Tag Archive for 'clean water'

Page 2 of 4

EPA Issues Rule to Reduce Water Pollution from Construction Sites

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today issued a final rule to help reduce water pollution from construction sites. The imagesagency believes this rule, which takes effect in February 2010 and will be phased in over four years, will significantly improve the quality of water nationwide.

Construction activities like clearing, excavating and grading significantly disturb soil and sediment. If that soil is not managed properly it can easily be washed off of the construction site during storms and pollute nearby water bodies.

The final rule requires construction site owners and operators that disturb one or more acres to use best management practices to ensure that soil disturbed during construction activity does not pollute nearby water bodies.

In addition, owners and operators of sites that impact 10 or more acres of land at one time will be required to monitor discharges and ensure they comply with specific limits on discharges to minimize the impact on nearby water bodies.

This is the first time that EPA has imposed national monitoring requirements and enforceable numeric limitations on construction site storm water discharges.

Soil and sediment runoff is one of the leading causes of water quality problems nationwide. Soil runoff from construction has also reduced the depth of small streams, lakes and reservoirs, leading to the need for dredging.

More information: http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/guide/construction

Final Rule: Effluent Guidelines for Discharges from the Construction and Development Industry


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is promulgating effluent limitations guidelines (ELGs) and new source performance standards (NSPS) to control the discharge of pollutants from construction sites. This rule requires construction site owners and operators to implement a range of erosion and sediment control measures and pollution prevention practices to control pollutants in discharges from construction sites. In addition, the rule requires certain construction site owners and operators to sample stormwater discharges and comply with a numeric standard for the pollutant turbidity in these discharges starting in August of 2011.

Background on Construction Activity

Construction activities like clearing, excavating, and grading significantly disturb the land. The disturbed soil, if not managed properly, can easily be washed off of the construction site during storms and enter water bodies. Stormwater discharges from construction activities can cause an array of physical, chemical and biological impacts.

Pollutants discharged from construction sites include sediment, turbidity and nutrients. All of these pollutants are important contributors to water quality impairment nationwide. Sediment, turbidity, and nutrients degrade aquatic ecosystem health, drinking water supplies, and surface water clarity. Sediment deposition reduces water depth in lakes, reservoirs, and navigational channels, increasing the need for dredging.

Background on Effluent Guidelines

Effluent guidelines are national standards that apply to stormwater and

wastewater discharges to surface waters and publicly owned treatment works (municipal sewage treatment plants). EPA issues effluent guidelines for categories of existing sources and new sources under Title III of the Clean Water Act to control pollution from these sources. The standards are based on the performance of treatment and control technologies.

Final Rule Requirements

The final rule is intended to work in concert with existing state and local programs, adding a technology-based “floor” that establishes minimum requirements that apply nationally. Once implemented, these new requirements will significantly reduce the amount of sediment and other pollutants discharged from construction sites.

The rule requires all construction site owners and operators to implement a range of erosion and sediment control best management practices (BMPs) to reduce pollutants in stormwater discharges. Permittes are also required to implement a range of pollution prevention measures to control discharges from activities such as dewatering and concrete washout. The rule contains stringent requirements for soil stabilization as well.

EPA is phasing in the numeric limitation over four years to allow permitting authorities adequate time to develop monitoring requirements and to allow the regulated community time to prepare for compliance with the numeric limitation. Construction sites that disturb 20 or more acres at one time will be required to conduct monitoring of discharges and comply with the numeric limitation beginning 18 months after the effective date of the final rule. Beginning four years after the effective date of the final rule, the monitoring requirements and numeric limitation will apply to all sites that disturb 10 or more acres at one time..

Costs and Benefits of the Proposed Rule

This regulation is projected to reduce the amount of sediment discharged from construction sites by about 4 billion pounds each year, at an annual cost of about $953 million, once fully implemented. Because of the phase-in period for the numeric limit, and the timing of state construction general permit renewals, it is expected that the cost of the rule will be $8 million in 2010, $63 million in 2011, and $204 million in 2012. The benefits from reducing discharges of sediment and turbidity include improved water clarity, protection of drinking water supplies, improvements in aquatic environments, and lessen the need for dredging of navigational channels and reservoirs.


EPA currently issues permits for construction activities in four states, the District of Columbia and in certain U.S. territories and tribal areas. The EPA Construction General Permit (CGP), which is set to expire on June 30, 2011, will be updated to include the new requirements when reissued. The remaining states issue their own construction general permits, and the new requirements must be incorporated into any new general permits issued after the effective date of the regulation, which is 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. The requirements also apply to individual permits issued by states or EPA. Therefore, the implementation date of the new requirements will vary depending on when states reissue their permits and whether projects are covered by individual or general permits.

