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Public Works Director Discusses City’s Investments in Infrastructure Resiliency

Public Works Director Discusses City’s Investments in Infrastructure Resiliency

Created: Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - 11:53
Categories:
Pandemics, Resilience

Mark Ray, the director of Public Works and city engineer for Crystal, Minnesota, has written an article for Homeland Security Today in which he describes proactive measures taken by his city in 2020 to improve long-term resiliency. Mark explains how these measures were particularly important in 2020, given greater dependence on critical infrastructure systems while people were increasingly staying at home and the challenges of responding quickly to emergency situations that could emerge, such as sewer backups. Most of the examples provided by Mark involve the city’s water and wastewater system. For example, he notes that fiber optic communication was connected to both a water tower and sanitary sewer lift station to build redundancy into critical infrastructure communications. Mark also notes that 2020 was the first year of construction of the city’s long-term utility reconstruction program, which is planned to last well over 100 years to replace all sanitary sewer and water mains. He observes that the “program is very much a long marathon that will last generations,” adding that “even in the face of COVID-19 and its uncertainty elected officials still were willing to take that first step and start the process of talking about infrastructure and following up with action in authorizing construction.” Mark acknowledges the challenges that COVID-19 has presented to moving forward with infrastructure investments, but emphasizes that the pandemic has also shown the cascading impacts that can result when these assets are compromised. Read the article at Homeland Security Today.