April Newsline: Development Through Sewer Upgrades; Obama Proposes Infrastructure Bank and More

City’s sewer improvements free up development
Fibertech Networks to install 200 mile fiber-optic network
Obama proposes infrastructure bank
Paul L. Bush Award nominations open

Contractors score 1,100+ miles of new pipeline construction
National Grid to upgrade network
In Memoriam

City’s sewer improvements free up development
New commercial development is coming to Fairview, TN, a city that had been shut out from major development due to an inadequate sewer system as reported in the Nashville Business Journal.

State officials had imposed a moratorium in late 2004 because Fairview’s water treatment system was over capacity. Fairview eventually sold its water and sewer department to Dickson County and paid $3 million for the construction of a new line.

The line along Highway 96 connects to a plant in Dickson County has freed up the city — and developers — to pursue new developments. Premier Development Partners plans to break ground in April on the $5 million Fairview City Center, a four-building retail and medical development directly across from Fairview’s City Hall.

The center will offer 12,300 square feet for a medical building, 16,000 square feet of retail, and parcels for a national pharmacy and a restaurant.

Adjacent to the Fairview City Center, Southstar Development is also putting in a commercial area with a grocery store, retail and restaurants.

Fibertech Networks to install 200 mile fiber-optic network

Fibertech Networks, a fiber-optic network company based in Rochester, NY, expects to have a 200-mile network it is building installed by June.

Fibertech Networks typically builds networks in midsize metropolitan areas but was drawn to the region by a large customer in South Jersey that it declined to identify as reported in the Philadelphia Business Journal.

The network goes as far north as Plymouth Meeting in Pennsylvania and Springside in New Jersey and connects to a 40-mile network Fibertech already has in the Wilmington area.

Fibertech has hired two people to handle sales in the region and will hire three to five more for administrative and service duties, said Dan Clifton, the company’s director of marketing and communications.

“We’re a growing company and we will grow our presence here in Philadelphia,” Clifton said.

Fibertech doesn’t offer phone service; instead, it offers data services and leases fiber to carriers, Internet service providers and organizations that want high-bandwidth connections between multiple locations.

“Our unique proposition is we build fiber directly into people’s businesses,” Clifton said.
Fibertech’s customers include large to midsize companies in a wide variety of industries, but health care, financial services and education are among its strongest.”

Obama proposes infrastructure bank

President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal 2010 includes the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank. Costing $25 billion over five years, the body would provide direct funding and co-ordination for projects.

The budget statement said, “The Budget proposes to expand and enhance existing Federal infrastructure investments through a National Infrastructure Bank designed to deliver financial resources to priority infrastructure projects of significant national or regional economic benefit.”

Originally proposed in 2007 in a bipartisan bill from senators Christopher Dodd and Chuck Hagel, the bank was intended to improve infrastructure transit systems, water infrastructure and roads and bridges in the U.S. The bill said the bank would deal with projects with a minimum value of $75 million, and would require up to $60 billion in financing, to be raised through bonds.

The bank is not intended to replace existing schemes for infrastructure funding, but will focus on schemes that will increase capacity but which do not currently receive adequate funding.

Under the proposed budget, the bank would be set up with initial funding of $5 billion in the fiscal year starting on Oct. 1. It would then receive $25 billion up to 2019.

Paul L. Bush Award nominations open

The Water Environment Research Foundation, through the Paul L. Busch Award, is offering $100,000 to encourage researchers working in wastewater, water reuse, biosolids, stormwater, watersheds, and other areas to use their imagination, take risks, explore new directions, and ultimately realize the possibilities inherent in their valuable work.

The annual Paul L. Busch award is one of the largest in the water quality industry. Now in its ninth year, the award has supported researchers imbued with the visionary spirit of its namesake, a leader in the water quality community who challenged engineers and scientists to devise new technologies and solutions for addressing ongoing water quality issues.

Recent recipients are already addressing many of the growing concerns of today’s communities, such as maintaining healthy waters in which we fish, swim and play; improving energy efficiency to reduce greenhouse gasses and improve the air we breathe; and assuring that we are prepared to address new challenges as they arise.

The WERF Endowment for Innovation in Applied Water Quality Research grants the award to an individual or team. Utilities, universities, environmental firms and others conducting water quality research or engineering work are encouraged to apply. Applicants may self-nominate or be nominated by a third party.

