July Newsline: Steelmakers take on China; Bobcat plants idle; new AWWA publication

Steelmakers file anti-dumping case against China
Bobcat plants idle for short term
AWWA publishes Math for Wastewater Treatment Operators
Leigh A. Cerda recipient of the Sidney L. Allison Award

Stimulus dollars needed to expand broadband in Massachusetts
Texas Hurricane Conference planned
Bill introduced to alert communities of sewage overflows
Top 100 U.S. infrastructure projects announced
Obama proposes cuts in construction programs
TVA to build natural gas plant in Tennessee
EPA sponsors 13th National Brownfields conference
Utility companies to cut capital spending
Design-build market thrives as it improves nation’s water infrastructure
Alcatel-Lucent launches Broadband for All program
Earthquake-protection tunnel project wins national engineering innovation award
AEM winners in “Construction Challenge” student competition announced
Engineers make case for 2009 Report Card’s D grade

Steelmakers file anti-dumping case against China

On April 8, seven U.S. steel manufacturers and the United Steelworkers union filed an anti-dumping and countervailing duty trade case against China with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission, alleging that $2.7 billion of Chinese pipe steel was unfairly dumped onto the American market in 2008.

Already reeling under the global recession that increases the impact on jobs in the steel and pipe manufacturing sector, U.S. Steel Corp., the largest U.S. steelmaker, has slowed steelmaking capacity and cut spending to contend with a drop in demand.

Accusing China of unreasonably low pricing tactics, the parties call for U.S. tariff increases of about 37 percent to 99 percent on the specific product — a type of manufactured steel product referred to as oil country tubular goods, which extract oil or gas from drill wells.

The DOC is expected to issue a preliminary subsidy finding by Sept. 8, 2009, and a preliminary dumping finding by 6 November, 2009.

Bobcat plants idle for short term

Bobcat Company says its plants in Bismarck and Gwinner will be idle for part of June and July due to a sluggish worldwide economy.

The announcement comes a little more than a month after Bobcat said it would cut nearly 250 jobs at the two North Dakota plants. It has said it expects the construction market to improve next year.

Bobcat spokeswoman Laura Ness Owens said salaried workers, including research and development and engineers, will remain at work during the suspensions. The company still plans a trade show in mid-June to showcase its newest products.
Bobcat is owned by Doosan Infracore International, a subsidiary of South Korea-based Doosan Infracore.

AWWA publishes Math for Wastewater Treatment Operators

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) has announced the publication of two new guides for wastewater treatment operators: Math for Wastewater Treatment Operators: Grades 1 and 2, and Grades 3 and 4.

Most water and wastewater operators cite math as the subject that gives them the most trouble on their certification exams and on the job. Math for Wastewater Treatment Operators Grades 1 and 2 and Grades 3 and 4 were written to provide students and operators with a focused way to prepare for the many challenging math problems likely to be encountered on certification exams. The books also serve as easy reference guides to common calculations wastewater operators encounter every day on the job.

Actual certification exam questions were used to develop the many problems in these essential guides, and each book offers hundreds of math problems and solutions covering the full spectrum of wastewater treatment operations. Appendixes include common conversion factors, a summary of wastewater treatment equations, chemistry tables, wastewater flow chart diagrams, and more.

All grade levels of Math for Wastewater Treatment Operators are available in AWWA’s online bookstore at www.awwa.org/bookstore.

Leigh A. Cerda recipient of the Sidney L. Allison Award

Leigh A. Cerda, P.E., a project manager and engineer with more than 100 sewer system evaluation and rehabilitation projects, received the Sidney L. Allison Award by the Water Environment Association of Texas (WEAT). This honor is presented each year to a person who has made significant contributions to the engineering, science, and/or operation and maintenance of wastewater collection and pumping stations with the mission to transport wastewater to a treatment plant.

Cerda has more than 16 years experience in water and wastewater systems. She has served as project manager/engineer for over 100 inflow/infiltration and sanitary sewer evaluation studies with extensive experience in applying and specifying system monitoring and rehabilitation technologies. She has managed the rehabilitation of over 600,000 linear feet of sanitary sewer pipe using trenchless processes such as fold-n-form, t-lock lining, cured-in-place, sliplining, pipe bursting and boring. In addition, she has identified rehabilitation needs through the inspection of pipeline systems and written technical specifications for the installation and testing of wastewater pipe and manhole rehabilitation methods.

