Water Archives - Infrastructure Digest

MWRD, Denmark sign MOU to share knowledge, expertise about water industry

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) recently announced that it has entered into a collaborative agreement under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Aarhus Water, an independent regional water and wastewater enterprise owned by the municipality of Aarhus, Denmark.
The partnership was celebrated during a ceremonial gathering held at the Consulate General of Denmark on Friday, Jan. 16, at the John Hancock Center in Chicago, Ill., where MWRD President Mariyana T. Spyropoulos; Aarhus Water CEO Lars Schrøder; H.E. Peter Taksøe-Jensen, ambassador of Denmark to the U.S.; and other MWRD Commissioners all participated in the MOU signing ceremony.

Why should you read this? Chicago and Denmark? WaterWorld, January 2015

Utility Cuts Water Loss

“With some 50 different pressure zones in its service area, the Water Department is constantly dealing with pumping, valving and storage issues as it strives to deliver a reliable stream of high-quality water to its 56,000 customers on a daily basis.

Related: From the Editor: Fixing the Leaks

“Elevation is always a problem here,” says Ivan Thomas, the Water Department’s operations manager. “The pressures amplify water loss. We are looking at ways of reducing pressures [which can reach 400 psi in some places along the system] and are being proactive.”

Through a comprehensive team approach – including a water loss audit program and departmentwide understanding and acceptance of the goals – Asheville has cut those losses from 6 million gallons and approximately $3,600 of lost revenue a day in 2012, to 5.4 million gallons and $2,792 a day in 2014.”

Why should you read this? Non-revenue water is a big problem for most water departments, and Asheville NC was able to make a big reduction and establish some ‘best practices’ that may be new for you. Municipal Sewer & Water, January 2015

What the Heck is Acoustic Pipe Inspection?

“Simply put, acoustic pipe inspection, or AI, uses sound to locate and characterize pipe based on the sound of flowing water. And, it’s quickly becoming a buzzword for infrastructure owners and managers thanks to its potential cost savings.

AI systems can help prioritize maintenance needs, which lets utilities avoid needless cleaning of relatively clean pipes or repairs to pipes with only minor issues.”

Why should you read this? Cheap, effective pipe inspection and leak detection? Sounds interesting (see what I did there?). First of three articles. Municipal Sewer & Water, December 2014

The Risks of Cheap Water

“But the proliferation of limits on water use will not solve the problem because regulations do nothing to address the main driver of the nation’s wanton consumption of water: its price.

“Most water problems are readily addressed with innovation,” said David G. Victor of the University of California, San Diego. “Getting the water price right to signal scarcity is crucially important.””

Why should you read this article? Water scarcity is real, and it seems a little weird to resist linking scarcity to cost. This is an opinion piece that you will want to read, possibly to agree, possibly to refute… New York Times, October 2014

Cost-effective off-road I&I reduction Two-pronged approach to manhole renewal eases pressure on sewer network.

The department produced an internal paper on the subject: Surface Water Inflow through Manhole Lift/Vent Holes into Sanitary Sewer Systems. They found:

  • When a cover is submerged, the lift/vent holes first perform as a weir and then as an orifice, allowing extraneous flows to enter into the manhole. As the depth of submergence increases, the inflow into the manhole increases.
  • When submerged by 2 inches, a cover with four .98-inch-diameter lift/vent holes may allow 15.8 gallons per minute (gpm) to enter. At 5.9 inches, 26.4 gpm may enter.

Note that this is the inflow only through the lift/holes. Additional inflow occurs between the steel cover and the steel grate, and between the steel grate and the concrete manhole.

Why should you read this? Are you a sewer or water network manager looking for a relatively cheap way to mitigate I&I? Then this is your article. (full disclosure: I wrote this article in my other role as an infrastructure writer. Which means it is especially awesome.) Public Works, February 2014

Tunnel Beneath the Bay

“The new pipe will be installed in a dedicated tunnel constructed roughly 100 feet below the bay floor. Known simply as the “Bay Tunnel,” the new conduit is 15 feet in diameter and more than five miles long. The digging is done by an earth pressure balance tunnel-boring machine (TBM), a type of tunneling system well suited to the dense clays that make up much of the bay floor. To launch the TBM, the project’s tunnel contractor, Michels/Jay Dee/Coluccio Joint Venture (MJC) excavated a shaft 58 feet in diameter and 124 feet deep in East Menlo Park on the west side of San Francisco Bay.

According to MJC Project Engineer Ed Whitman, the TBM and launch shaft are normal parts of a major tunneling project. But the Bay Tunnel contains an important distinction from Whitman’s past projects. In other TBM-built tunnels, several vertical access shafts (Whitman calls them “manholes”) are built at intervals along the tunnel. In a similar sized-tunnel that Whitman worked on in Ohio and California, manholes were spaced roughly 1,000 to 1,500 feet apart. Among other functions, the shafts enable project surveyors to connect geodetic control points on the surface to the control points in the tunnel, making adjustments and corrections as the TBM moves ahead. Because the Bay Tunnel is under a body of water, manholes aren’t possible. As a result, all the survey control (essential to steering the TBM) is tied to one end of the tunnel. “It’s like taking a five-mile shot off a 50-foot backsight,” says Whitman. “From the survey perspective, it’s not for the faint of heart.””

Why should you read this? If tunneling 100 feet under San Francisco Bay doesn’t get you interested… maybe you shouldn’t be in infrastructure? POB, January 2013

HDD Used to Relocate Water Line In California

“Because of flooding and erosion over the years, this water line needed to be relocated as it was now 12 ft above ground in the floor of the barranca, rather than below ground as it was originally installed, and had already suffered serious damage from flood debris… At a depth of 130 ft, some 350 ft into the pilot bore, the Monterey formation (thought to be much deeper at this point) was encountered.  This formation was hard enough that the jetting assembly was unable to penetrate it, and so drilling was stopped.” Detailed article highlights the increasing sophistication of HDD in tight spots. Trenchless Technology, June 8, 2012

Maximum Efficiency at Minimum Cost

“The up-front cost will be approximately $32 million, but once in place, the new system is expected to save $1 million in operational costs, and generate an additional $1.5 million in revenue, each year… “The first batch of electronic meters provided a good lesson,” he says. “We were contacted by a customer who was concerned about high water bills. By looking at his hourly data, we determined it was an irrigation system kicking in late at night. Since it was happening while the customer was away, he wasn’t aware of that water use. Once we showed him the hourly data, the issue was resolved.”” Outstanding, thorough, detailed article about conversion to a smart meter system. MWS, August 2012

Areas of elevated contaminants in groundwater determined from regional assessment in the midwest

“When radon concentrations greater than 300 picocuries per liter are included, 64 percent of wells sampled contain a contaminant concentration above a human-health benchmark.” Good summary of USGS groundwater findings. Short take?—not really much to worry about. Public Works, 7-26-2012

New Study: Fluids From Marcellus Shale Likely Seeping Into PA Drinking Water

“Though the fluids were natural and not the byproduct of drilling or hydraulic fracturing, the finding further stokes the red-hot controversy over fracking in the Marcellus Shale, suggesting that drilling waste and chemicals could migrate in ways previously thought to be impossible.” Important to note that no actual contaminants were found, still, pretty good evidence that we don’t fully understand what happens underground. ProPublica, 7-9-2012

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