You can view or download the complete text of the Federal Register notice on the Internet at http://www.epa.gov/waterscience/guide/ construction.

ICUEE Products

McWane Poles – Ductile Iron Distribution Poles

McWane Poles

(Green Product)

McWane Poles developed a new type of distribution pole made from ductile iron. Ductile iron combines the physical strength ofsteel with the corrosion resistance of iron offering durability, extended service life, and low maintenance. McWane Ductile Iron Poles cost less than steel or concrete poles and weigh approximately 50% less than wood poles. Ductile iron poles are a “GREEN” product, because they are made from recycled materials and can be recycled after the end of their long service life!

Swift Line™

Swift Line™ – Premium winch line, 12-Strand UHWMPE. 4′ Protective Sleeve and a reinforced eye for added durability. UHWMPE has excellent abrasion resistance. SKU Sizes below

Swift Line1. AG12SS516 5/16″ 13,700 lbs Average Tensile 150′, 200′, 600′ or 1,200 Orange Husky Coat

2. AG12SS38 3/8″ 19,800 lbs Average Tensile 100′, 150′, 600′ or 1,200′ Neon Green Husky Coat

Flex-Panel System

FlexPanel Sys

The Flex-Panel® system from Wired Rite is a complete solution for custom vehicle wiring, and is installed as an overlay to thevehicle’s pre-existing OEM wiring system. Flex-Panel facilitates the addition of electrical accessories including lights, electronics, and other equipment, and provides smart control of all accessories for safe and reliable operation.

Tyndale’s Premium Long Sleeve Polo Shirt – M040T

Tyndale ShirtTyndale introduces our HRC 2 polo shirt that is distinctively lightweight and breathable. Made in the USA
with 6.8oz FRMC Lacoste knit, it is available in men’s and women’s. Generously cut for ideal comfort, with a left chest pocket for convenience, this shirt also offers workers protection with a 9.5cal/cm2 arc rating. Comfort and protection make this a worker “top pick” in wear trials! For more information, contact Tyndale at 800.356.3433 or at www.TyndaleUSA.com.

IntelliRupter Pulse

IntelliRupter® PulseCloser

S&C’s new IntelliRupter PulseCloser is a breakthrough in overhead distribution system protection. IntelliRupter is a unique alternative to an automatic circuit recloser. It was designed from the ground up to accommodate advanced distribution automation functions including S&C’s proven IntelliTEAM II®, along with SCADA functionality. See more at www.sandc.com.

TITAN MBR (membrane bioreactor)

(Green Product)

Titan MBRThe innovative TITAN MBR™ wastewater treatment system — with robust, flat-plate submerged membrane technology — provides the highest quality treatment, minimal operational requirements, and a compact design that will stand the test of time. Backed by value-added engineering available from S&L.

Systems come in standard and custom designs, and result in smaller footprints than conventional systems. Capacities range from 5,000 GPD up to 3 MGD+. Suitable for water re-use and recycling.


Vinatronics High Visibility Apparel High Visibility FR t-shirt for 70E & ASTM F1506

Long sleeve FR Cotton t-shirt, with 3M FR reflective in Contractors Orange and Hi Viz Yellow. Fabric and reflective meet ASTM F1506 for flammability and compliance with 70E Hazard Risk Category 2. 

High Visibility, Comfort and FR protection, Made in the USA at an affordable price.

FiberRigg™ Fiberglass Composite Crane Outrigger Pad

(Green Product)

FiberRiggFiberRigg™ is a fiberglass composite crane outrigger pad that outlasts wood pads, is lighter and also more cost effective than UHMW plastic pads. Able to hold up to 125,000 pounds, FiberRigg is suited to any type of construction or building activity requiring the use of crane equipment. Continuous glass fibers provide maximum strength and stiffness while its polymer makeup resists chemicals and water degradation. FiberRigg has a non-slip wear surface and is virtually indestructible.


Jarraff Industries manufactures two premier ROW Maintenance machines including the Jarraff All-Terrain Tree Trimmer & the Geo-Boy Brush Cutter Tractor. The cab of the tree trimmer has received ROPS, FOPS & OPS certifications, an industry first for all-terrain tree trimmers. The Jarraff offers 75-ft. of cutting height. The Geo-Boy clears brush in all conditions including remote access sites & challenging terrain. With two tier III engine options, it is powerful, maneuverable & fuel-efficient.


