Happy new year!
January 1, 2009

Happy new year -- we warmly welcome 2009, and look forward to serving you throughout the year. Our office will be closed on New Year's Day, but we will be open on Friday.

One billion gallons of coal waste
January 2, 2009

People living near Kingston, Tennessee, are understandably concerned and upset after a coal impoundment spilled a billion gallons of water and coal ash over hundreds of acres of land and into a river. The EPA is monitoring and reporting on the water quality in the area, with special concern paid to the arsenic levels in the water in the area.

We can help you with geomembranes for spill containment and geotextiles to reinforce dams and levees, as well as portable pumps for emergency use. Please feel free to contact us with your questions.

Water authorities seek $10 billion for infrastructure
January 5, 2009

The Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, an industry organization for public water systems in big US cities, is pushing legislators to include $10 billion for drinking-water systems in any potential economic-stimulus/infrastructure plan. In Iowa alone, requests for funding from the State Revolving Fund for drinking water projects hit $150 million in 2008, and the trend will certainly be upwards. Our experience assisting with the deployment of products and projects to help with safe drinking water in Iowa and Nebraska includes everything from pumps and gates to sand filters and water-quality monitors. Please feel free to contact us with your questions.

Be safe when transferring fuel
January 6, 2009

A fire caused by fuel leaking from a stored vehicle in a California warehouse serves as a good reminder that liquid fuel is not only all around us, but always potentially hazardous. When transferring fuel, it's imperative that you never use pumps or other equipment unless those items are specifically designed for those tasks. Gorman-Rupp Shield-a-Spark pumps are carefully designed to reduce the risk of fire in fuel-transfer applications.

Another reason to bid 2008 good riddance
January 7, 2009

2008 was a pretty disastrous year for the Upper Midwest, with floods taking out the Mason City water plant and the Cedar Rapids wastewater plant, nearly wiping out the Cedar Rapids water plant, and putting the Grand Island wastewater plant under serious strain. Many other communities, and many sectors beyond the water and wastewater industry, were affected. And yet the year just couldn't go away peacefully: A last-minute warm-up put Chicago under the threat of flash flooding as ice jams and snowmelt joined forces on area streams and rivers, just months after late summer flooding that made a wreck of the nation's third-largest metropolis. It was for some parts of the Midwest the wettest year on record.

We can help you with flood-cleanup pumps, stormwater controls and containment, and portable pumping stations, complete with automatic controls. Please feel free to contact us with your questions.

Water infrastructure takes television spotlight
January 8, 2009

Iowa Public Television will feature the documentary special "Liquid Assets: The Story of our Water Infrastructure" on Sunday at 5:30 pm. It's a 90-minute program discussing the importance of water and wastewater infrastructure projects in the United States, and how they serve an essential public-health function. We have discussed the importance of public education for the water industry in our conference presentations on public information and media relations.

EPA solicits help setting perchlorate rules
January 9, 2009

The EPA has asked the National Research Council to come up with additional information to help guide public-health standards for perchlorate in drinking water. Perchlorate has been used in solid fuels and its ingestion is thought to interfere with the proper function of the thyroid gland. The EPA rulemaking process is still underway, so the final effect it will have on drinking water regulations is still unknown. But perchlorate is widely found in western Iowa and across much of Nebraska, and some specific communities, like Hills, Iowa have had particular problems with perchlorate already, so it will certainly have an effect on us.

Missouri River could benefit from the brutal winter
January 12, 2009

It's been a harsh winter throughout the Upper Midwest, but one silver lining on this cloud could be that it's likely to help recharge reservoirs in the upstream portions of the Missouri River. That could be very good news for communities like Sioux City and Omaha, which depend in part upon the river for their municipal water supplies.

Another reason the cold is unpleasant
January 13, 2009

As noted yesterday, the cold and snowy winter we've had in the Upper Midwest this year may very well serve us well in the spring when snowmelt helps recharge the reservoirs that serve major rivers. But in the short term, the cold is not just unpleasant to the skin -- it's also creating ice jams that are reducing river levels in some places, whcih can be a problem for municipal water systems and power plants that depend upon river intakes for their water.

Watch a culvert collapse
January 14, 2009

The raw video of a culvert and bridge collapse in Maine really tells the story of the power of moving water in a way that textbooks and calculations simply can't. The video shows the progressive collapse and failure of a small bridge as floodwaters rush through, with a culvert pipe beneath eventually floating away. It takes just three minutes to go from the first indications of trouble to complete failure. The event happened in August, but flooding is especially prevalent in the spring, when the snow and ice frozen on and in the ground right now melt and new rains add to the runoff.

We can help you with stormwater and flood-control products, including gates for controlling water flow into culverts and through drainage systems. Please feel free to contact us with your questions.

Remarkable cold creates water headaches
January 15, 2009

The sub-zero temperatures that have hit the Upper Midwest aren't just unpleasant to step into -- they're a major cause of water headaches when pipes freeze. The problem is that water expands when it freezes. This accounts for the importance of good insulation and adequate heating capacity inside municipal water pressure-booster stations -- since a burst in a 3" or 6" municipal water pipe can be a much bigger disaster than that of a household water line.