Cerda is recognized by many for her technical expertise and a personal commitment to educating and protecting human health and the environment in the collection and transportation of wastewater.

Stimulus dollars needed to expand broadband in Massachusetts

Sharon Gillett, the director of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, said there is interest by the business community in providing high-speed Internet to unserved areas in western Massachusetts, and she hopes to use federal stimulus dollars to make it happen soon.

State Commissioner of Telecommunications and Cable Sharon Gillett is now charged with leading the state’s efforts to build partnerships with private Internet service providers to expand broadband access to every community in the state, as well as unserved portions of communities that have partial high-speed access. The institute will also coordinate the state’s efforts to win millions of dollars in stimulus funds for broadband expansion, which will need to move quickly to meet federal use-it or lose-it provisions.

There are 10 towns, six in Berkshire County and four in Franklin County, that have no access to high-speed Internet, and 58 more that are only partially serviced by broadband providers.

Accompanying the mandate was $40 million in state bonding authority to build high-speed infrastructure — for either underground fiber-optic or coaxial cable for land line service, or routers and other boxes for wireless systems — in conjunction with private operators and service providers. This money has yet to be released, however, and ownership of the new infrastructure is up for debate.

Some of the work to expand service in unserved areas has already taken place. Verizon Communications Inc. finished a rollout of broadband DSL Internet in 24 unserved communities in October 2008.

Texas Hurricane Conference planned

The first annual hurricane conference on education and research will be held on Aug. 7, 2009 at the University Hilton, University of Houston, Houston, TX.

The Texas Hurricane Conference on Preparedness, Loss Mitigation, Rapid Recovery & Lessons Learned is sponsored by the Texas Hurricane Center for Innovative Technology and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CIGMAT).

Dr. Cumaraswamy Vipulanandan, a UH professor of civil engineering and the center’s director, officially started up the Texas Hurricane Center for Innovative Technology after two years of planning and getting approval from the university. Vipulanandan’s research is concentrating on material damage from hurricanes.

The conference will feature keynote speakers from local, state and federal agencies. Ongoing research and educational programs at various Universities in Texas and Gulf Coast region will be presented. A special four panel discussion on power grids and utilities, rapid recovery and debris management, transportation and insurance will be held.

For information on attending or to exhibit, call Dr. Vipu at (713) 743-4278.

Bill introduced to alert communities of sewage overflows

Sens. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) recently introduced legislation to protect communities from illness by requiring monitoring, notification and reporting of sewer overflows.

Sen. Lautenberg’s bill will require sewer systems to be monitored regularly for sewage overflows and ensure that neighborhoods are alerted quickly if public health is at risk.

The legislation — the Sewage Overflow Right-To-Know Act of 2009 — would reduce the annual number of human illnesses from contact with untreated sewage by informing communities of sewer overflows discharging waste into their local waterways within 24 hours.

The measure would provide notification of sewer overflows by requiring sewage treatment operators to:

  • Monitor their systems for sewage overflows by using a management program or technology that will alert them of sewer overflows in a timely manner;
  • Notify the public, public health officials and other affected downstream entities, including drinking water suppliers, of any sewer overflows that endanger human health;
  • Report to the state or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) all sewer overflows as soon as possible and follow-up with a written report explaining the duration and volume of the overflow and steps taken to mitigate the overflow; and
  • Make monitoring and notification eligible for funding via the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

According to the EPA, between 1.8 and 3.5 million Americans become ill every year from recreational contact with waters contaminated by sanitary sewer overflows.
Currently, there is no consistent monitoring, reporting and public notification requirement for sewer overflows.

Top 100 U.S. infrastructure projects announced

CG/LA Infrastructure LLC, a company in the infrastructure project identification and development market, announced the release of the Top 100 U.S. Strategic Infrastructure Projects. The total estimated value of the projects is nearly $465 billion, the investments for which will be spread over an average of five years. Total direct and indirect job creation over the period will be nearly 10 million full-time employment positions.

The Top 100 projects were identified as possessing three specific criteria: (1) strong probability of going forward in the next 12 months; (2) critical as building blocks for U.S. competitiveness; and (3) strong relevance to the Obama government’s ‘connect the dots’ infrastructure priorities.

