WaterWorks News: Water shortages, EPA proposes drinking water rule, RAMSCO buys Jones Water Supply

U.S. counties face water shortages due to climate change
EPA proposes updating drinking water rule to better protect public health
Waterworks firm RAMSCO buys Binghamton rival
Using gravity to help solve the global water crisis

EPA approves Iowa’s list of impaired waters
New Jersey invests in clean water, environmental projects
Ameron Water Transmission Group completes “Pipeline Project of the Year”

U.S. counties face water shortages due to climate change
More than 1,100 U.S. counties — a full one-third of all counties in the lower 48 states — now face higher risks of water shortages by mid-century as the result of global warming. In addition, more than 400 of these counties will be at extremely high risk for water shortages, based on estimates from a new report by Tetra Tech for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The report uses publicly available water use data across the United States and climate projections from a set of models used in recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) work to evaluate withdrawals related to renewable water supply. The report finds that 14 states face an extreme or high risk to water sustainability, or are likely to see limitations on water availability as demand exceeds supply by 2050. These areas include parts of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. In particular, in the Great Plains and Southwest United States, water sustainability is at extreme risk.

The more than 400 counties identified as being at greatest risk in the report reflects a 14-times increase from previous estimates. For a look at county- and state-specific maps detailing the report findings (including a Google Earth map), go to www.nrdc.org/globalWarming/watersustainability and rd.tetratech.com/climatechange/projects/nrdc_climate.asp.

While detailed modeling of climate change impacts on crop production was beyond the scope of the Tetra Tech analysis, the potential scale of disruption reflected is based on the value of the crops produced in the 1,100 at-risk counties. In 2007, the value of the crops produced in the at-risk counties identified in the report exceeded $105 billion. A separate study compared the Tetra Tech data with county-level crop production data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture; state-specific fact sheets outlining the potential agricultural impacts may be found at agcarbonmarkets.com/Science.htm.

Dan Lashof, director of the Climate Center at NRDC, said: “This analysis shows climate change will take a serious toll on water supplies throughout the country in the coming decades, with over one out of three U.S. counties facing greater risks of water shortages. Water shortages can strangle economic development and agricultural production and affected communities. As a result, cities and states will bear real and significant costs if Congress fails to take the steps necessary to slow down and reverse the warming trend. Water management and climate change adaptation plans will be essential to lessen the impacts, but they cannot be expected to counter the effects of a warming climate. The only way to truly manage the risks exposed by this report is for Congress to pass meaningful legislation that cuts global warming pollution and allows the U.S. to exercise global leadership on the issue.”

Sujoy Roy, principal engineer and lead report author, Tetra Tech, said: “The goal of the analysis is to identify regions where potential stresses, and the need to do something about them, may be the greatest. We used publicly available data on current water withdrawals for different sectors of the economy, such as irrigation, cooling for power generation, and municipal supply, and estimated future demands using business-as-usual scenarios of growth. We then compared these future withdrawals to a measure of renewable water supply in 2050, based on a set of 16 global climate model projections of temperature and precipitation, to identify regions that may be stressed by water availability. These future stresses are related to changes in precipitation as well as the likelihood of increased demand in some regions.”

Water withdrawal will grow by 25 percent in many areas of the U.S. including the arid Arizona/New Mexico area, the populated areas in the South Atlantic region, Florida, the Mississippi River basin, and Washington, D.C. and surrounding regions.

Estimated water withdrawal as a percentage of available precipitation is generally less than 5 percent for the majority of the Eastern United States, and less than 30 percent for the majority of the Western United States. But in some arid regions (such as Texas, the Southwest and California) and agricultural areas, water withdrawal is greater than 100 percent of the available precipitation. In other words, in many places, water is already used in quantities that exceed supply.

A summary of the report and related links are available at www.nrdc.org/globalWarming/watersustainability/.

EPA proposes updating drinking water rule to better protect public health
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to revise a national primary drinking water regulation to achieve greater public health protection against waterborne pathogens in the distribution systems of public water systems. Waterborne pathogens can cause a variety of illnesses with symptoms such as acute abdominal discomfort or in more extreme cases, kidney failure, hepatitis or chronic concerns.

