Thursday, April 28, 2011

Quick Stormwater Calculators

If you need to do some quick calculations and need to understand how stormwater is going to impact your project, you may want to check out these stormwater calculators.  

Predictive models and stormwater calculators on the EPA website

The UC Davis Stormulator

Green Values National Stormwater Calculator

Portland Bureau of Environmental Services

Of course you will want to have an engineer review your site and confirm your calculations.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

US Government releases report detailing climate change impacts on water resources

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today released a report that assesses climate change risks and how these risks could impact water operations, hydropower, flood control, and fish and wildlife in the western United States. The report to Congress, prepared by Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, represents the first consistent and coordinated assessment of risks to future water supplies across eight major Reclamation river basins, including the Colorado, Rio Grande and Missouri river basins.
“Water is the lifeblood of our communities, rural and urban economies, and our environment,” said Secretary Salazar, “and small changes in water supplies or the timing of precipitation can have a big impact on all of us. This report provides the foundation for understanding the long-term impacts of climate change on Western water supplies and will help us identify and implement appropriate mitigation and adaptation strategies for sustainable water resource management.”
The report, which responds to requirements under the SECURE Water Act of 2009, shows several increased risks to western United States water resources during the 21st century. Specific projections include:
  • a temperature increase of 5-7 degrees Fahrenheit;
  • a precipitation increase over the northwestern and north-central portions of the western United States and a decrease over the southwestern and south-central areas;
  • a decrease for almost all of the April 1st snowpack, a standard benchmark measurement used to project river basin runoff; and
  • an 8 to 20 percent decrease in average annual stream flow in several river basins, including the Colorado, the Rio Grande, and the San Joaquin.
The report notes that projected changes in temperature and precipitation are likely to impact the timing and quantity of stream flows in all western basins, which could impact water available to farms and cities, hydropower generation, fish and wildlife, and other uses such as recreation.
"Impacts to water are on the leading edge of global climate change, and these changes pose a significant challenge and risk to adequate water supplies, which are critical for the health, economy, and ecology of the United States," added Reclamation Commissioner Mike Connor.Reclamation is already working with stakeholders across the West to achieve a sustainable water strategy to meet our nation's water needs. Through the WaterSMART Basin Studies Program, Reclamation is developing and evaluating options for meeting future water demands in river basins where water supply and demand imbalances exist or are projected.

Reclamation is also continuing to implement actions to mitigate and adapt to changing climate. For example, at Hoover Dam, new wide head range turbines are being installed that will allow more efficient power generation over a wider range of lake levels than existing turbines. In addition, through the WaterSMART program, Reclamation continues to work with water users across the West to implement conservation and recycling measures and promote the efficient use of finite water resources. The Department of the Interior has also established Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and Climate Science Centers to help assess vulnerabilities to the natural and cultural resources management by the Department, and spearhead activities to adapt to the stresses of climate change.
“The WaterSMART program provides a strong foundation for the Department’s efforts to improve water conservation and help water-resource managers make sound decisions about water use,” said Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science, Anne Castle. “As climate change adds to the challenges we face in managing our water supply, meaningful engagement between the River Basin states and the Department of the Interior will continue to be essential.”
To develop the report, Reclamation used original research and a literature synthesis of existing peer-reviewed studies. Projections of future temperature and precipitation are based on multiple climate models and various projections of future greenhouse gas emissions, technological advancements, and global population estimates. Reclamation will develop future reports to Congress under the authorities of the SECURE Water Act that will build upon the level of information currently available and the rapidly developing science to address how changes in supply and demands will impact water management.
The Bureau of Reclamation is the largest wholesaler of water in the country, providing water to more than 31 million people and to one out of five Western farmers for irrigation of more than 10 million acres of farmland. Reclamation is also the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the western United States with 58 power plants generating nearly a billion dollars in power revenues and producing enough electricity to serve 3.5 million homes.
The SECURE Water Act Report, with fact sheets highlighting climate challenges and impacts in the eight western river basins, is available online at
More information about Reclamation’s WaterSMART program is available at

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TerreKleen Low Impact Development Protector

Putting in a rain garden?  Worried about sediment, trash, debris, or oils getting into and blinding your rain garden?  Perhaps you would consider installing our newest product, the TerreKleen LID Protector. 

The TerreKleen LID protector was designed in response to concerns of several of our large city clients who are installing rain gardens.  Their concerns include: cost, ease of maintenance, sediment, debris, and oils getting into their rain gardens, blinding the rain gardens and killing the plants.  In response to concerns about budget and lack of manpower, the TerreKleen LID protector was designed.

