ready to bid in four months, which is typically unheard of for projects of this scale.

Over the last year, Ray has also worked tirelessly with Caltrans on the design of Avenue I and State Route 14 Interchange Improvements. This 12 million dollar project will improve safety and operations by re-aligning the SR 14 southbound off-ramp with the intersection of 23rd Street West and includes the widening of a bridge and improvements to Avenue I.    This project also required considerable coordination of multiple agencies, consultants and staff.

“In addition to being an excellent civil engineer and outstanding leader, Ray is a great person.  He is always there for his staff and gives praise whenever it is deserved,” said Robert Neal, Director of Public Works. “He motivates and challenges them to achieve their goals and strive for excellence.  He brings fun and laughter into the workplace as well as respect and admiration.”

The implementation of the City of Lancaster’s Fats Oils and Grease (FOG) Program was nominated as the APWA, High Desert Branch ‘Best Environmental Project’ because it demonstrates the positive impact of a comprehensive and progressive environmental program implemented to protect and enhance the environment, public safety, storm water quality, and sanitary sewer systems for the benefit of all citizens of the City.

Lancaster developed the FOG program in response to a requirement by the State Water Resources Control Board to develop a Sanitary Sewer Management Plan.

More than 90% of sanitary sewer overflows in the City of Lancaster are the result of pipe blockages from FOG accumulation.   In previous years, local agencies spent significant time and effort, at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars, responding to Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSO’s) resulting from FOG.  In addition to the costs for clean up, each SSO creates additional hazardous waste to dispose of, exposes citizens to unsanitary conditions and health risks, and degrades the environment.  The FOG program educates food service establishment owners about the risks of FOG and their responsibilities under the new rules and regulations, while at the same time keeping the program flexible enough to adapt to changing conditions.

The City’s FOG ordinance and resolution became effective January 1, 2010, with the intention of ensuring compliance through a proactive FOG Control Program.  The program identifies food service establishments which contribute to the FOG load and requires them to pay the additional costs instead of all the residents of the City.

Implementation of the City’s FOG Program has proven to be extremely successful.  To date there are 268 FSE’s currently in the Program; 99% of applications have been received; 95% of payments have been received; 242 inspections have been conducted; and a broad-brush approach to community awareness and understanding via personal interaction, City website, news reports, flyers, etc has been implemented. The success of the City’s FOG program is a testament to the quality and dedication of the entire team’s involvement on a day to day basis since its inception.


December 16, 2010 Posted by | Amargosa Creek Underground Conveyance, city of lancaster, Lancaster blvd, Mayor R. Rex Parris | , , , | Leave a comment