EPA is proposing to revise the 1989 Total Coliform Rule to incorporate improvements recommended by a federal advisory committee that included representatives from a broad range of stakeholder groups, including public health and public interest groups, environmental groups, state drinking water agencies and drinking water utilities. EPA used a transparent, collaborative process with stakeholders to help make this regulation more effective.

The revised rule will better protect people from potential exposure to dangerous microbes because it requires water systems to take action when monitoring results indicate that contamination or a pathway to contamination may be present. Water utilities are required to regularly monitor for microbial contamination in the distribution system. Although microbes detected in monitoring are not necessarily pathogens themselves, the detection can indicate that there is a pathway that would allow pathogens to enter the system, such as a water main break or an opening in a storage tank. Under the proposed rule, when monitoring results are positive, systems must find and fix any pathways leading to microbial risk.

The proposal also provides incentives for better system operation by improving the criteria for public water systems to qualify for and stay on reduced monitoring, which provides an opportunity to reduce system burden. In addition, the proposed rule updates conditions that will trigger public notices to better represent the relative health threat identified. It also makes the wording required in these public notices more clear. These changes increase consumer confidence in the safety of their water and understanding of the risks when contamination occurs.

More information about the proposed rule: www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/tcr/index.html.

Waterworks firm RAMSCO buys Binghamton rival
Rexford Albany Municipal Supply Co., a leading provider of quality water, sanitary and storm sewer materials, announced that it has acquired Jones Water Supply Inc., based in Binghamton, NY. Jones Water Supply is a recognized leading supplier to the water and sewer industry servicing New York’s southern tier as well as Northeast Pennsylvania.

Jones Water Supply has been operating for over 40 years and has established a solid reputation for providing excellent customer service through its products and associated services. Jones Water Supply employs a staff of 10.

James Beaudoin, president and CEO of RAMSCO, said that it made more sense to buy out a competitor than to open a shop in Binghamton.

The Binghamton operation will be called Jones Water Supply, a division of RAMSCO.

Using gravity to help solve the global water crisis
Gravitational Energy Corporation (GEC) introduces the Feltenberger Pendulum, a Gravity Assisted Power (GAP) machine. This unique hand-operated machine uses the force of gravity to help provide the power needed to operate various types of machinery. This versatile GAP machine can be applied to the generation of electricity, drilling of wells, desalinization/filtration of water and so much more.

For its first application, GEC is introducing an easy-to-use, hand-operated water pump and filtration system that needs no fuel or electricity, making it indispensible in the wake of natural disasters and struggling third world countries. In May of 2010, the first production model was sent to earthquake stricken Haiti.

“We donated the pump with an Aquathin filtration unit to One-Life Missions Foundation.” says Art Drentlau, senior vice president. “We were deeply moved by the images on TV and knew that our product could help thousands of people in need of safe drinking water.”

Bob Thompson, president of the One-Life Missions Foundation says, “We use the pump for three hours a day, and this provides enough drinking water for approximately 4,000 people. We hope to further leverage the power of this system by hooking up with our other NGO partners in Haiti to help thousands more.”

The pendulum pump has four settings that adjust the volume and/or pressure of the water being pumped. “We can pump high volumes at low pressure or lower volumes of water at high pressure,” says Matthew Butrick, chief engineer. “This higher pressure setting allows our pump to further purify water using a reverse osmosis filter system.”
The optional water filtration system supplied with the pendulum pump is manufactured by Aquathin Corp. This unique filter system known as AquaShield contains a patented anti-microbial membrane that kills harmful bacteria and viruses in the water without the need of costly chemical dosing systems or UV radiation.

To learn more about this new technology, contact Art Drentlau at (330) 414-3835 or visit www.gravityassistedpower.com.

EPA approves Iowa’s list of impaired waters
EPA has approved Iowa’s 2008 list of impaired waters. This decision will help the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) set priorities for restoration activities to improve water quality in the coming years.

With this action, EPA is approving Iowa’s decision to include 183 waters and remove 54 waters from the impaired waters list, bringing the total number of impaired waters in the state to 434.