Interested individuals or teams must submit their application to WERF by June 1, 2009. All submissions should be sent to the Water Environment Research Foundation, Paul L. Busch Award, 635 Slaters Lane, Ste. 300, Alexandria, VA 22314. For more information, visit www.werf.org/PaulLBusch.

Contractors score 1,100+ miles of new pipeline construction

If new pipeline construction contract awards are an indication, the North American pipeline construction outlook appears healthy. Three separate contracts have been awarded calling for more than 1,100 miles of new mainline construction. The contracts include an award by El Paso Corporation to U.S. Pipeline Inc., Houston, Rockford Corp., Hillsboro, OR, and Precision Pipeline, LLC, Eau Claire, WI, to build the $3 bullion 680-mile Ruby Pipeline. As planned, the 42-inch pipeline will originate at the Opal Hub in Wyoming and terminate at the Malin, OR, interconnect, near California’s northern border. El Paso officials say the project will begin service in March 2011.

Denbury Resources also awarded contracts for the construction of the company’s Green Pipeline project to Houston-based U.S. Pipeline, Troy Construction, and Wilco Pipelines Contractors of Rayne, LA.

The 314-mile, 24-inch diameter pipeline will extend from Donaldsonville, LA, to the Hasting Field, south of Houston. Once completed, owners say the pipeline will be one of the first pipelines designed to transport man-made CO2 so that it can be injected or sequestered into the ground, keeping it out of the earth’s atmosphere and utilizing it to recover oil that would not otherwise be produced.

Price Gregory Services of Houston was the recipient of a Regency Energy Partners contract to expand the company’s pipeline system in North Louisiana to transport natural gas from the Haynesville Shale plays. Estimated to cost $1.1 billion, the expansion will provide 1.45 Bcf/d of new capacity to handle increases in production from the region.

The expansion, which includes looping the existing pipeline, extending the system and adding new compression, will add 204 miles of new pipe with diameters ranging from 24- to 42-inch to the Regency system. Compression additions will total 49,000 horsepower. As planned, project construction will be divided into two phases. Phase one is expected to be completed during the first half of 2009, adding 300 MMcf/d of capacity, at a cost of $375 million. Phase two is designed to add an incremental 1.15 Bcf/d and is scheduled to be in-service late 2009 with full operations set for March 2010.

National Grid to upgrade network

National Grid, one of the nation’s largest electricity and gas delivery companies, has awarded new contracts with two joint ventures to help deliver part of its U.S. electricity transmission investment program. The contracts, expected to be finalized by April 1, will last an initial five years and deliver up to $1.7 billion of projects.
AMEC plc, Michels Corp., and R.G. Vanderweil Engineers are in a joint venture called NorthEast Power Alliance (NEPA) which will design and build substations and transmission lines in upstate New York. Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Inc. and MJ Electric, LLC, a Quanta Services company will work on the New England infrastructure as New Energy Alliance (NEA)

To deliver the investment, the company is also bringing together most of its transmission project delivery resources into one team, adding internal resources and developing these long-term, collaborative supplier relationships. Marc Mahoney, National Grid’s vice president of Work Delivery, said, “Close collaboration is absolutely vital to these new contracts. We are currently working with NEA and NEPA to finalize the work planning process and contract terms, develop designs and agree on targets for 2009-10.”

In Memoriam

Pipe Line Contractors Association Honorary Member, Aubrey Kenneth Barlow, passed away Jan. 1, at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, TX. He was 92. Barlow was elected to honorary membership status by the PLCA board of directors in 1974. Barlow was retired co-owner of McVean & Barlow Pipeline Contractors Inc., a former regular member of the PLCA. He was vice president of the PLCA in 1973 and a member of its board of directors from 1960-64. Barlow is survived by his sons Bobby and wife Elizabeth; Don and wife Lisa; Tom and wife Carl; a sister and four grandsons.

Founder and former president of the Permalok Corporation of St. Louis, MO, Michael Argent passed away on Feb. 20. He was 54. The winner of the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) 1992 Associate of the Year Award, he served for many years on NUCA’s board of directors and as chair of the Trenchless Excavation Committee (1988-90). Argent also was one of the founding directors of the North American Society for Trenchless Technology in 1990 and served on the board of directors for four years.

Serving as vice president of sales as Pittsburgh Pipe when he won the Associate award, he subsequently invented “permalok” – a steel pipe joining system for trenchless installation and rehabilitation (patent issued 1999) – and founded the Permalok Corporation.