September Newsline: PA invests in water; US-Mexico sewage scuffle; heavy equipment theme park opens

Pennsylvania invests in 33 county water infrastructure projects
U.S., Mexico argue over sewage spill cleanup
New work to resume on Witchita water project
Stormwater model to inform regulators on future development projects

Georgia city to issue $50 million in bonds for upgrades Web exclusive!
Dig This: heavy equipment theme park opens Web exclusive!
INGAA responds to report on reliance of natural gas for electricity
Publication highlights water reuse and desalination issues Web exclusive!
Veolia selected to manage city’s water system Web exclusive!
In Memoriam

Pennsylvania invests in 33 county water infrastructure projects
Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell has announced the investment of $129 million in 41 drinking water and wastewater projects serving communities in 33 counties.
Of the $129 million total, $101 million is for low-interest loans and $28 million is offered as grants from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, known as PENNVEST.

The awards range from a $213,000 loan to construct a manure storage facility in Lancaster County that will reduce nutrient runoff into the Chesapeake Bay watershed, to a $13 million loan that will be used to construct water collection and retention facilities to eliminate the overloading of a wastewater treatment plant in Butler County that results in raw sewage running into nearby creeks.

Funds for the projects will be disbursed after bills for work are paid and receipts are submitted to PENNVEST.

For a list of projects funded by county, visit

U.S., Mexico argue over sewage spill cleanup
Agencies continue to shirk responsibility for a sewage spill near the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego, CA. In June, over 2.1 million gallons of Mexican sewage leaked into the Tijuana River Valley following a breakdown at several U.S. waste treatment facilities. Agencies have responded by dodging responsibility because of jurisdictional questions.

The incident ranks as one of the county’s largest sewage-related accidents in the past decade, and one that likely would prompt hundreds of thousands of dollars in penalties if it were caused by a local agency.

The sewage discharge originated in Mexico, where an estimated 5 million gallons of sewage were released June 2 and 3 and then funneled to the United States through Smuggler’s Gulch. Evidently the pumps couldn’t keep up, so the sewage ran into the Tijuana River Valley.

The boundary commission did take required steps to notify local agencies about the sewage spill in a report but they made no attempt to recapture the liquid. And in addition to no clean-up, there will be no real enforcement action either. The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board says they don’t have jurisdiction.

Other regulators argue that even though the source is south of the border, it is bypassing U.S. taxpayer-funded infrastructure that was designed to capture that flow.

New work to resume on Witchita water project
As reported in the Witchita Business Journal, work on the city of Wichita’s Aquifer Storage and Recovery project is ramping back up after construction was halted in March with the discovery of a financial shortfall in the city’s water department.
The Wichita City Council in June entered into an agreement with Westar Energy Inc. for a $5.8 million job to provide the second phase of the ASR project the power supply it needs.

The ASR project is designed to take water from the Little Arkansas River, treat it and pump it into the Equus Bed aquifer. It’s a four-phase project expected to provide the city with an adequate water supply through 2050. Construction on the ASR is in its second phase, which includes building the treatment plant and pipelines that will ultimately collect the water for storage as drinking water for the city.
Tom Jacobs, senior program manager for the project at R.W. Beck, the Seattle-based consulting firm that’s helped manage the project since 2007, says the next project to come out will be for some of the pipeline work. That, along with Westar getting power to the treatment station, is crucial to meeting the goal of finishing Phase II by the spring of 2012.

Richard Good, director of distribution and substations for Westar, says the company will be building two substations and four miles of new transmission lines to the treatment station near Bentley, KS.

And, he says, local contractors could see some work because of the project.
Westar plans to have the work done by March 2011. Jacobs hoped to have the substations running by the end of 2010.

However, like most of the work on the ASR project, things slowed this year as the city wrestled with the financial problems in the water department.

The city council in June approved an option that would increase rates to build the $275 million second phase to its originally planned capacity of 30 million gallons of water a day.

John Mitchell, a project manager with the company that is overseeing construction on Phase II, ABC Partners, says his group worked closely with the city during its review process and that the delay won’t hold up the final result.

ABC Partners is a joint project between CAS Construction LLC in Topeka, Burns & McDonnell Inc. in Kansas City, KS, and Alberici Enterprises in St. Louis, MO.

Stormwater model to inform regulators on future development projects
North Carolina State University researchers have developed a computer model that will accurately predict stormwater pollution impacts from proposed real-estate developments — allowing regulators to make informed decisions about which development projects can be approved without endangering water quality. The model could serve as a blueprint for similar efforts across the country.

“The model is designed to evaluate the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus found in stormwater runoff from residential and commercial developments — particularly runoff from a completed project, not a site that is under construction,” says Dr. Bill Hunt, an associate professor and extension specialist of biological and agricultural engineering at NC State who helped develop the model. “To comply with regional water-quality regulations, cities and counties have to account for nutrient loads,” Hunt says, “but the existing tools are antiquated and aren’t giving us sufficiently accurate data.”

The researchers developed the model using chemical, physical and land-use data specific to North Carolina and surrounding states. This allowed them to account for regional conditions, which will improve the model’s accuracy. “Because the model uses regional data, it could be modified easily for use east of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina and adjoining states,” Hunt says.

State and local government officials, as well as developers, can plug proposed development plans into the model and get an accurate estimate of the level of nutrients that would likely be included in stormwater runoff from the completed development site. This would give officials key data that they can use to determine whether a proposed development project should be allowed to move forward or require additional stormwater treatment.

Georgia city to issue $50 million in bonds for upgrades Web exclusive!
In Georgia, the Macon Water Authority (MWA) has approved the refinancing of $14.2 million in bonds and the eventual sale of $50 million more. The new bonds will pay for a long list of improvements to the authority’s water distribution system, sewers, replacement of a sewer line that collapsed under the Macon levee last year, and more.