This small vault system was designed to capture sediment, trash, debris, and oils, and as a shallow vault, a central maintenance location makes makes $en$e and can easily be performed with a shovel.
TerreKleen LID Protector

Lengthen the life of your rain garden!  If you are interested in learning more about the TerreKleen LID protector, give us a call!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

EPA Asks for public comment on new proposed permit for stormwater runoff from construction activities

If you have an opinion about the new EPA proposed permit for stormwater runoff, please contact the EPA.  Here is a fact sheet regarding the new proposed permit including instructions on how to comment.  If you do have a comment, better get on it soon as there is a 60 day time limitation from the publish date in the Federal Register and I am not totally sure when that was.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

TerreKleen hydrodynamic separator installed at Eastchester DPW Yard - TK27

All of the action started at about 
9:00 AM yesterday morning 
at the Eastchester, NY DPW yard.  Here is the 
TerreKleen ready for installation.

The hole where the TerreKleen is being
 installed is already prepared.

This is the base which installed quickly.
The white pipes and red hose
are the manifold system.  Confined Space
Entry is NOT required on the TerreKleen.  This
will mean a significant short and long term
cost savings.

This is the mid-section.  Tight installation
since the TerreKleen had to fit right up
against the outlet pipe.  The left
side of the unit is the primary chamber
where large sediments, trash and oil
will be contained.  The plates on
the right side of this picture shows
the stacked inclined plates where
small sediments will settle out.

The riser is on in no time.

The top stacks in no time.
Total installation time:  approximately 1 hour.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Cost of Nitrogen Pollution on the European Economy

A first ever report (ENA - European Nitrogen Assessment) was just released outlining the cost of nitrogen pollution on the European Union's Economy.  

The study carried out by 200 experts from 21 countries and 89 organizations estimates that nitrogen pollution costs Europe between USD 101 Billion - 461.7 Billion per year or USD 212.00 and USD 1,062.00 per person per annum.   These costs are more than double the income gained from using nitrogen fertilizers in European agriculture.

The report also details a number of key assessments of nitrogen pollution including: 
Nitrates cause toxic algal blooms and dead zones especially in the North, Adriatic and Baltic Seas and along the West Coast of France in Brittany.
at least ten million people in Europe are potentially exposed to drinking water with nitrate levels above recommended levels.

The study also states that at least half the world's population is dependent on food that is grown with nitrogen based fertilizers but that the environmental costs of nitrogen pollution to Europe are very high and that the benefits of nitrogen abatement achieved by applying and using fertilizers more efficiently and reducing meat consumption outweigh the costs of other options.

Click here for the full report

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - it is time to think of roof runoff as an asset. Discounted Rainbarrel Program - sponsored by Aquarion, Connecticut

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - it is time to think of roof runoff as an asset.

I was just looking at the USGS seasonal drought predictions.  It is eye opening to look at the map of the US and notice the large red and yellow sections which anticipate drought conditions persisting and intensifying in a large part of the south - through June.  

We, in the Northeast, are very lucky to have had a lot of snow this winter and it seems right now we are in a good position with our water resources for the next several months.  However, we really do not know what is ahead.  Why not take this opportunity to maximize your water resources by investing in a rain barrel for your home?

Aquarion Water is sponsoring again this year a discount rainbarrel program.  The rain barrels are designed to hold 55 or 60 gallons of water, they attach directly to your down-spout and fill automatically when it rains.  They even come with brass attachments, a hose and a screen which prevents insects from making your rainbarrel their home.

Captured rain can be used for lawn watering and car washing or other outdoor chores.  It really is baffling to understand why one would need treated water for these activities.  In fact, I think my garden grows better with roof runoff!

Here is the link to Aquarion's rainbarrel program
You must order by May 31st for pick-up in Trumbull, CT on June 4th.

Monday, April 11, 2011

It is time for smart water

I was listening to WNPR radio show "Fresh Air" this morning and heard Terri Gross' interview of Charles Fishman the author of a new book called The Big Thirst, The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water.  I had to agree with Mr. Fishman's point of view that the golden age of water  (defined as: cheap, abundant and safe water)  is coming to an end here in the US and that it is time to get creative on ways to save and re-use this limited natural resource as well as take a fresh look at ways to maximize our water resources for the future.  

Especially interesting to me were several examples of US cities and industry who have focused on stretching their water resources:

1- City of Las Vegas, NV - Homeowners are incentivized to remove their turf lawns to the tune of $40,000/acre because it is cheaper to pay the homeowner to remove their lawn and re-plant using xeriscaping (native plants that use minimal water resources)  than it is to capture and treat for re-use water that would be used for lawn watering in a city that was built in a dessert.