The sectors highlighted were: Smart Grid, new infrastructure and traditional infrastructure. Among some of the projects listed are the Midwest’s Green Power Express project; eights renewable energy projects ($15.3B), including wind, solar and energy efficiency, the largest of which is T. Boone Picken’s Pampa project; six high speed passenger rail projects ($109.4B), lead by the San Francisco/Los Angeles and Midwest Rail Initiative; and 18 urban mass transit projects ($44.4B) including Michigan’s Regional Rail Link and Northern Virginia’s Dulles Access Corridor project; 17 projects in surface transportation ($58.3B); four projects in traditional electricity generation ($21.4 B); nine projects in natural gas, including pipelines, LNG terminals and exploration ($55.1B); and 14 projects in the infrastructure of water/wastewater ($19B).

Roughly 2 million new jobs would be created each year from 2010 through 2014, directly and indirectly, through the development of these 100 strategic infrastructure projects, including jobs in:

  • Smart Grid: 839,000 job years
  • New Infrastructure: 3.2 million job years
  • Traditional Infrastructure: 3.03 million job years

For more information, visit: www.cg-la.com.

Obama proposes cuts in construction programs

As part of President Obama’s request for the next fiscal year, he has proposed terminating or trimming back 121 federal programs, which officials say would save an estimated $16.7 billion in 2010.

It will be up to Congress to determine whether the proposed program cuts, and the rest of the President’s $3.55 trillion fiscal 2010 budget, will be approved.

Also proposed to be cut are $145 million in Environmental Protection Agency water infrastructure earmarks. The 2010 budget plan would provide a large boost for clean water and drinking water state revolving funds that finance those types of projects.

TVA to build natural gas plant in Tennessee

The Tennessee Valley Authority has decided to build an $820 million, 880-megawatt combined-cycle natural gas power plant in northeastern Tennessee to comply with a North Carolina lawsuit over air quality.

As yet, there are no plans to replace 11 coal-fired stations. U.S. District Judge Lacy Thornburg ruled in January that four TVA coal plants in Tennessee and Alabama, including the John Sevier station, were contaminating North Carolina’s air under a lawsuit brought by the state in 2006. He ordered them cleaned up by the end of 2011.
TVA petitioned for an extra year, which the judge turned down. TVA recently filed notice it will appeal.

The utility said the cleanup could add $1 billion to the cost of upgrades and would be logistically difficult for John Sevier at the eastern end of its transmission system.
TVA estimates John Sevier, with the capacity to light 350,000 homes, will have to be shut down for 20 months to install the pollution controls, risking power disruptions.
So the TVA board agreed to postpone two projects of comparable worth–building a combined-cycle gas plant at TVA’s Caledonia site in Steens, MS, and expanding a gas turbine plant at Gleason, TN – and shift the work to a new northeastern Tennessee gas plant.

TVA plans to have three gas turbines at the new plant online by the end of 2011, and a heat recovery system that will produce additional power by the summer of 2012. TVA is considering a site near the Sevier plant.

EPA sponsors 13th National Brownfields conference

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) along with numerous partners, are sponsoring the 13th National Brownfields Conference in New Orleans, LA, Nov. 16-18 at the Morial Convention Center.

The Brownfields Conference is the largest and most comprehensive conference focusing on cleanup and redeveloping abandoned, underutilized and potentially contaminated properties in the nation. The conference will afford the opportunity to gain information on revitalization, “greening” cleanup and redevelopment projects, as well as communicating the environmental and economic benefits on brownfields revitalization.

Conference registration is free. The program is designed for officials from Federal, state, tribal and local governments as well as leaders from industry, environmental and community based organizations.
For information on attending, contact Tonia Biggs at (214) 665-8551 or email biggs.tonia@epa.gov. For conference information, visit www.borwnfields2009.org.

Utility companies to cut capital spending

Westar Energy Co. announced it will be cutting its capital spending in 2010 and 2011 by $500 million, a drop in spending of 40 percent.
The company is delaying several projects it had planned as a way of dealing with the tough economy.
Projects affected by Westar’s capital expenditure reduction include:

  • Installation of environmental upgrades at Lawrence Energy Center delayed until 2010, expected completion by 2012 or 2013.
  • Construction of a 345-kv transmission line from Hutchinson to Salina being spread out over 18 months rather than one year.
  • Construction of 345-kv line from Rose Hill to Oklahoma to be spread out over 2010 and 2011, rather than being completed in 2011.