Among the projects the new bonds will finance are an estimated $17.2 million in water system improvements and $32.5 million in sewer system and sewage treatment improvements.

Dig This: heavy equipment theme park opens Web exclusive!
For those who only dream of operating heavy equipment, there is now a theme park — Dig This Heavy Equipment Theme Park — located near Steamboat Springs, CO. The park offers full-day and half-day adventures for the public as well as corporate bookings. Groups are limited up to 12 participants.

Dig This is on a 10-acre site with hills, valleys and views of the Yampa Valley. Under the supervision of Dig This instructors, visitors can doze and excavate dams and ponds, and move and remove sand, gravel, rock and other materials from their own individual work area. For more information, visit

INGAA responds to report on reliance of natural gas for electricity
The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) announced recently that while in concept, they support several aspects of a recent study released by the Aspen Environmental Group, key elements of the report go too far.

In a statement released by Donald Santa, president of INGAA, he credits the
Aspen Environmental Group for raising valid issues in connection with greater reliance on natural gas for electric power generation in a report prepared for the American Public Power Association highlights.

However, he disagrees with the report’s “extraordinarily unrealistic scenario in which all existing coal-fired electric generators are retired and replaced by gas-fired generators.”

Santa believes this view detracts from a discussion of the choices by “natural gas and electric power industries, policymakers and consumers as the United States makes the transition to a lower-carbon energy economy. When expectations about the growth in natural gas demand for electric generation are scaled back to reasonable levels, it is clear that there both is adequate natural gas supply and an ability to expand natural gas infrastructure on a cost competitive basis.

“This was demonstrated in the high electric load growth scenario that was among three cases examined in the 2009 ICF International report, Natural Gas Pipeline and Storage Infrastructure Projections Through 2030, prepared for The INGAA Foundation, which is referenced extensively in the Aspen report,” stated Santa.

For policymaker, industry and consumers to make informed choices, Santa believes it is important that the costs and challenges of greater reliance on natural gas for electric power generation be evaluated in comparison to costs and challenges of other options for meeting the energy and environmental policy goals being established by the Congress and regulators.

Publication highlights water reuse and desalination issues Web exclusive!
The Water Environment Federation (WEF), WateReuse Association (WRA) and the WateReuse Research Foundation (WRRF) recently announced the launch of a new trade and professional journal, World Water: Water Reuse & Desalination. The collaborative journal, designed to address the growing informational, technical and operational needs of global water reuse and desalination professionals, will be unveiled at WateReuse’s 25th Annual Symposium this September in Washington, DC. The initial issue will be launched at WEF’s 2010 Annual Meeting, WEFTEC 2010, in October.

The new journal initially will be published on a quarterly basis in both print and electronic formats. Plans call for the expansion to six annual print and electronic issues by the end of 2011, with translation into Chinese and Arabic to follow. Also planned is a companion, peer-reviewed journal that will be aimed towards academics, engineering students and the technical reuse and desalination communities.

The editorial content of the publication will reflect the global outlook, knowledge and technical expertise of water supply solutions unique to the growing area of reuse and desalination. Also included are potable water and industry reuse issues; seawater desalination; water quality issues in reuse and desalination processes; and the financial, policy, and public acceptance aspects of water reuse and desalination.

Veolia selected to manage city’s water system Web exclusive!
The city of Buffalo, NY, has selected Veolia Water North America to manage and operate the city’s water system under a 10-year public-private partnership that will serve approximately 280,000 people.

Valued at approximately $53 million, the contract includes managing, operating and maintaining the city’s water treatment facilities and distribution system, as well as all customer service components. Buffalo’s water distribution system includes a 160 million-gallons-per-day water treatment facility, 785 miles of pipe, more than 12,000 valves and 7,430 fire hydrants.

Veolia Water will manage approximately 117 city of Buffalo employees who will remain city employees. The city will continue to own all water assets and maintain rate-setting authority.

Included in Veolia’s plans are improvements in Call Center operations, investment in customer service software, the creation of a new Underground Asset Management program, and development of a new comprehensive maintenance program to drive a higher level of service to residents.

In Memoriam
Joseph G. Fabick died at his home in Elm Grove, WI, on July 22 at the age of 82. Fabick was the founder of FABCO Equipment Inc, the Caterpillar dealer for Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. He served as president and chief executive officer of the company from its inception in 1982 until his retirement in 2002 when his son, Jere C. Fabick, acquired principal ownership of the business.

A native of Missouri, Fabick grew up on and around Caterpillar machines. His father was a tractor dealer in St. Louis, which later evolved to become the first Caterpillar dealerships in the world when the Caterpillar Tractor Company began operation in 1925. Fabick spent summers as a dozer and scraper operator and after graduating from high school, he joined the family dealership full time. Years later after marrying and beginning a family, Fabick earned his college degree from St. Louis University.

Fabick and his wife, Gloria, were married 47 years marriage before her passing in 1996. They raised three daughters and five sons.

Expressions of sympathy may be made in Fabick’s memory to Wings of Hope Inc. ( 18590 Edison Ave., Chesterfield. MO 63005.

C.S. “Buddy” Hardwick, Jr. passed away July 22 in Florida. Hardwick was senior vice president of Price Gregory International Inc. and was a member of the Pipe Line Contractors Association board of directors in 1996.

Hardwick graduated from Louisiana Tech with a degree in engineering in 1968 and served as a pilot for the U.S. Navy from 1968-1971. He began a career in the oil and gas industry in 1971.

Hardwick is survived by his wife, Cookie, of 42 years; son Jason (Kelly); daughter Susan (Ryan); sister Nell; and five grandchildren.