(Green Product)



……. REBEL CRUSHER 20 X 36 TRACK JAW CRUSHER is specifically designed for the RECYCLE INDUSTRY. tures:

*REVERSIBLE JAW DIRECTION for clearing crushing chamber.





RANGER Crane Retrofit System

Kar-Tech’s wireless crane retrofit package is a simple way to add a radio remote to your manually controlled hydraulic crane. The package is supplied with linear actuators to move the valves in both directions, a mounting bracket, and all hardware to connect the actuators to the valve handles. The transmitter is the wireless control – four proportional paddles control the winch and boom, and additional toggle switches drive the winch speed and high/low speed functions.

RF Folding Railgate

Ranger CraneTOMMY GATE COMPANY, America’s first name in liftgatesTM, introduces the RF Model, the latest addition to Tommy Gate’s Rail Gate Series. The RF Model is Tommy Gate’s first two-piece folding rail gate and is available with an aluminum two-piece platform in 85 or 89 inch widths and 45 and 50 inch depths. The RF Rail gate Series is available in 1600 lbs. and 2000 lbs. lifting capacities.


Navlogix screen sm

NavLogix is an Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) solution that uses GPS, cellular and web technologies to provide near real-time location of every vehicle in your fleet.

Go Green with DewEze Hydraulics (Green Product)


DewEze has the environment-friendly solution to your PTO problem. See us at booth #743 to reduce fuel cost, your carbon footprint and still get the job done. You can also visit our website at http://www.deweze.com/deweze/OEM/OEM.html to learn more about our CARB-friendly products.

McElroy DynaMc(tm) 28HP Fusion Machine

(Green Product)


The DynaMc™ 28 HP (hand pump) provides the power and pressure required to butt fuse pipe from 2” IPS to 8” DIPS with a double-action hand-powered pump.

A detachable easy-lift cradle allows the jaws to be easily removed for use in tight spaces. The DynaMc 28 HP features an electric facer that is sturdy and strong, with the ability to be loaded into the machine from either side.

The high-velocity cylinders allow for faster carriage speeds for the critical opens and closes while fusing.

Blair Products, Inc.

Blair ProductsCaterpillar / Terex/ASV Aftermarket Undercarriage Parts.
Tired of spending thousands on OEM parts? We specialize inundercarriage parts made to last.
”LARRY LUGS”-Bolt-on replacement drive lugs for rubbertracks. “SOLID ALLOY WHEELS”-Replaces rubber/plastic OEM Wheels. Wears evenly and will not crack or crevice from rocks. “Hydraulic Track Tensioners”-Tighten tracks with a simple grease gun. “Bair Claws”-Ice/Snow traction enhancers in 6 sizes for Tires/tracks/loaders/snowblower/ATVs/UTVs.

Prime Tech – PT 300

Prime Tech

The new PT-300 from Prime-Tech and FAE. 275 horse power and a 90″ cutting width. Ground pressure = 3.10 PSI. 24950 lbs

Buzzi Unicem USA Utility-Fill One Step

Buzzi(Green Product)

Utility-Fill One Step is a bagged flowable fill used in place of standard backfill material. It is self-mixing, self-compacting, and itready for permanent restoration in less than ten minutes. It requires no mechanical tamping, just add a gallon of water to each 50-pound bag and watch it work. This product was recently approved by the U.S. Military for use as backfill in rapid repair of bombed runways.

Duct Hunter Traceable Rodders

Utilizing the heavy duty frame construction of Jameson’s Buddy System® Rodders, the Duct Hunter™ features a copper trace wire in the rod to trace or map underground conduit or pipe without digging or trenching. Trace to depths up to 10’.duct hunter

Reliable Equipment & Service Hydraulic Ground Rod Driver


The REL-GRD-1 from RELIABLE EQUIPMENT will drive 1/2-5/8″ ground rods FAST.
A 3/4-1″ model is also available.
Cushioned handles offer two handed control.
70″ whips provide convenient access to the in-line ON/OFF valve.
Operate from Open or Closed Center systems.
A lifting eye allows the driver to be suspended above the rod reducing operator strain.
Flush face couplers are factory installed, so you may use the tool right out of the box.


Harger Lightning & Grounding’s Ultraweld® UltraShotTM is re-defining the exothermic process. UltraShotTM utilizes a copper UltraShot WebPage Group Piccontainer that is consumed along with the weld metal making for a superior exothermic connection. UltraShotTM utilizes an electronic ignition system fired by a long lasting rechargeable battery controller. The unique ignition system allows the user to maintain a safe distance. Contact Sales at 800-842-7437, hargersales@harger.com or visit our website at www.harger.com.