Westar will focus more on securing purchase power agreements, which means the company buys power from private generators, such as the Flat Ridge Wind Farm near Nashville, KS.

Another utility facing cutbacks to keep costs down includes Kansas City Power & Light Co., which will cut $450 million in capital expenditures through 2009 and 2010;

Design-build market thrives as it improves nation’s water infrastructure

A new report released by the Water Design-Build Council, a not-for-profit organization representing the leading design-builders of municipal water and wastewater systems, highlights the growth of the design-build method of project delivery for the nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure projects.

The report, a four-year analysis of the Water Design-Build Council’s member firms, found that the sales value for the market grew nearly 80 percent in 2008 to reach $2.2 billion, representing 89 new projects. Geographically, projects in Florida, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico represented 73 percent of all sales in 2008.

“Increasingly, municipalities are working with design-build firms to address the need to repair, improve, and expand their water and wastewater treatment facilities,” said Peter W. Tunnicliffe, president of the Water Design-Build Council and a Senior Vice President with CDM. “The growth of design-build project delivery in the municipal sector follows the significant use of design-build delivery in the federal sector. The Council made recommendations to the Obama Administration and Congress that given the Stimulus bill’s priority to create jobs, the design-build approach allows states and municipalities to begin and complete their much needed water and wastewater projects more quickly than the traditional design-bid-build method.”

From 2005 to 2008, Water Design-Build Council members reported design-build revenue of $6.4 billion and a total of nearly 349 projects across the U.S. On average, 82 percent of member projects were design-build, while 15 percent were construction management at risk (CM@Risk) and 3 percent were design-build-operate.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • The average design-build contract duration from 2005 to 2008 was 1.8 years;
  • The median value of new projects was $3.3 million;
  • Projects in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas accounted for 65 percent of the design-build market sales since 2005; and
  • The number of water and wastewater projects was nearly equal, at 47 percent and 42 percent, respectively.

The following member firms participated in the report: AECOM, Brown & Caldwell, Black & Veatch, Carollo Engineers, CDM, CH2M Hill, The Haskell Company, HDR, MWH, and Veolia Water S&T.

Alcatel-Lucent launches Broadband for All program

Alcatel-Lucent has announced its “Broadband for All” program in the United States, which provides advisory services to help telecommunications companies, municipalities and developers apply for broadband stimulus funds as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act (ARRA) of 2009. The Act provides more than $7 billion in grants, loans and loan guarantees to unserved and underserved rural areas, offering them broadband access and services that have been previously limited or unavailable.

More than 6,200 small service providers, municipalities, utilities and developers provide communications services to residents of rural areas throughout the United States. Alcatel-Lucent’s “Broadband for All” program offers telecom providers a turnkey service to apply for government funding including grant application assistance, as well as technology solutions to enable them to upgrade their voice, video and data services for the 21st century. The ARRA of 2009 represents the government’s largest commitment to accelerate the availability of broadband technology for the rural and underserved markets, as well as public safety.

“The stimulus bill offers a unique opportunity for service providers, municipalities and developers to upgrade their networks for decades to come with technology that supports broadband access and services,” said Rich Wonders, vice president of Strategic Marketing for Alcatel-Lucent’s Americas region. “Not only is this a chance to offer their customers the kinds of broadband access enjoyed in more densely populated areas, but this represents a significant opportunity to create jobs throughout the U.S. The single largest cost component of deploying rural broadband is in the physical construction and deployment of the network, so these projects will create jobs as well as result in much better communications services for the residences and businesses in those communities.”

“The Broadband Stimulus funding is a significant opportunity for communications providers to extend broadband service to difficult-to-serve areas, but the clock is ticking,” said Nancy Victory, partner, Wiley Rein LLP and former administrator of the NTIA. “The application process is sure to be challenging and time-consuming, and the competition for funding is likely to be stiff. Given the aggressive schedule set by the government for awarding the funds, interested entities should be planning their projects now and identifying resources they should bring to bear to compete for funding.”

Alcatel-Lucent’s purpose in introducing the program is to help its customers meet the challenges inherent in the process and be well-equipped to compete for funding. According to the ARRA Act, the $7.2 billion in funding will be allocated by the NTIA and the RUS, and must be disbursed by Sept. 30, 2010. The agencies are expected to award the money in three phases, starting in summer 2009.