Is 120 years a long enough service life?
January 16, 2009

Omaha's Metropolitan Utilities District is in the midst of upgrading some water mains that have been in service for 120 years. With some new lining, the water mains will be returned to service for many more decades of operation. While mechanical equipment rarely lasts for 120 years, with good maintenance, many of our products -- like lift stations -- have been known to remain in service for two or three decades, and more.

Iowa DNR offers grants to improve rural water
January 19, 2009

Applicants have until April 1st to apply for watershed improvement grants from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The grants are intended to help reduce non-point-source water pollution, which generally comes from runoff in urban and (especially) rural areas.

We can help you with products for stormwater and non-point-source pollution, including tanks for temporary containment. Please feel free to contact us with your questions.

Wind-energy storage park gets loan from Iowa
January 20, 2009

The Iowa Power Fund is going to loan $3.2 million to the Iowa Stored Energy Park, which intends to compress air using wind power at times when energy demand is low and then release that air to power generating turbines when more electricity is needed. It's essentially a way to turn air into a battery. There are a lot of meritorious environmental benefits from compressed-air energy storage, but there are also some potential causes for concern for the water industry. Similar plans that would compress gases underground -- not normal air, but carbon dioxide for environmental sequestration -- have revealed potential hazards to underground aquifers. Water and dissolved minerals can be very sensitive to changes in conditions like pH. Fortunately, we are capable of monitoring for pH and particulate contamination, but the municipal water industry needs to pay close attention to anything people propose to do deep underground.

Nebraska AWWA enters the Facebook era
January 21, 2009

The Nebraska Section of the American Water Works Association has launched a Facebook fan page. The goal of the page is to give the public an opportunity to interact with Nebraska's water professionals and to show their support for clean drinking water projects.

Knowledge of local conditions matters
January 22, 2009

One of the reasons it's helpful to have local representatives with knowledge of local conditions is that we develop instincts for local conditions. From time to time, we've worked with other parties who haven't been familiar with local conditions in the Iowa-Nebraska region. On occasion, we've faced incredulity when trying to explain that surface temperatures can range from -40°F to 120°F over the course of a year. But we tested that range just last week, when an actual air temperature of 40°F below zero was registered at Coggon in eastern Iowa. We've reached those temperatures before, and we certainly will again. Wind chill values dropped even lower -- down to -52°F. Knowing these conditions helps us do a better job helping to select systems like pump stations that can be sensitive to temperature changes. Our experience also explains why we value well-designed and well-insulated enclosures for equipment that would otherwise be exposed to the elements.

Gorman-Rupp leadership recognized
January 23, 2009

Gorman-Rupp CEO Jeff Gorman was presented the Chairman's Award by the Mansfield-Richland (Ohio) Chamber of Commerce this week in recognition of his long-time commitment to the area. Gorman-Rupp, in addition to manufacturing the lift stations and self-priming pumps that serve as flagship products of our lineup, is one of the largest employers in the Mansfield area, and its current factory expansion project will make it even more important to the community over time. At a time when there's lots of political concern about the future of American manufacturing, Gorman-Rupp has used innovation to ensure its future.

1,300 wastewater projects promised under new stimulus package
January 26, 2009

While the White House works with the House and Senate to work out a new economic-stimulus package, one of the items included in the White House version of the proposal is a laundry list of 1,300 wastewater-treatment projects. Other proposals would include improvements to the electrical grid (power generation, by the way, is a major user of clean water) and security changes at 90 American ports. The American Society of Civil Engineers says that water and wastewater treatment plants need $1 billion in improvements immediately, and about $1 trillion in upgrades over the next 20 years. From lift pumps and sludge pumps to a wide range of wastewater process equipment, we have been serving the water and wastewater industries in the Upper Midwest for more than 30 years.

Most of Macy, Nebraska, is released from its boil order
January 27, 2009

The town has been under a boil order since January 7th, but the EPA has determined that most of the community is now getting safe water and can resume using the public water system without boiling. Safe drinking water chlorination can be a challenge, especially for small systems, but our tablet feeders for chlorine can be a simple and effective tool in the effort.

Some new views of the Tennessee coal-ash spill
January 28, 2009

The Kingston, Tennessee coal-waste spill is pretty astonishing in its magnitude, and aerial photos of the affected area make it even more evident that communities need to be prepared for surprising disasters -- including ones that can put their municipal water supplies at serious risk.

So much infrastructure work to do
January 29, 2009

Civil engineers are reiterating their call for massive investment in infrastructure, including America's water and wastewater plants. The ASCE says the country needs $2.2 trillion in infrastructure improvements over the next five years.

Portable water-quality monitors are now available
January 30, 2009

Communities and public water systems looking to perform remote monitoring and quality compliance checks throughout their service areas may be interested in the brand-new ATI PQ45 series portable water-quality monitor. It can be used to measure a wide range of parameters, including residual chlorine, dissolved ozone, pH, dissolved oxygen, and conductivity. The units can be operated for up to 30 days on regular "C" batteries, or can be solar-powered.

Past water and wastewater news updates

last revised January 2009