Easy Cut

The fastest and safest large diameter pipe cutting system in the world.

Amco Veba – Model 105

Amco VebaFischer Crane announces the AmcoVeba 105. The 105 combines unique materials (special structural tube) and engineering to provide a crane that is lighter, narrower and provides increased lifting capacity. Using prefabricated material saves fabrication time creating a significant price advantage.

Carmanah Technologies GP-SW3000 Pure Sine Wave Inverter

Carmanah Technologies

(Green Product)

The largest Go Power!™ pure sine wave inverter, the GP-SW3000 is the ultimate choice for large loads that demand an exactreplica of AC power. The GP-SW3000 can run any tool or appliance within its wattage range. The GP-SW3000 is the professionals’ choice for clean reliable power when you need it.

Akkerman Inc.

Since 1973, Akkerman Inc. manufactures distinctive microtunneling, pipe jacking, tunneling, guided boring and earth pressure balance equipment. We attribute Akkerman Inc.’s reputation for superior reliability and responsive service to our team of experienced engineers, field technicians and our extensive parts department. We’re bringing it all to you at 2009 ICUEE! Please visit our outdoor display #K103, featuring 6,500 sf of live demonstrations and a sampling of all our equipment lines.

Rayco-Wylie Systems

i3500 Rated Capacity Indicator for knuckle booms / i3500 Range Limiting Device for concrete pumps

Rayco WylieKnow your safe working load at all time with the new i3500 Rated Capacity Indicator for knuckle booms.

Make your working environment safer while working close to power lines with the new i3500 Range Limiting Device for concrete pumps.

These systems are versatile and use the latest CANbus technology. Highly reliable, simple to install and versatile these systems are designed to meet your most demanding requirements on site.


Ackton Inc., Precision Park P6000

Long range 25 feet Backup sensor for heavy truck application

DPL America TITAN Equipment Monitoring System

The TITAN Equipment Monitoring System is the complete tool for equipment owners to increase asset profitability and productivity while decreasing the costs and risk of equipment theft. The TITAN empowers the equipment owner to remotely shut down their machines, wirelessly locate them any time via GPS, collect hour meter readings and track hour based service intervals.

V-TEC Total Electronic Control and Diagnostic System

VTecVanair Manufacturing introduces phase 1 of their new V-TEC® Total Electronic Control and Diagnostic System designed to offer easier installation with simple OEM specific “plug and play” connections. Using Vanair exclusive technology, the V-TEC® will modulate and regulate engine speed according to demand. The LED control panel provides comprehensive system monitoring capabilities. V-TEC® is currently available on select applications.

PRO-VISION® “Ruggedized” LCD Monitor

PRO-VISION TV-205 ICUEE New Product Highlight_072809 copyThe all new “Ruggedized” PRO-VISION® LCD Monitor with LED Backlighting provides 5X times the life and a 60% increase in brightness compared to other LCD Monitors on the market. This industry leading design milestone means a PRO-VISION®System will last longer and provide superior performance in bright lighting conditions. The all new “Ruggedized” PRO-VISION® LCD Monitor is available with any of the six PRO-VISION® Cameras designed specifically for commercial vehicle and equipment applications.

ProAct Safety Culture Excellence Seminar Series

The Safety Culture Excellence Seminar Series includes:

•Advanced Tactics for Behavior-Based Safety
•Leadership Safety Coaching: Teaching Supervisors to be Safety Coaches
•Assessing and Developing Your Safety Culture.

ICUEE 2009 A Resounding Success — Second Largest In Show History

The just-held International Construction and Utility Equipment Exposition (ICUEE) attracted more than 16,500 registered attendees – making it the second largest in show history despite a down economy, especially in construction-related markets.

ICUEE 09 14  (2009-10-08)Also known as The Demo Expo for its trademark of extensive equipment demonstrations in job-like conditions, ICUEE 2009 took place October 6-8 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky. More than 780 exhibitors used more than 1 million net square feet of outdoor and indoor exhibit space.

The show focuses on the utility/construction industry, including electric, phone and cable, sewer and water, gas, general construction, landscaping and public works.

“The feedback was very positive from exhibitors and attendees. This was a great opportunity for the industry to get together and assess where they are now and plan for the future. ICUEE was definitely the place to be if you wanted to test-drive the latest equipment innovations and keep up to date on industry trends,” stated Show Director Melissa Magestro.

