March Newsline: Gas Line Fire Destroys Home, Dark Fiber in D.C., New Water Infrastructure Funds and More

Gas leak destroys home in St. Paul
Dark fiber expands to D.C. metro area
Funds awarded to improve water/wastewater infrastructure
EPA grant for CSS project in Spencer, IA

MACTEC awarded contract from SFWMD
Rain for Rent performs emergency sewer bypass
Corrpro receives task order under U.S. Navy contract
New NUCA officers and board of directors
Rural broadband access explored
In Memoriam

Gas leak destroys home in St. Paul
When a homeowner in Highland Park neighborhood of St. Paul, MN, hired a plumber to auger out a clogged sewer line located in her basement, they didn’t expect the explosion that would burn the house down.

The gas-fueled fire occurred on Feb. 1, when it is believed that the plumber hit the natural gas line. He was treated for burns and released, and the resident was unharmed.

State investigators believe the gas line was installed through the sewer line when Xcel Energy replaced gas lines in the neighborhood in 1991.

It was reported that the resident had tried to unclog the sewer line over the weekend with no success before contacting the plumber.

After a similar incident in 2003, Minnesota’s Department of Pipeline Safety issued a warning to plumbers and contractors. It read, “Utility lines may have been inadvertently installed through some sewer lines” and could pose a “risk to public safety.”

Xcel Energy officials said the company reminds all of its customers once a year to contact the company if property owners plan on clearing their sewer lines. Xcel Energy will inspect the lines at no charge.

Pipeline safety officials said older homes that had gas lines re-installed in the last 20 years may be at risk. They don’t know how many gas lines run through sewer pipes.

Dark fiber expands to D.C. metro area
24/7 Fiber Network, Baltimore-Washington, D.C. metropolitan area’s high capacity transport and dark fiber network provider, announced the expansion of its footprint into underserved markets throughout the Delmarva Peninsula and into the metro Washington, D.C. area.

This network expansion marks 24/7’s commitment to providing cost-effective, high capacity bandwidth solutions connecting Washington, D.C.’s metro area with the Eastern shore. The company is constructing a dark fiber footprint deep into the Delmarva Peninsula, a large area on the East Coast of the United States occupied by portions of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. This area, considered an underserved market, will soon be connected via 24/7’s high fiber count dark fiber network 100 miles into the region’s main business districts located in Salisbury, MD, and Wilmington, DE. This network will then continue another 100 miles into the Baltimore metro area with connectivity to 24/7’s extensive Baltimore City Central Business District network footprint and from there it will connect to 24/7’s long-haul route directly into the Washington, D.C. market.

The network will deliver a fully diverse, high capacity 432-strand fiber route, fulfilling a key communications gap in the region. The existing infrastructure is antiquated and does not provide the route diversity and high bandwidth capacity required by today’s carriers, service providers and enterprise businesses. This new, next-generation network will provide a fully protected, metro area ring capable of serving modern communications infrastructures as required by wireless 3G, 4G, tower backhaul providers and carriers.

Carriers, wireless operators, service providers and network operators throughout the region will be able to interconnect to 24/7’s network from its main facility located in the carrier hotel at 111 Marketplace in Baltimore, MD. The 24/7 facility is a 5,000 square foot Central Office grade location providing fully-dedicated co-location, managed services and 24/7 support, while offering cross-connections to major Tier 1 and Tier 2 network providers connected to the building.

Funds awarded to improve water/wastewater infrastructure
The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) will receive $10 million in U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funds to evaluate new technologies that will help utilities cope with aging and failing water and wastewater systems. Under the cooperative agreement, WERF will administer $6.25 million to address wastewater and stormwater infrastructure research and administer $3.75 million to address aging drinking water systems. These funds will be further leveraged by a 33.3 percent cost share to be provided by the investigators.

Funding for the research is through EPA’s Aging Water Infrastructure Research Program, a research agenda that supports efforts to put the nation’s aging infrastructure on a pathway toward sustainability.

Research efforts will focus on four key areas:

  • condition assessment for water and wastewater conveyance systems;
  • system rehabilitation for water and wastewater conveyance systems;
  • advanced design and engineering concepts; and
  • innovative treatment technologies for wastewater, stormwater, water reuse and drinking water

The research program stems from the EPA’s Sustainable Water Infrastructure Initiative to promote better use of resources, increase the sustainability of our water infrastructure, and reduce the gap between the projected need for infrastructure funds and the actual funding.