EPA’s Aug. 3 decision letter provides a more detailed description of EPA’s review and the basis for this action. The decision letter, including the 2008 impaired waters list, is available at epa.gov/region07/news_events/legal.

New Jersey invests in clean water, environmental projects
In a news release issued by the New Jersey Assembly Republicans, New Jersey Governor Christie signed into law two bills aimed at assisting public authorities in their efforts to maintain and improve their clean water and drinking water infrastructures.

Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, R-Essex, Morris, Somerset and Union, co-sponsored both bills that appropriate and authorize over $800 million in low-interest financing that will be available to ensure that projects identified on New Jersey’s Clean Water Project Priority List and Drinking Water Priority List are completed.
Under the new law, the New Jersey Environmental Trust is empowered to make loans to the sponsors of over 180 environmental infrastructure projects as well as 13 clean water and four drinking water ventures.
The financing, administered through the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Financing Program, will make available approximately $549 million for clean water project loans and $272 million for drinking water project loans, with the federal government picking up at least half of the cost.

The loan program has historically saved project sponsors anywhere from 25 to 30 percent in financing costs.

The infrastructure projects also will create hundreds of jobs throughout the state.
More than 75 applications from cities, towns, counties, authorities, utilities and private associations already are being considered this year for much-needed money for clean water and drinking water infrastructure projects, in a program that dates to the 1980s and has previously financed 749 projects totaling almost $5 billion.

Ameron Water Transmission Group completes “Pipeline Project of the Year”
The Ameron International Corporation’s Water Transmission Group received the Steel Tank Institute-Steel Plate Fabricators Association’s 2009 Pipeline Project of the Year Award. The 144-inch inside diameter Arrowhead Tunnel Project, which for more than a decade, was subject to delays due to extremely difficult tunneling and ground water conditions, was completed in late 2009.

The Arrowhead Tunnel System which is now in service is capable of doubling the water delivery capacity (up to 650 mg/d) from the east branch of the California State Aqueduct to Southern California (the Colorado River Aqueduct and Diamond Valley Lake), bringing much needed water to a part of the state where it has historically been in short supply.

Specified as a two-pass tunnel lining system, the project called for a dual containment tunnel lining structure with the annular space between the two liners grouted with cement mortar. The initial outer liner is a precast reinforced concrete segmental tunnel designed to withstand all ground loads and water infiltration during construction.

For the final inner liner, Ameron manufactured a rigid-wall composite steel and concrete pipe that was designed to withstand external heads of up to 1,200 feet (520 psi), a maximum internal pressure of 80 psi and tunnel depths that ranged from 800 to 1,590 feet beneath the San Bernardino Mountains. Since the tunnel system is constructed in the middle of several fault lines, the design criteria required the 144-inch diameter tunnel liners to survive an earthquake of up to 8.0 magnitudes. It is believed that this project is unique due to its large 12-foot diameter and exposure to 1,200 feet of external pressure.

Before a single pipe section of the rigid-wall composite steel and concrete tunnel liner was installed, Ameron worked closely with the Metropolitan Water District’s engineers and conducted more than eight months of critical testing and analysis, which included:

• Assessment of the best available sources of course and fine aggregates;
• Creep and shrinkage testing conducted concurrently with compressive strength and modulus tests;
• Additional project specific long-term concrete and creep testing;
• Structural analyses of the composite wall, with various preliminary reinforcement schemes; and
• Load deflection tests on two test pipe sections, manufactured with the final proposed reinforcement, to verify the composite wall designs. This was done to ensure the pipe would not be compromised during handling and installation.

During manufacturing of the liner, the steel cylinders were hydrostatically tested and the weld seams were radiographically tested to ensure the water-tightness of the composite-wall liner. The joint welds required to seal the composite steel and concrete tunnel liner inside the tunnel were tested in conformance with the ASME pressure vessel code.

Further hydrostatic testing was conducted after the installation was completed as a final quality check before the tunnels were put into service.

It took nearly 10 years, and more than 2,500 pieces of the 144-inch diameter composite-liner pipe, to complete the East and West tunnels. The lengths of the east and west tunnels total approximately 30,000 and 20,000 feet long, respectively. They are now an integral part of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s critical Inland Feeder pipeline.

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