“We encourage industry co-locations to bring maximum ROI to all participants, and ICUEE 2009 had a record number. Their support contributed greatly to our success,” she added.

ICUEE 09 17  (2009-10-08)
The inaugural H2O-XPO of the National Rural Water Association (NRWA) chose to co-locate with ICUEE 2009, as did the iP Safety Conference and Expo (safety and training) and the IUV Technology Conference (design and engineering). NRWA held its annual convention in conjunction with ICUEE 2009.

“Our industry has been one of the hardest hit during the recession, so we’re especially gratified by this support. Participants saw value in the type of face-to-face contact you can only get at trade shows, and the value of a quality show ‘run by the industry, for the benefit of the industry,’ which is our operating philosophy,” stated Magestro.

ICUEE 09 18  (2009-10-08)An extensive and well-rounded education program also contributed to the success of ICUEE 2009. Attendees took advantage of more than 100 sessions to pro-actively manage their businesses to increase productivity and operating efficiencies. Field trips and an HDD workshop complemented the classroom learning. Among the “top 10” most popular education session topics were new opportunities in emerging “green” technologies such as solar and wind power, and a special panel discussion focused on the emerging “smart grid” electric power infrastructure.

ICUEE 09 21  (2009-10-08)The number-one reason attendees come to ICUEE is to see new products and innovations, and a record 150 exhibitors signed on to the show’s New Product & Technology Program, which highlights exhibitors’ new-to-market innovations. Program participants are listed online in a section of the Exhibitor Directory (searchable by company name, product category or booth number). This will remain online for several months after the show (www.icuee.com/ see About the Show/2009 Exhibitor Directory).

Sylvain LeMarier with Posi+, aerial lift operator who took John White up to get the pics.

Sylvain LeMarier with Posi+, aerial lift operator who took John White up to get the pics.

A special Utility Champions display onsite recognized the dedication of utility workers who respond tirelessly during disaster recovery efforts (and also see online).

The next edition of the biennial ICUEE will be October 4-6, 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky.

I personally thought the show was a success. Even with a tough economy virtually everyone I talked to had a positive attitude and outlook. The contractors were looking to buy new equipment, learn about new technologies, and develop a better understanding of this market and the potential it offers.

Yes, we need our roads, bridges, buildings and everything else the construction industry provides for our way of life. But, what would we do without electricity, water, sewers and the other critical components our civilization can’t exist without? Everything in our world has become interdependent and we have reached the point where yesterday’s luxuries have become today’s necessities.

ICUEE 09 31  (2009-10-08) ACP publisher and owner, John White, took the pictures that are shown here. He got a ride in an aerial man lift shortly before the storm hit on the final day of the show with only a couple hours remaining.

ICUEE 09 32  (2009-10-08)Check out the new products section… I am listing more of the ones that were introduced during the show.

ICUEE 09 33  (2009-10-08)

Greg Sitek

Don’t Drink The Water

By Greg Sitek

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink …

Actually this line should read, “Water, water, every where,Nor any drop to drink.” It’s from Part II, ninth verse of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It fits well as a description of the drinking water in our country.

PRO-TEC Deep shielding system

PRO-TEC Deep shielding system

Just the other day I received an e-mail that explained why it was better and safer to drink wine or beer than water because of all the “stuff” in the water that isn’t filtered out. Although the e-mail was a joke and a bit cruder than that, it did make the point that our drinking water needs a rapid, radical remedy so it will be more drinkable.

Aside from a 19th century epic poem and an e-mail, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) agrees. The 2009 ASCE Report Card gives domestic drinking water a D- and the grades don’t get any worse. The overall infrastructure ranked a flat D.

What are we doing about this critical problem?

Here’s an example: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded $160 million of stimulus funds to the Texas Water Development Board to help finance the cost of replacing aging water infrastructure in the state.

EPA officials say this new infusion of money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) will help state and local governments invest in a number of overdue water projects that are essential to protecting public health as well as the environment. The funds should also boost the economy and create jobs, two of the qualifications for receiving stimulus funding.

“Investing in the economy and the environment is a win-win,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Lawrence E. Starfield. “These fundsVermeer RTX450 with vibratory cable plowwill not only help our economic recovery, but they will help provide safe, clean drinking water for communities throughout Texas.”

The funds will be used toward the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program, which provides low-interest loans for drinking water systems to finance infrastructure improvements. The program places an emphasis on small and disadvantaged communities and on programs that encourage pollution prevention.