For more information about Alcatel-Lucent’s “Broadband for All” program, visit www.broadband4all.com/alu.

Earthquake-protection tunnel project wins national engineering innovation award

AMEC, the international engineering and project management company, was a key member of the team that was presented the nation’s top award for engineering innovation for a major earthquake-protection project.

The Claremont Tunnel Seismic Upgrade was chosen from 75 entries by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) for its 2009 Charles Pankow Award for Innovation.

The project was designed to safeguard the water supply of more than 800,000 people in the Oakland area from a magnitude 7 earthquake. The Claremont Tunnel, built in 1929, crosses the Hayward Fault as it carries water more than three miles from the Orinda Water Treatment Plant to aqueducts serving all or parts of Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda and eight other communities. The winning project involved the construction of a 1,570-foot-long bypass tunnel that runs through the fault and connects to the Claremont Tunnel east and west of the fault zone.

The bypass tunnel’s design included a broadened section through the fault zone that is intended to accommodate up to 8.5 feet of lateral movement. Additionally, a six-foot diameter, three-inch-thick steel pipe was placed where the tunnel intersects the fault as a backup system to allow continued passage of water in the event of tunnel damage.

AMEC Geomatrix characterized the geologic conditions along the bypass tunnel alignment and provided the design team with the geotechnical and earthquake parameters needed to design the bypass tunnel.

The project owner is the East Bay Municipal Utility District. Jacobs Associates was responsible for the overall design and construction management support. The contractor was Guy F. Atkinson Construction. AMEC’s efforts were led by Principal Engineer Michael Traubenik and Principal Engineering Geologist N. Timothy Hall, Ph.D.

AEM winners in “Construction Challenge” student competition announced

The national “Construction Challenge” competition sponsored by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has announced the winners of the challenge. More than 40 finalist teams participated in three separate challenges during the competition, which took place May 20-23, 2009 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville during the Global Finals competition of Destination ImagiNation (DI). DI is a challenge partner.

The student teams had qualified for the finals at one of 15 regional rallies held earlier in the year across the United States and Toronto, Canada. Since then, they had been designing, building and preparing for the national competition.

The students competed in these three challenges: Infrastructure PR Campaign; Manufacturing Design: Free Flow and Service Tech: Piling it On!

AEM along with DI developed the Construction Challenge to engage students through a hands-on, educational experience that introduces them to construction careers such as engineers, equipment technicians and manufacturing professionals.

The AEM Construction Challenge program offers an opportunity for students, teachers, parents and community leaders to learn more about rewarding industry career paths, and the important role of construction equipment in creating and maintaining the high quality of life enjoyed in North America and Europe as well as by increasing numbers in the developing world.

Construction Challenge 2009 Results
High School Overall Winners
1st Place Overall: Dallas, TX, area high school students, sponsored by Kobelco Cranes North America Inc. The students attend the following schools: Martin High School (Arlington), Richardson High School (Richardson), Pearce High School (Richardson) and Parkhill Jr. High School (Richardson).
2nd Place Overall: Perry High School, Perry, OK, sponsored by Ditch Witch.
3rd Place Overall: Berks Career and Technical Center, Oley, PA, sponsored by Volvo Construction Equipment.

Middle School Overall Winners
1st Place Overall: St. Therese Catholic School (Team 2), Kansas City, MO.
2nd Place Overall: Tecumseh Middle School, New Carlisle, OH, sponsored by Astec Industries.
3rd Place Overall: Frontier Junior High School, Graham, WA, sponsored by Atlas Copco Construction Tools LLC.

Engineers make case for 2009 Report Card’s D grade

Find out how civil engineering experts have justified the D grade they gave the nation’s overall infrastructure in January. The rationales behind the grades in 15 categories of ASCE’s 2009 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure are now available. Last winter, ASCE moved up the release of the Report Card, and its $2.2 trillion funding estimate, to help Congress, President Obama and the nation focus on the need for infrastructure investment in the economic stimulus.

Visit the upgraded Report Card site at www.asce.org for detailed yet easily accessible analysis of each category, an assessment of each state’s status, case studies of successful projects, suggestions for actions you can take and ways you can get involved, and more.