EPA projects a funding gap of $220 billion funding over the next 20 years if utilities and municipalities don’t increase their investments in water and wastewater infrastructure. By better pricing and managing water use, as well as by implementing new technologies, that gap may be lessened.

EPA grant for CSS project in Spencer, IA
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $146,000 to Spencer, IA, for ongoing planning and design for a multi-phased combined sewer separation (CSS) project.

EPA Region 7 Acting Regional Administrator William Rice said, “EPA is proud to award these water infrastructure funds which will help to protect water quality and reduce the risk of public exposure to untreated sewage.”

In 2008, the city of Spencer signed a consent order with the EPA to reduce or eliminate its CSSs into the Little Sioux River. The city has retained an engineer to perform planning and design of this project that will meet requirements outlined in the EPA consent order.

MACTEC awarded contract from SFWMD
The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) has retained MACTEC to provide construction management services for a major stormwater project in South Florida. Contract amount is $2.5 million.

MACTEC , based in Alpharetta, GA, is a leading engineering and design, environmental and construction firm.

The South Florida Water Management District is a regional governmental agency that oversees the water resources in the southern half of the state, covering 16 counties from Orlando to the Florida Keys and serving a population of 7.5 million residents. Created in 1949, the agency is responsible for managing and protecting water resources of South Florida by balancing and improving water quality, flood control, natural systems and water supply.

MACTEC will also provide construction inspection, materials testing and verification surveying services for the Lakeside Ranch Stormwater Treatment Area North (STA), located in western Martin and adjacent Okeechobee Counties.

The project (construction costs are approximately $30 million) will encompass 2,700 acres and include a 3-cell STA, distribution/outlet canals and water control structures. It will also include improvements for the L-64 and L-63 canals, including excavating about 5,000 linear feet of canal below the control water elevation, partial reconstruction of more than 4,000 linear feet of the L-64 canal and replacing the culvert/road crossing at County Road 15B (structure S-667).

Rain for Rent performs emergency sewer bypass
A wastewater treatment plant in the Rocky Mountain region required a sewer bypass system that would allow a contractor to replace failing head gates. The nine aging gates which needed to be replaced had been submerged and in use for over 50 years. The project called for a complete bypass from the head works to the clarifiers.

Rain for Rent designed a 67 MGD system consisting of six DV-400 16-inch Power Prime pumps with a standby pump and approximately 4,200 feet of 18-inch HDPE pipe. Upon award, the Rain for Rent team immediately went to work transferring in the pumps and pipe from other branch locations. Rain for Rent was able to save the customer time and money because the pumps and pipe were already located within the region.

The system was installed utilizing six individual lines of the 18-inch HDPE pipe (approx. 700 feet each). Two lines were run to each of the three clarifiers. Due to weight limitations of the catwalks, one line was placed on each catwalk of the clarifiers while the second line was fastened to the outer wall.

The system ran smoothly with no problems for the three-week duration of the project. The customer was impressed with both the Rain for Rent equipment and the crew. The job was completed on time and on budget, winning the confidence of the wastewater treatment plant personnel, and the contractor that replaced the failing gates.

Corrpro receives task order under U.S. Navy contract
Corrpro Companies Inc., a subsidiary of Insituform Technologies Inc., announced that it has received a $3.6 million task order from the United States Navy. This order was received under an existing Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contract valued at up to $8.0 million per year. The U.S. Navy has the option to renew the contract, which expires in September 2010, for up to four years at a value of up to $8 million per year.

The task order requires Corrpro to perform engineering services as well as design and installation of cathodic protection systems, field inspections and surveys in military installations worldwide. It is expected that the majority of the work will be located in the United States, Japan, Korea and the South Pacific Islands. Other locations may include military installations in Western European countries. Corrpro has worked with the U.S. Navy on similar projects for more than 15 years.

As the general contractor, Corrpro will work with several subcontractors, including locally-owned small businesses, minority-owned businesses and women-owned businesses.

Corrpro will begin work on this project immediately and expects to complete this portion of the work by August 2010.