Nationwide, the EPA is furnishing $2 billion to fund drinking water infrastructure projects across the country in the form of low-interest loans, principal forgiveness and grants. At least 20 percent of the stimulus funds have been earmarked for “green” infrastructure, water and energy efficiency improvements, and other environmentally innovative projects.

How is this impacting the industry?

Bill Hillman, CEO of National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA), said, “Although there has been money earmarked for utility construction, very little has been spent on projects that result in work for members.” Hillman commented that the changes in the “Buy American” clause – relaxing it a little – have made some difference but not a lot. Some NUCA members are in favor of the clause, while others feel that it’s too restricting and can end up causing more problems for the country long-term rather than helping it:

EPA Relaxes Buy American Clause

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted a nationwide waiver that dilutes somewhat the “Buy American” requirements for water projects, as originally set down in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), or economic stimulus program.

Vermeer RT1250 Trencher in a typical utility installation operation

Vermeer RT1250 Trencher in a typical utility installation operation

The waiver was given for “de minimis incidental components” of eligible water infrastructure projects funded by the ARRA, according to the EPA’s report of its publication of the notice in the August 10 Federal Register. Components granted waivers can, according to EPA, “cumulatively comprise no more than a total of 5 percent of the total cost of the materials used in and incorporated into a project.”

Projects that could be affected by the waiver are those receiving stimulus funds for state clean water or drinking water state revolving funds. Those funds are used to assist construction of drinking water or wastewater treatment plants or distribution systems.

A Ditch Witch HT115 cable plow equipped with cable reel for efficient installation

A Ditch Witch HT115 cable plow equipped with cable reel for efficient installation

Ditch Witch HT115_02EPA said it “is not in the public interest” to impose ARRA’s Buy American requirements, as outlined in Section 1605 of the stimulus law, for the de minimis (minor, or small-scale) components.

Seeking to further describe such components, EPA said every water infrastructure project involves the use of “thousands of miscellaneous, generally low-cost components that are essential for, but incidental to, the construction and are incorporated into the physical structure of the project, such as nuts, bolts, other fasteners, tubing, gaskets, etc.”

EPA said in the notice that for many of the incidental components, “the country of manufacture and the availability of alternatives is not always readily or reasonably identifiable prior to procurement in the normal course of business; for other incidental components, the country of manufacture may be known but the miscellaneous character in conjunction with the low cost, individually and (in total) as typically procured in bulk, mark them as properly incidental.”

The action, effective July 24, revises the terms under which certain components were originally granted a waiver on May 22.

“This does help, but too much of the stimulus money is being spent on debt forgiveness and local government payrolls,” Hillman added. “We need money to get into projects that will stimulate activity by private companies.”

So how are NUCA member contractors coping with the current economy? “Pretty much the way most other contractors are,” Hillman commented. “They are traveling farther from their home offices; laying off people; bidding jobs they normally wouldn’t.”

Hillman noted that although most NUCA members are not considered as part of the residential construction markets, they are, in fact, heavily involved in this market. “Every house that’s built has utilities, and these services have to be brought into the project at some point. The utility contractors have been seriously hurt by the lack of residential construction; in some areas of the country this is far more serious than in other areas.”

Utility contractors are facing the same basic problems that every other contractor is: more contractors bidding on a job, some with reckless concern over how low they bid; tight financing on every aspect of the project; work is not as profitable, and in some instances it’s not profitable at all.

According to Hillman, “NUCA’s role is changing a little. We are now doing a lot more information gathering than ever. We are also forming alliances with other groups to bring our members the kind of information they need to survive in this economy. For example, we joined the Clean Water Council and started a blog called “Water News Update” (http://waternewsupdate.com/) in response to an increased need for information related to clean water and the utility infrastructure. We thought we could probably get by with posting update information weekly but found that we needed to do it more often. We went to several times a week and found that wasn’t enough, so now we’re posting daily – in fact, several times a day.”

Hillman believes that activity should start picking up again in the third and fourth quarters of this year and that 2010 should be better than it has been. “NUCA has done a number of studies, and all are in the final stages of preparation and should be ready for distribution before long.”

As stimulus funds reach the various markets, it’s good to remember that there are several that should have a positive impact on the underground and utility sectors. A major hot button is “Smart Grid,” which should have a direct impact on this sector because it is tied to the generation and distribution of electricity. No matter what, our use of electricity will continue to increase and as it does, so will the demand for distribution.

Wind power is another hot topic, and although it isn’t practical everywhere, there are enough areas in the country that can and will use this type of energy production. Of course, the electricity has to be transmitted to distribution centers in order to be incorporated into a system.