2- Orlando, FL - 25 years ago, Orlando, Florida mandated a that gray water systems be installed in new construction.  Orlando uses almost as much gray water as potable water, but have not had to pay to treat the gray water that is used for lawn watering and car washing.

3- IBM Corporation - Vermont.  Over the past 10 years, IBM evaluated their factory building and costs associated with heating/air conditioning systems.  After careful study, they re-plumbed their building to maximize the efficiency of their manufacturing process by coordinating the needs of the building and manufacturing processes with change in water temperatures as the water flows through the building.  The money they have saved by re-plumbing their building adds to their ability for their products to be competitive. 

It is time to take a fresh look at how we do things so that we can maximize our water resources.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Superbug (NDM-1) spreads in Delhi sewers

Scary!  Just when you thought it wasn't safe to go in the water!  A report published yesterday warns of a newly discovered bacterial resistant gene (NDM-1) has been found in drinking water, sewers and puddles in Delhi, India.  This new superbug invades other bacteria including cholera and dysentery and can readily jump to other bacteria.  Last ditch anti-biotic treatments will not work against bacteria with the NDM-1 gene.  

Honestly, the implications of this are pretty SCARY.  It seems a number of patients from UK that sought medical treatment in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan returned with this superbug.

Click here for the full report

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Blue Book GC Showcase - Bridgeport, April 14, 2011 - networking event

I am a big fan of the Blue Book GC Showcase events.  It is really a great opportunity
to network with other construction companies.   The next event coming up in CT is:

Thursday, April 14th, 2011
Time: 4-7 PM
Location: Bridgeport City Hall Annex Building
999 Broad Street, 1st Floor
Bridgeport, CT 06604

If you are going to attend, YOU NEED TO REGISTER.  Here is the link to BlueBook.  
There is probably a networking event near you!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Current stormwater projects and applications

Was thinking back over the past year and about the projects that we have worked on and what is ahead.  Just thought this was interesting to consider what types of projects we work on, their diversity and why our clients choose our systems.  These were just a few that came to mind.

TerreKleen - hydrodynamic separator
Probably one of the most unique projects we worked on was for a condo complex in New York.  This client needed a hydrodynamic separator to be installed in their existing parking structure.  Since there was no room for a crane, we built the whole unit from marine grade aluminum and put it in place.  Since this condo complex was located in an urban area, they really were concerned about losing parking availability.  Our unit fit in nicely into their parking garage and at the most, they only lost 1 parking spot.  (I believe if one drove a very small car they could still fit in the spot)
TerreKleen offers a lot of flexibility.  We design to meet the goals of your project (you do not need to design your project to meet the goals of the TerreKleen)

TerreBox - stormwater detention / rain harvesting system
One project that we are currently working on is for a University.  They are going to be re-developing part of their campus and in going for LEED Gold, they are planning the installation of a geo-thermal heating system as well as and capturing all roof runoff for re-use.  The TerreBox is a natural solution in this application.  

  1. TerreBox is a modular system, so the client can easily design the storage they need.  
  2. As a system that installs quickly and is HS-25 load rated, TerreBox is well suited for a site where large infrastructure/major buildings are going up.
  3. Work on the rest of the site will be able to continue with minimal interruption.  
  4. TerreBox offers a patented water-tight seal.  This will prevent the roof runoff from contaminating the geo-thermal system.
TerreArch - stormwater infiltration - patented stormwater arch system
A major portion of projects we see need infiltration.  Another school project that we are working on is re-developing their parking lots.  Part of their plans include the installation of two infiltration bays.  Our systems will fit well in this application because:
  1. Our systems arrive on-site as HS-25 load rated.  They are not dependent on work crews to achieve the HS-25 load rating.  They are built to easily handle the bus, truck, car traffic at a busy school facility.
  2. TerreArch arrives just in time - there is no need for storage, staging, re-staging and there are no small parts to put together, break or lose.
  3. TerreArch installs quickly - the contractor can install, backfill and cover up to 50,000 cubic feet of stormwater storage in one day.  Work on the rest of the site can continue with minimal interruption.
  4. Available as 26" or 48" arches, it is easy to design and install these systems.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Westchester County Engineering Expo 2011- SUCCESS

Sunday, April 3, 2011, we participated in the 8th Annual Lower Hudson Valley Engineering Expo.  This expo was designed to show middle and high school students what a career in engineering can be.  The expo took place at White Plains High School in White Plains, NY.

We had many different engineering disciplines represented - chemical, solar, civil, stormwater, marine, motion picture, structural, computer, municipal, and more.  In addition, we have numerous college and universities represented to discuss with students and their parents college engineering programs.

It was a great opportunity to learn about careers in engineering!  Stand by for 2012 details!

This is one of the gyms at White Plains HS

Second gym at White Plains High School