In September 2017, the American Public Works Association's Accreditation Council determined that Clark County Public Works had completed the necessary work to become an accredited agency for the next four years, until September 2021.
Clark County Public Works is the 129th agency to achieve APWA Accreditation.
Accreditation is the process a Public Works agency goes through to comply with recommended practices, as established by Public Works professionals working with APWA.
Clark County Public Works started the three-year process in fall 2014 by documenting how the department's policies, procedures and other work complies with more than 400 required practices.
These practices cover a gamut of issues, including emergency management, safety, engineering, project management, parks maintenance, traffic operations, bridges, street maintenance and snow removal and ice control.
Accreditation requires an agency address specific requirements, but the agency has broad latitude to determine how to comply with the requirement. For example, Clark County Public Works is required to have a snow and ice control plan, but the department determines what level of plowing and other winter road work to provide.
Benefits of achieving APWA Accreditation include:
- Evaluating operations and making improvements
- Refining and documenting concise policies and procedures
- Ensuring consistent and comprehensive practices
- Encouraging continuous improvement
- Capturing institutional knowledge and memory
- Learning from other Public Works professionals
- Receiving recognition as a well-run, elite department
Other agencies in Washington that have been accredited include Clark Regional Wastewater District, as well as Public Works departments in Kitsap, Pierce and Thurston counties and in the cities of Anacortes, Bellevue, Shoreline and Tacoma.
Clark County Public Works already has started laying the groundwork to be reaccredited in 2021.
Public Works Accreditation
As part of our outreach to the engineering community, John Milne of the Engineering and Construction Division has developed a series of articles, papers and presentations on sustainability for the American Public Works Association (APWA) and their international partner, the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA). The materials describe using “entropy-based resource management” as an organizing principle for the development of sustainability strategies. They are intended to stimulate thought and discussion on how public works agencies might work with other partners and disciplines to address the increasing needs for sustainable, resilient infrastructure, and so assure a sustainable economy and environment for our communities.
The articles are best read in the order listed, with the first articles introducing the concept. The later articles provide more detail along with some work examples, if needed.
Center for Sustainable Infrastructure, Evergreen State College
- “Developing Sustainable Strategies through Entropy-Based Resource Management”. Center for Sustainable Infrastructure (CSI) Blog, 2018 (PDF)
Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA)
- “Sustainability; Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Negative Entropy”. IPWEA Technical Paper, 2017. (PDF)
- “Sustainability; Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Negative Entropy”. IPWEA conference presentation, 2017. (PDF)
American Public Works Association (APWA) Washington state
- “Sustainability; Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Negative Entropy; Parts I-IV”. APWA Washington Magazine article series, 2013-2020. (PDF)
- “Sustainability? Think Negative Entropy”; APWA International Congress presentation, 2015. (PDF)
- “Watersheds and Fish; Time for a Public Option?” APWA Washington conference presentation, 2014. (PDF)
John can be reached for questions, or for additional material, at firstname.lastname@example.org