Porous Asphalt

Posted: July 10, 2014 in Municipal Government


Guest Blogger: Diane Skinner, Manager of Municipal Properties

Al Farrow, in the Municipal Properties Division of the DPW, experimented with a new concept (to us) this week called “Porous Asphalt”.

What is “Porous Asphalt” and how does it work?  Porous Asphalt is a pavement that allows water to drain through the pavement surface into a stone recharge bed and infiltrate into the soils below the pavement.  It has been around since the mid 1970’s, but used more since changes in storm water regulations.  It works by providing the water with a place to go, usually in the form of an underlying, open-graded stone bed which allows the water to slowly infiltrate into the soil.

What can porous asphalt do?  It can provide cost-effective, attractive pavements with a life span of more than twenty years.  It can also provide storm-water management systems that promote infiltration, improve water quality, and many times eliminate the need for a detention basin.

Porous asphalt is made from recycled tires and is ADA compliant.  The tightly controlled shredding process removes 99% of the steel fragments and produces a ¼” to 3/8” nominal size rubber chip.  Every 1000 square feet of 2” porous asphalt saves approximately 300 tires from the landfill!

If you get a chance, take a look at the newly laid porous asphalt in front of the emergency door on the east side of Community Development.

asphalt1             asphalt3Asphalt2









Sempeople 1Congratulations to the City of Auburn Hills, who received an asset management award at the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council Conference earlier this month. The asset management plan that Auburn Hills created does a great job of explaining the condition of roads, available funding, work that will be completed, among other things. They are also very willing to explain to other groups how they put the plan together. They are a great example of what can be done to explain asset management to elected officials, planners, engineers, and the general public. (L-r) Ron Melchert, Auburn Hills DPW Director, accepted the award from Carmine Palombo, Chair of Michigan’s Transportation Asset Management Council and SEMCOG Deputy Executive Director.


by: Jeanetta Miller

The Household Hazardous Waste Day is this Saturday,  May 17, 2014, Time:  9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. It will be held at a New Location: Department of Public Works, 1500 Brown Road, Auburn Hills, MI 48326. More information below:

Hazardouw Waste2014 Household Hazardous Waste Day Collection and Electronic Recycling

 Collection Date:         Saturday, May 17, 2014

Time:          9:00 AM to 2:00 PM

New Location:       Auburn Hills DPW Garage, 1500 Brown Road,
                                        Auburn Hills, MI 48326


This event is open to all Auburn Hills Residents. There is no charge for this event.  Bring proof of residency.


 Electronic:              Computers, Televisions, Microwaves, Household Batteries, any Electronic Device.

 Household:             Household Chemicals, Solvents, Moth Balls, Expired Medicines, Mercury Debris,

                                    Cleaning Products, Solvent Based Glues, Fluorescent Light Bulbs.

 Garden:                   Fungicides, Herbicides, Insecticides, Pesticides, Fertilizers, Rat Poison.

 Garage:                   Automotive Oils, Gasoline, Kerosene, Diesel Fuels, Brake Fluid, Anti-Freeze,

                                   Acid Filled Batteries, Acid, Solvents, Waxes, Lubricants.

 Workshop:             Solvents, Oils, Glues, Caulking, Paint Thinner, Turpentine, Varnishes, Wood

                                   Preservatives, Epoxy, Empty Propane Tanks (30lbs or less).

 Oil Based Paint:    Oil Based Paint, Solvent, Thinner, Oil Based Stain.


LATEX PAINT / WATER BASED PAINT:  will not be accepted because it is not considered a hazardous waste product. Latex paint can be solidified by opening the container and letting it dry or using an absorbent such as sand or kitty litter. Once solidified, the container can be disposed of in regular household garbage.  Please help us defray the cost of paying a hazardous waste collection vendor for disposal of water based paints.

Commercially generated waste, Radioactive Waste, Explosives, Ammunition, Shock Sensitive Materials, Industrial Compressed Gas Cylinders, Medical Waste (needles, syringes, sharps).





by: Jeanetta Miller

It is official… this is the snowiest season ever in Detroit history after the snow received last night. We received 3.1” of snow bringing the total to 94.8” and shattering the old record of 93.6” back in 1880/1881. Average snowfall for the Detroit area for the year is 42.7 inches. Snow is measured July to July, year to year. Hopefully, this is our last snow fall and we will not be receiving snow in June or July! The 2013/2014 season will go down in history with this last snow storm putting us in the record books!

This is somewhat ironic that we surpassed the record on April 15th. This is the date the Department of Public Works remove the snow plows and put them in storage, clean the equipment and get everything ready for the spring and summer months! With any luck, the DPW will be able to remove those snow plows soon!