New NUCA officers and board of directors
Earlier this year, National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) members voted unanimously to streamline the association’s board of directors, which now includes 27 contractor and associate member leaders from around the nation and from all segments of the excavation and utility construction industries. NUCA members also unanimously elected and installed the following officers and directors for 2010-2011:

Officers/Executive Committee

Chairman of the Board: Dan East, Reynolds Inc.; Chairman-Elect: Ryan Schmitt, Petticoat-Schmitt Contracting; Vice Chairman: Alex Paris, Alex Paris Contracting Inc.; Treasurer: Jim Barron, Ronkin Construction Inc.; and Secretary: Florentino Gregorio, Anchor Construction Corp. In addition, NUCA CEO Bill Hillman serves as permanent (unelected) Assistant Secretary.

Lane Berg, PipeCon Corp.; Kevin Cripps, Distribution Construction Co.; Virginia DiCristofaro, A.E. Bragger Construction Co. Inc.; Chuck Dimick, Dimick Development Co.; Alan Gravel, Willow Construction Inc.; Richard Harp, Richard Harp Excavation Inc.; Albert Heckmann, Heckmann Sales and Leasing Inc.; Tony James, CNA Insurance; Roger Mohr, John Deere Construction Equipment Co.; Ronald Nunes, R.T. Nunes & Sons Inc.; Chad Reed, Teal Construction Inc.; David Rice, Rice Construction; Jeff Rumer, Underground Infrastructure Technologies; Mark Scoccolo, SCI Infrastructure LLC; Mike Smith, Hydro-Systems Inc.; Keith Steen, P.F. Moon and Company Inc.; Brad Wegner, Midlands Contracting Inc.; Bruce Wendorf, Forsberg Construction Inc.; Andy Wolf, Foley Construction Co.; and Kirk Woodward, Fierro Utility Construction.

Rural broadband access explored
At the center of the federal stimulus broadband funding are conversations to bring broadband Internet connectivity to rural, underserved areas.

Telecompetitor, a telecom industry blog for competitive trends analysis and commentary, launched the Rural Broadband Opportunities webinar series to explore the opportunities available to rural broadband service providers as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Broadband Stimulus Program.

The Broadband Stimulus Program has allocated $7.2 billion for broadband — $4.7 billion through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration and $2.5 billion through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service.

The webinar series will explore three broadband trends – SmartGrid, 4G Wireless and Broadband Apps – important to rural broadband carriers as they finalize their broadband infrastructure strategies.

Expert speakers will include Steve Collier, vice president of business development with Milsoft; Brian Fingerson, president of Mankato Networks; Teresa Mastrangelo, principal analyst with; Steve Senne, CTO of Finley Engineering; and Michael Thelander, founder and CEO of Signals Research Group LLC. For more information or to register for the free series, visit

In Memoriam
William (Bill) George Bruce Gant passed away on Jan. 31, at the age of 82 years. Gant was an honorary member and past president (1963/64 and 1970/71) of the Pipe Line Contractors Association of Canada (PLCAC).

Gant was born in Vancouver on Oct. 20, 1927, and grew up in Medicine Hat, and studied geological engineering at Montana school of mines. His career in oil and gas pipeline construction administration, spanning nearly 30 years, saw him rise from being a timekeeper, to the president of H.C. Price of Canada Ltd., during which time he became recognized as an international authority in winter construction techniques.
Following a year in Alaska as project manager of the Alyeska pipeline project, Gant left the pipeline construction industry in 1975 to join the Loram Group (Mannix), where he held a number of senior management positions. In 1984, Bill became manager of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. Upon his retirement in 1988, he was named an “honorary life member” in recognition of his distinguished service to the Calgary Chamber.

Gant is survived by his three daughters, Patti (Bob Rippon), Sharon and Nancy; his grandson, Marc Rippon; his granddaughters, Jenna (Nicolas Guinoiseau), Caitlin, and Jodi; his sister, Betty.

A funeral service was held at St. Andrew’s United Church. Memorial contributions may be made in Gant’s name to the Rotary Foundation (Canada), or the Rotary Clubs of Calgary Foundation, both c/o the Rotary Club of Calgary, 1202 Centre Street South, Calgary T2G 5M5 or, alternatively, to the charity of the contributor’s choice. Forward condolences through

In living memory of Bill Gant, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McInnis & Holloway Funeral Homes Park Memorial Chapel.