Water and sewer systems continue to age and need replacement. I spent some time looking through the items listed at waternewsupdate.com. A sampling of the listings includes: “Pittsburgh Seeks Solution for Sewer Backups”; “Police in El Cerrito, California closed down roads early this morning after a water main break began flooding streets and causing the road to buckle”; “A water main break in Lubbock, Texas that burst because of its advanced age is expected [to] cause traffic delays …”; “The City of San Diego has been told they cannot keep running the region’s main sewage plant below federal standards.” The list goes on and makes it clear that we cannot continue to ignore this problem; doing so will cripple our hopes for the future.

Safety is a critical factor when dealing with utility and underground construction. While most of the hazards are obvious with overhead power and transmission lines, there remains the problem connected with the opening of every trench or start of every underground boring operation.

‘Call before you dig’ is the best advice anyone can give an underground or utility contractor. And know and understand the safety requirements before you put a person in a trench. Following is an article on “Locators” that you should read. I’ve also included some information on trench safety information that is presented in box copy. Other related information is included in similar boxes.

The Ditch Witch JT 4020 directional drill is one of several models of directional drill that can be used to for trenchless utility work.

The Ditch Witch JT 4020 directional drill is one of several models of directional drill that can be used to for trenchless utility work.

Underground and utility construction is a critical part of our infrastructure rebuilding efforts. Unless we update them, we will have computers that won’t operate because they don’t have electricity or we will have electric cars that can’t charge their batteries for the same reason. There will be more work than we can handle; we all wish to start facing that challenge.

Underground Construction Safety Presentation

OSHA Excavation Standards

There are always concerns about the safety aspects of underground construction and what is required for compliance. It is important to remember that OSHA regulations are the minimum requirement, not necessarily the best. Knowing the requirements is a must, but knowing what is available, how it works and how it can serve your needs in a given or specific application is priceless.

Manufacturers, associations, unions and others offer training programs that can provide you with this type of information. Pro-Tec Equipment, Inc., a manufacturer of trench boxes, shoring equipment and other such safety devices, has a presentation that addresses various issues related to underground construction. It is a good way to make certain that you are not only in compliance but that you are also doing what is best for the crew working in the trench as well as what will make you more productive, effective and efficient.

To obtain a copy of Pro-Tec’s presentation, “OSHA Excavation Standards 1926 Subpart  P,” contact Ron Wey at ron@pro-tecequipment.com.

Water News Update

Water News Update spotlights the need for greater federal investment in water infrastructure and is brought to you by the Clean Water Council, a coalition of 34 national organizations representing underground construction contractors, design professionals, manufacturers and suppliers, labor unions and others committed to ensuring a high quality of life through sound environmental infrastructure.

For a list of the current members, go to www.nuca.com/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=40.

ASCE 2009 Infrastructure Grades

Aviation      D

Bridges      C

Dams     D

Drinking Water   D-

Energy    D+

Hazardous Waste   D

Inland Waterways   D-

Levees    D-

Public Parks and Recreation C-

Rail     C-

Roads    D-

Schools    D

Solid Waste    C+

Transit    D

Wastewater    D-

America’s Infrastructure GPA:   D

Estimated 5-Year Investment Need: $2.2 Trillion

Total cost of $6 billion for projects related to waterways and water supply

Note: This article appeared in the September, 2009 issues of all 13 ACP magazines.

Daily Dirt

NAPA Announces Midyear Meeting

The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA), the only trade association that exclusively represents the interests of the Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) producer and paving contractor on the national level with Congress, government agencies, and other national trade and business organizations, announced that its Midyear Meeting, being held July 27-29, 2009 at the Hilton Head Marriott Beach and Golf Resort in South Carolina, is set to deliver valuable educational and networking events to the asphalt industry. The schedule includes very timely plenary sessions designed to provide attendees with takeaways that will help them grow their market. The NAPA committee meetings are scheduled to take place as well.

Kicking off the program is Emmy Award-winning radio and TV host John Powers, who will speak on the art and science of leadership.

NAPA president Mike Acott will present “Industry at a Crossroads” which will provide an executive summary of the progress in dealing with the major issues facing the industry. You will hear the very latest on the fumes issue, highway funding, and the six core areas that will expand the market for asphalt. The focus will be on deliverables – ideas you can take away from the meeting to help you improve your bottom line.

