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Back to school for U.S. water infrastructure.

August 2, 2013 Leave a comment

DThe ASCE just gave U.S. water infrastructure a D.

The EPA’s fifth “Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment” report has been released and estimates that $247.5 billion will be needed to repair or replace the nation’s aging transmission and distribution systems. Peter Grevatt, Ph.D., the director of the EPA’s Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, believes that asset management is integral and states that the EPA has been working with utilities to “anticipate where there is going to be a failure rather than waiting to see where the water starts to come out of the ground.”

They are not the only ones to think proactive management is better than reactive repairs. The ASCE 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure states that “determining pipe condition through cost-effective structural assessment will allow worst-condition pipes to be addressed first, avoiding potential failures and associated risks, damages, and costs. These structural condition assessments will also help avoid premature replacement of structurally sound pipes to save resources and time.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

 

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Categories: News, Water Tags: , ,

Happy World Water Day!

March 22, 2013 Leave a comment

2013-03-22 World Water DayMarch 22 is World Water Day. Use today to think about the importance of freshwater and sustainable freshwater resources.

Even better, 2013 is the International Year of Water Cooperation. If you wish to learn more about this prestigious year or learn how you can contribute, visit the UN Water Cooperation website.

In the meantime, celebrate today with a cold, refreshing glass of H2O. Unless you’re in Alberta, where they just got a large dump of snow. Then you may want to heat it up and enjoy it infused with tea.

PICA paper receives a 97% rating at NASTT No-Dig in TN.

June 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Many companies can offer an extensive list of the pros (many) and cons (few) of their technologies. No doubt, they are even true. Personally. I like to see case studies that give more practical information including a description of why the technology was needed, what pipeline or tool adaptations needed to be done to facilitate  using the technology, challenges faced (and hopefully overcome) and what the results were. And case studies usually provide a story-style narrative that makes it a better read than technology specifications.

Chris Garrett (PICA USA) and Ad Shatat (Russell NDE Systems) presented a paper at the NASTT No-Dig this year that scored in the top 1% of papers presented. Titled “NDE Techniques for Water and Wastewater Pipe Condition Assessment”, it offers two case studies:

  • 30 year old 12-in steel water main in Hong Kong
  • 20 year old 24-in ductile iron wastewater line in Missouri

Both lines were in sensitive areas, had fragile liners that could not be damaged and were inspected using PICA’s free-swimming SeeSnake RFT technologies.

To view this highly rated paper, click here. I am looking forward to the sequel.

Drinking Water Week 2012

May 8, 2012 1 comment

Drinking Water Week 2012When it comes to clean, safe drinking water every drop counts. Currently, 86% of Canadian households enjoy their water directly from a municipal water source, having access to 7% of the world’s renewable freshwater while 1 in 7 people worldwide lack for safe drinking water.

Additionally:

  • The water industry is a $400 billion global industry, the third largest behind electricity and oil.
  • We in North America consume 100-175 gallons per day (per person) while Africans use 5 gallons per day (per FAMILY).
  • In developing countries, 80% of diseases are caused by unsanitary water.

May 6-11, 2012 is Drinking Water Week. It’s a good opportunity to remind ourselves how fortunate we are to have easy access to safe drinking water. It is also a good time to renew our commitment to water conservation to ensure we continue to have it for ourselves and our children (and their children…).

There are many resources available online that detail ways individuals, groups, industries and municipalities can save water or stretch their water budgets further. Please set aside some time this week to search some that work for you. To start you off, here is a link to the Alberta WaterPortal’s list of water savvy apps for your smartphone. There are 48 apps listed with apps appropriate for children, adults, students, water professionals and even for the hardcore angler.

[Sources: Stats Canada, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Alberta WaterPortal, Blue Planet Network]

Will smart meters create a water smart public?

March 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Recently, CTV-BC posted an article addressing the public’s concerns regarding their increasing water bills – an increase they felt was an error attributed to their new smart meter that was obviously broken. BC Hydro listed many reasons for the increase including weather and consumption patterns.

Many of the people commenting on the article have taken the “it’s a money grab” perspective on smart metering. Several articles/blogs have been published discussing that perspective and the overall North American sense of entitlement to inexpensive and unlimited drinking water. There is a burden on municipalities and utility operators to change that mindset to justify moving money into budgets for the repair and replacement of their aging water infrastructure. However, for every article pressuring the public to conserve water and contribute their fair share, there is another article explaining that public water consumption is a small drop in the bucket compared to industrial and agricultural usage – one step forward, two steps back.

Yes, there are large water users such as corporations and industries that need to think about how they use water. But large users are managed and operated by individuals so if the water industry can get individuals thinking about water conservation and more importantly, water VALUE, then these individuals can change the behaviours of corporations and industries. And maybe getting the individuals thinking about how they budget their water usage via smart meters may help that process… if only we can get them past the sticker shock.

Until then, utilities will have to keep optimizing their budgets by making good decisions with good information.

Categories: Commentary, Water Tags: ,

Virtual H2O Conference – Feb 21, 2012

February 17, 2012 Leave a comment

One of the exciting things about living in current times is the increasing use of social networking and the online community to connect people both personally and professionally. Websites like LinkedIn allow professionals to meet other industry experts and join groups to share information and ideas. Solutions like Go-To-Meeting allow businesses to connect with their clients or hold internal meetings in a way that can include staff in remote offices without having to incur travel costs.

For the last couple of years, PennWell Corporation has been using the internet to host a “Virtual H2O Conference” each spring and fall. Attendees from the water and wastewater industries can listen to presentations (which earn PDHs) from the comfort of their own offices. This year, the first Virtual H2O Conference is on Feb 21, 2012. It’s free to attend. Click here for a list of 2012 presentations.

Last September, PICA participated in this conference, presenting on “Trends in Actual Wall Thickness for Cast & Ductile Iron Water Mains“. This paper showed the results from over 175km of pipeline (37,000+ pipes!). The presentation, which includes an audio narration, can be accessed by clicking the above link.

So if you wish to attend an industry event but don’t have time to travel to one, this is an interesting alternative.

Dacon and Russell/PICA sign co-operation agreement

December 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Dacon, a manufacturer of ultrasonic in-line inspection tools, and Russell NDE Systems, a manufacturer ofelectromagnetic in-line inspection tools for PICA, have signed a co-operation agreement through which each company may offer the other’s special “smart pigs” for applications that are appropriate.

Dacon toolRecent examples include:

  • Russell will provide one of its “High Lift-Off” RFT tools to inspect three 8-in, schedule 80 pipelines in Thailand. The lines have a cement mortar liner that is impossible for Dacon tools to penetrate. The lines will be cleaned by Dacon, who will also run the sizing pigs through the lines in preparation for the Russell tool.
  • Dacon will inspect a 24-in HDPE line located in New Caledonia for PICA. PICA’s tools can only inspect ferromagnetic lines (cast iron, ductile iron and steel), but the Dacon tool can inspect any material, except  HDPE liner in a steel pipe. In that case, the Dacon tool would be used to precisely measure the thickness of the liner and the Russell or PICA tool would be used to inspect the steel pipe. 

The ability for PICA, Russell and Dacon to share their tools and provide the best solution for individual applications in the water, waste water, mining, slurry and oil, and gas pipeline industries provides a more extensive solution set for our customers.