ETAP Podcast: WSDOT Stormwater Management

The latest episode of the Environmental Technical Assistance Program or ETAP podcast digs into the innovative stormwater management practices of the Washington State Department of Transportation.

[Above photo of Tony Bush via WSDOT]

The ETAP podcast – a technical service program for state departments of transportation provided by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials – explores a wide array of environmental topics that affect transportation and infrastructure programs.

In this episode, Tony Bush (above) – stormwater branch manager for WSDOT – explains how the agency historically managed stormwater runoff from a safety and road preservation perspective and how it then later built in environmental stewardship and regulatory practices to support that stewardship into its processes.

Bush also goes into a current WSDOT research effort regarding the environmental impact of a contaminant called 6PPd-quinone from old vehicle tires and how that contaminant might affect salmon populations. To listen to this episode of the ETAP podcast, click here.

Tennessee Litter Grant Program Notches 40 Years

The Tennessee Department of Transportation recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of its “Litter Grant Program.” That program – started in 1983 – provides funding to all 95 counties within the state to pay for a wide variety of litter-related efforts, such as litter and tarp law enforcement; cleanup and recycling events; and litter prevention education campaigns.

[Above photo by Tennessee DOT]

Those funds also help county governments participate in multijurisdictional and statewide collaborations with Tennessee DOT’s “Nobody Trashes Tennessee” litter prevention campaign, conducted jointly with Keep Tennessee Beautiful and its local affiliates.

“[Our] litter grant funding model ensures a comprehensive and collaborative approach to litter abatement and is making a real difference in keeping the state of Tennessee safe and beautiful,” explained Denise Baker, transportation supervisor for the Tennessee DOT, in a statement.

“By providing funding at the county level, communities across the state organize litter cleanups on roadways and river ways based on their specific needs,” she added. “We are thrilled to celebrate the 40th year of the program.”

Collectively, the agency’s litter grant program is responsible for removing an average of 11,243 tons of roadway trash annually and, in 2022 alone, nearly 29 percent of that statewide total was diverted from landfills and recycled. Additionally, 3,480 illegal dumpsites were cleaned up. All told, more than 435,529 tons of litter have been removed from Tennessee roadways since the program’s inception four decades ago, Tennessee DOT said.

The program’s impact is further amplified through local government partners that invest additional resources in trash cleanup and removal, as well as by individuals who contribute tens of thousands of volunteer hours.

This makes the program extremely efficient, saving communities and the state critical funds when compared to the costs of contracted litter pickup. For example, the agency said the 2022 statewide average cost of litter grant-funded cleanup totaled $14.40 per mile, while contracted litter pickup routinely costs Tennessee DOT more than $500 a mile.

On a yearly basis, the agency said it allocated $5.5 million via its Litter Grant Program – a total that has remained the same since 2017. The amount each county receives is based on a formula accounting for population and road miles. The current series of litter grant contracts includes just over $3.8 million for local litter pickup operations and over $1.6 million for litter prevention education.

The Tennessee DOT noted its litter grant contracts require that 20 percent to 35 percent of each county’s total funding is budgeted for litter prevention education efforts. Counties are also required to tackle litter prevention education in three of five designated categories: students, public, media, business, and government.

The grants also fund Keep Tennessee Beautiful, which provides litter prevention education, community engagement, and the promotion of volunteers for beautification projects, the agency said.

Environmental News Highlights – July 12, 2023


USDOT Streamlines Community Infrastructure Programs -AASHTO Journal

As Downtowns Struggle, Businesses Learn to Love Bike Lanes –Bloomberg

The Little-Known Provision That Could Revolutionize Highway Travel -New York Times (essay)



Washington State DOT’s Stormwater Management Innovations -AASHTO’s ETAP Podcast

NOAA Using Drones to Improve Hurricane Forecasting -AASHTO Journal

Making Offshore Wind Transmission Work for Communities -Regional Plan Association

California lawmakers OK governor’s push to build energy, water and transportation projects faster -KCRA-TV

EPA announces $3M grant for climate mitigation planning in Hawaiʻi -Maui News

Swiss project places solar panels along railroad tracks -Sustainability Times

Is America’s Infrastructure Turning A Corner? -Thinking Transportation (podcast)

Pandemic-era ‘slow streets’ offer an opportunity to improve road safetySmart City Dive



Europe Targets Missing Emissions That Could Bust Climate Goals –Bloomberg

EPA methane rules need flexibility, balance to achieve lower emissions -The Hill (opinion)

EPA Proposes Updates to Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Requirements for the Oil and Gas Sector -EPA (media release)



Will Environmental Justice Programs Be Affected by SCOTUS’s Affirmative Action Decisions? -National Law Review (opinion)



Building California: How will the infrastructure deal affect development, wildlife? -Lompoc Record


Massachusetts Rolls Out Interactive Rail-Trail Map For Users -Daily Hampshire Gazette

Motorcyclist discovering West Virginia featured on West Virginia DOT’s “WV on the DOT” 150th podcast episode -West Virginia DOT (media release)


Transportation plan seeks to make Rochester safer for pedestrians and cyclists -WXXI Radio

The Untapped Power of E-Bike Rebates –CityLab

The Rise In Pedestrian Fatalities -CBS Sunday Morning (video)

Salt Lake City’s wide streets are a pedestrian problem, but also an opportunity -KUER Radio

Seattle DOT getting closer to more accessible waterfront with new bike lane design -KIRO-TV

Could new Israeli technology prevent bicycle accidents? -Jerusalem Post



Pathways to an Equitable and Just Energy Transition -National Academies

Electric Vehicle Charging: Strategies and Programs –NCHRP

Use of Unmanned Aerial Systems for Inspection of Stormwater Best Management Practices –NCHRP

Ridesharing Institute Conversation July 2023: A Tale of Two US Washingtons -Ridesharing Institute (link to webinar registration)



Announcement of Fiscal Year 2023 Low or No Emission Program and Grants for Buses and Bus Facilities Program and Project Selections -FTA (Notice; Announcement of Project Selections)

Evaluation of Alabama State Coastal Management Program; Notice of Public Meeting; Request for Comment -NOAA (Notice)

Technical Mapping Advisory Council -FEMA (Request for applicants)

Draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for the Eastern Portion of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) of the Gulf of Mexico (GEG460000); Availability of Draft National Environmental Policy (NEPA) Categorial Exclusion… -EPA (Notice of proposed reissuance of NPDES general permit; extension of public comment period)

Decommissioning and Disposition of the National Historic Landmark Nuclear Ship Savannah; Notice of Public Meeting -Maritime Administration (Notice)