Washington Update: Highway Funding at a Defining Moment,” featuring Doug Black of Oldcastle Materials Inc., Jack Basso of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), and Greg Cohen of America Highway Users Alliance (AHUA), will provide attendees with vitally important information to properly assess current and future market conditions based on the decisions Congress may make this year. As America’s highways, roads, and bridges fall further into a state of disrepair, and the revenues flowing into the Highway Trust Fund are no longer capable of supporting the current rate of federal highway spending, steering our nation’s transportation financial system back into the black with enough funding to meet current and future needs will be critical to the long-term viability of the asphalt pavement industry.

Registration for the NAPA Midyear Meeting and educational program is open to NAPA members and other industry personnel. More information on the meeting and online registration is available at http://www.hotmix.org/.

EPA Awards California $440 Million in ARRA Funds for Water Infrastructure Projects

In a move that stands to create jobs, boost local economies, improve aging water and wastewater infrastructure and protect human health and the environment for the people in the State of California, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $440 million to California. This new infusion of money provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) will help the state and local governments finance many of the overdue improvements to water projects that are essential to protecting public health and the environment across the state.

“This remarkable opportunity to provide much-needed support for sustainable water and energy-efficient drinking water and wastewater systems throughout the U.S. is unprecedented,” said Laura Yoshii, EPA acting regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This funding will allow California to identify its highest infrastructure priorities, protect human health and surface water quality, address climate change, and create critical green jobs as a foundation for a sustainable future.”

The State Water Resources Control Board’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund(CWSRF) program for wastewater treatment, pollution control and estuary management projects was awarded $280 million. It provides low-interest loans for water quality protection projects for wastewater treatment, non-point source pollution control, and watershed and estuary management.

The California Department of Public Health’s Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SDWSRF) program received $159 million for drinking-water infrastructure improvements. It provides low-interest loans for drinking water systems to finance infrastructure improvements. The program also emphasizes providing funds to small and disadvantaged communities and to programs that encourage pollution prevention as a tool for ensuring safe drinking water.

Top priority will go to projects in disadvantaged communities – where the population makes 80 percent or less of the state median household income.

“This money is wonderful for those communities that don’t have the ability to pay back those loans,” said Barbara Evoy, deputy director of the State Water Resources Control Board. “The jobs they need in those areas are extra important, and we’re very happy to solve a water-quality problem as well as help in job creation.”

The size of projects vying to receive grants or loans varies from $8,000 to install water meters in the Adams Springs Water District in Lake County to $22 million for a similar, though much larger, project in the city of Sacramento.

The money is expected to spur hundreds of new water infrastructure projects as well as jump-start those stalled by California’s budget disaster, state and federal officials said.

The award is a share of the unprecedented $6 billion dollars in water system improvement funds that will be awarded to water and wastewater infrastructure projects across the country under the Recovery Act in the form of low-interest loans, principal forgiveness and grants. At least 20% of the funds provided under the Recovery Act are to be used for green infrastructure, water and energy efficiency improvements and other environmentally innovative projects.

$1.5 Billion In TIGER Discretionary Grants Available For Capital Investment In Surface Transportation Projects

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced the availability of $1.5 billion in Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grants for capital investment in surface transportation projects. Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis to projects that have a significant impact on the nation, a region or metropolitan area a
nd can create jobs and benefit economically distressed areas.

“TIGER discretionary funding will open up the door to many new innovative and cutting-edge transportation projects,” said Secretary LaHood. “This is exciting news and I believe that these projects will promote greater mobility, a cleaner environment and more livable communities.”

Applications for TIGER discretionary grants must be submitted by September 15, 2009, from state and local governments, including U.S. territories, tribal governments, transit agencies, port authorities and others. Comments on the criteria must be received by June 1, 2009.

The grants can range from $20 million up to $300 million to support high impact transportation projects. Secretary LaHood can waive the minimum grant requirement for beneficial projects in smaller cities, regions or states. The U.S. Department of Transportation will require rigorous economic justifications for projects over $100 million. To ensure responsible spending, the department will require all fund recipients to report on their activities on a routine basis.

The solicitation published in the May 18th Federal Register provides clear criteria for the department to make merit-based decisions on the new discretionary program.

Primary selection criteria include contributing to the medium to long-term economic competitiveness of the nation, improving the condition of existing transportation facilities and systems, improving the quality of living and working environments through livable communities, improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the safety of U.S. transportation facilities.

The Department will also give priority to projects that are expected to quickly create and preserve jobs and stimulate rapid increases in economic activity, especially projects that will benefit economically distressed areas.

Note: To view the Federal Register, please go here. Look under Transportation Department, Notices: funding Availability; Request for Comments on Grant Criteria; Supplemental Discretionary Grants for Capital Investments in Surface Transportation Infrastructure.

Greg Sitek