Below you will find the top 10 snowiest seasons on record. How many have you seen?

DETROIT TOP 10 SNOWIEST SEASONS (1880-present)                           

1) 94.8” – 2013-2014

2) 93.6″ – 1880-81

3) 78.0″ – 1925-26

4) 74.0″ – 1981-82

5) 71.7″ – 2007-08

6) 69.1″ – 1899-00

7) 67.2″ – 1907-08

8) 66.5″ – 1929-30

9) 65.7″ – 2008-09

10) 63.8″ – 2004-05

squirrel in snowSnow on road

Snow plow 1











Image  —  Posted: April 15, 2014 in Municipal Government

by: Diane Skinner, Manager of Municipal Properties


Back in late November 2013, before the snow apocalypse began, several Christmas trees were erected and decorated around the City of Auburn Hills and in the Downtown area.  In mid January 2014, the City public ice rink was also erected in Downtown Auburn Hills.  After 4 months of non-stop winter, we fast forward to late March and early April.  The snow is melting and the ground is finally thawed enough to get the Christmas trees pulled up and the ice rink torn down and put away for another year.  The final Christmas lights are pulled from the Downtown trees and after record cold spells and an absurd amount of snow, it seems like the weather is slowly warming up.  Spring is right around the corner.  Ask any golfer!

Christmas lightsTree pictureLift truck












Image  —  Posted: April 14, 2014 in Municipal Government

by Dan Brisson, Manager of Fleet and Roads.


The DPW Fleet Division delivered the City’s first propane/gasoline powered vehicle to the Police Department this week.  A new 2014 Chevrolet Tahoe was retrofitted to run on propane as well as gasoline by ICOM North America out of New Hudson,  Michigan.  The 21 gallon propane fuel cell is fitted in the spare tire stowage area under the vehicle and other than a separate filling port and small  fuel gauge/status indicator on the instrument panel, is very hard to distinguish from a normally powered gasoline vehicle.

When first started, the vehicle runs on gasoline until an operating engine temperature of 120 degrees is reached. Warm engine start ups also use gasoline for about the first 30 seconds.  After one of these two scenarios has occurred, the propane system does a self-diagnostic check and then switches over to propane and remains in this mode until the propane cell nears empty.  If low on propane, the system will automatically convert back to gasoline until the propane tank is refilled. Once refilled, the system will resume the gasoline-to-propane usage cycle.  The system is fully automatic and requires no input from the driver other than refilling the propane tank.  Other than the clicking noise of a relay, the switch from gasoline to propane is unnoticeable.

Fuel economy while running on propane is about 5% less than the gasoline miles per gallon equivalent.  Figuring average police-duty fuel economy for this vehicle, the  propane range is expected to be approximately 180 miles. Police duty gasoline range is estimated to be 260 miles for a total bi-fuel  range of 440 miles.  Engine performance while running on propane is the same or slightly better than gasoline.

The Clean Energy Coalition calculations for  bi-fuel gasoline/propane indicates a reduction in emissions by 56%, green house gases by 13% and maintenance costs to the engine by 9% .

The Fleet Division will have an additional  nine propane bi-fuel conversions completed in-house and in service by mid-summer.

Pictured is the propane filling port and fuel gauge/status indicator on the dashboard for the propane system on the new Tahoe.


Picture of Bi-fuel CarBi-fuel 2Bi-fuel


Image  —  Posted: April 9, 2014 in Municipal Government

By: Dan Brisson, Manager of Fleet & Roads

Referring back to Friday’s blog regarding the “turkey deep fryer turned water line steamer” created by the Department of Public Works’ Water/Sewer Department, ingenuity during urgent situations is not unique to the staff in the Water Division.  By mid January, cutting edges for the snow plows on our nine city dump trucks were running critically low.  The Fleet Division had placed an order in November with our usual supplier.  Only a portion of the order had been filled by January.  We quickly learned the severity of this winter was yielding a first time ever shortage of cutting edges.   Days of searching various vendors as far away as eastern Pennsylvania produced zero cutting edges.  Nada, zip, nothing.

Networking with other communities found a small machine shop in Troy that was able to modify carbide blocks that could be adapted to our cutting edges.  The carbide blocks could be welded on to the last of our cutting edge inventory by our Fleet Technicians to extend the life of the cutting edge.  An urgent order was placed and the blocks were received in less than a week.  Carbide blocks were welded to the remaining inventory of cutting edges and got the DPW through February when suppliers were able to replenish our inventory.

It is inspiring to see the Public Works Department use their creativity and ingenuity to resolve challenging issues to give the best service possible to our residents.

Carbide Block

Image  —  Posted: April 8, 2014 in Municipal Government