UCAR > Communications > Staff Notes Monthly > February 2002 Search


February 2002

Delphi Question: Shuttle idling, water ponding, alcohol consumption

Editor’s Note: Delphi Questions were proliferating last summer like wildflowers in the foothills. Management relayed responses to these queries directly to the questioners in timely fashion. Now, with the Delphi pipeline slowing down a bit in recent weeks, here is a look back at some summer concerns.

Delphi Question #478 (received 25 June):

As a regular NCAR shuttle rider, I am curious to know if there is a policy regarding shuttle idling. Usually the shuttle arrives, the riders get on or off, and the shuttle departs—all in a brief enough time interval that leaving the motor running may be justified. However, the shuttle departing Table Mesa/Broadway for the Mesa Lab at 6:55 a.m. apparently routinely arrives at 6:40 or earlier, and the motor is left running for at least 15 minutes.

A number of riders arrive well enough before 6:55 that sitting in the shuttle may afford them some comfort, especially in cold weather. However, this 15-minute idling also takes place on warm mornings. In my opinion it would be better for the shuttle to arrive one minute before departure, like the other shuttles. This would save gasoline and reduce carbon dioxide and other emissions—which would seem appropriate for UCAR’s overall mission.

This is in no way a complaint about the shuttle driver, who is very courteous and punctual and in all other ways efficient.

Response (received 2 July):

Transportation does have a policy regarding shuttle van idling: We follow the "one-minute rule." If a driver knows that he or she will be at a stop for more than one minute, the engine is to be turned off. If the stop will be less than a minute, the vehicle is left running because less fuel is burned during this short period than if the engine were shut off and restarted. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule (we don’t want anyone to pass out from heat stroke or develop frostbite, for instance), but we try to follow the rule whenever possible.
All shuttle drivers have been reminded of this policy and will avoid unnecessary idling. I encourage staff who observe idling infractions, or any other shuttle-related issue, to contact me directly so that the problem can be solved as quickly as possible.

—Jean Hancock, Transportation supervisor,
Safety and Site Services

Delphi Question #479 (received 2 July):

I have a Delphi Question regarding the new Tree Plaza at the Mesa Lab. There is almost always a puddle or damp stain on the concrete surface due north of the apex of the highest grass terrace. It appears to be seepage under the concrete bench. Is it just a drainage problem from the sprinklers, or has a possible leak in the underground plumbing after the control valve opens to the sprinkler heads been considered? It is rather persistent in spite of the hot weather we have been experiencing.

Also, in view of the reasons given for the use of grass in a June Delphi column (http://www.ucar.edu/communications/staffnotes/0106/delphi.html), it appears that the sprinklers are either insufficient or not properly adjusted. Areas of brown are beginning to appear on some of the terraces. Seems odd to go through all of the expense and have some obvious problems remain. Thanks.

Response (received 2 July):

As should be expected with a large flat surface like the Tree Plaza, water may sometimes pond. The new drains installed during the renovation alleviated most of these ponding areas. You are correct, however: water is ponding north of the highest grass terrace. After running the sprinklers, the water is percolating through the soil and seeping under the north bench, rather than running west as was designed.

This problem was noted during construction. Unfortunately, the remedies have been only marginally successful. The underground plumbing is not leaking.

During the recent 90-degree heat wave, the sprinkling schedules were adjusted to minimize the browning areas. Even with the challenges of managing the grass and the irrigation system, I hope you can agree that the Tree Plaza looks much better than before the renovation.

—Tina Bogott, Project manager,
Mesa Lab refurbishment

Delphi Question #481 (received 3 August):

Recently I gave a bottle of wine to a coworker. This necessitated bringing the wine to work and keeping it in my office for a while. After that, my coworker presumably had to keep it in their office for a while before taking it home.

My understanding is that this did not violate NCAR rules since the bottle remained sealed while on NCAR premises. Is this correct? What are the rules regarding alcohol at NCAR?

Response (received 10 August):

Since the bottle was sealed and not consumed on UCAR premises, you did not violate UCAR policy. (I hope it will be consumed in the near future at a much more enjoyable site.)

UCAR has a very specific policy regarding the consumption and serving of alcohol. Policy 1-1-19 states, in part: "Alcoholic beverages are served at UCAR functions or on UCAR premises only under controlled and limited conditions in order that UCAR may act in a socially responsible and legal manner. No alcohol may be served or consumed at UCAR functions or on UCAR premises unless expressly approved by a member of the President’s Council."

For more detail, you may review Policy 1-1-19 at http://www.fin.ucar.edu/hr/polpro/manual.


—Bob Roesch, Director
Human Resources

Questions and suggestions from the staff to management may be submitted in confidence to the coordinator, Janet Evans (ext. 1114, ML room 517). They should be submitted in written form, preferably via interoffice mail in a sealed envelope marked confidential; they must be signed. Detailed procedures for submitting questions are given in the UCAR Policies and Procedures Manual, section 4-1-2. Questions and answers of general interest to staff are submitted to Staff Notes Monthly by Janet. They may be edited for publication. For more information, including links to questions and answers published in Staff Notes Monthly and a log of all questions submitted since 1995, see the Delphi Service Web page.


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UCAR > Communications > Staff Notes Monthly > February 2002 Search

Edited by David Hosansky, hosansky@ucar.edu
Prepared for the Web by Carlye Calvin
Last revised: Fri Dec 22 17:08:40 MST 2002