Congress approves a much bigger EPA budget
November 2, 2009

A conference committee of members from the House of Representatives and the Senate agreed to increase the EPA's budget by 36% next year, including $2.1 billion for clean water state revolving funds (which are used for municipal wastewater improvements) and $1.38 billion for drinking water state revolving funds.

Air quality versus water quality
November 3, 2009

A New York Times story suggests that air-quality regulations on coal-fired power plants are causing pollution that once went out smokestacks to find its way into rivers and streams as water-based pollution-control systems are installed to scrub power-plant emissions.

We can help you with products for power plants and industrial wastewater treatment equipment to help reduce the impact of air-pollution controls on water. Please feel free to contact us with your questions.

Another step forward for a South Dakota oil refinery
November 4, 2009

Tests of the water at the site where the Hyperion Energy Center oil refinery is to be built have come back telling a favorable story for the refinery. Oil processing requires a considerable amount of water, and the high-quality water from the glacial aquifer there appears to be good enough for the plant to use.

We can help you with products for oil and ethanol processing facilities, particularly related to their water and energy use. Please feel free to contact us with your questions.

At the state water convention
November 5, 2009

Water professionals attending the Nebraska state AWWA convention in Kearney this week had the opportunity to hear two of our presentations -- one on maintenance best practices, and the other on preserving institutional memory. We are enthusiastic about offering these presentations at our local shows and conferences, and about receiving feedback about those same presentations. We have developed a considerable base of expertise about a number of topics in water treatment over our more than 31 years in the industry.

Nebraska's best-tasting water
November 6, 2009

The Lincoln Water System won the contest for "best-tasting water in Nebraska" at the state AWWA convention in Kearney this week. The contest and conference were well-covered by the state's news media, including the Omaha World-Herald, the Kearney Hub, the Grant Tribune-Sentinel, NTV, and KHAS-TV.

We are proud to support the Nebraska Section AWWA and to participate on the public-information committee.

Optical dissolved oxygen (DO) sensors versus electrolyte-based systems
November 9, 2009

Analytical Technology, Inc. (ATI) recently introduced an dissolved-oxygen monitor using an optical sensor in lieu of the conventional electrolyte-and-membrane system which they've offered for many years. Both systems are available with the Auto-Clean system which ATI developed to provide consistent, reliable cleaning of the sensor head, since DO monitors are usually installed in heavy-fouling applications. In a four-month test, both types of sensors have proven themselves to be highly reliable and almost identical in performance. This means that ATI can deliver an effective optical DO sensor for those who want one, but also that those who consider the optical sensor an "upgrade" should be aware that they might not need to spend extra to get high performance.

We can help you with your questions about and requests for quotes on DO monitors. Just visit our DO monitor inquiry page and let us know what you need.

Finding solutions for power outages
November 10, 2009

The city of Stanley, Iowa, has attracted Iowa DNR attention after pumping untreated wastewater into a field following a power outage that knocked out its main pumping station. Whether the DNR will end up penalizing the city is yet to be seen, but it could happen since the DNR has done so on previous occasions with other cities. The potential for expensive fines and other liabilities can make portable lift stations and engine-backup lift stations very attractive as insurance policies against power outages.

A new recreational lake for central Nebraska could be forthcoming
November 11, 2009

Nebraska's Central Platte NRD is working on a project to develop a reservoir for flood control and recreational use between Lexington and Kearney. Most of the area currently proposed for the reservoir is farmland, but the intent of the project would be to create a 100-year-flood barrier for the town of Elm Creek, along with recreational features to make the project more useful to the region. Much discussion and debate is left to be handled before anything moves forward.

Engineers and others working on flood-control projects should feel free to contact us with their questions about products like water-control gates, including those for sophisticated applications like upstream level control and downstream level control, as well as much more common applications like sluice gates.

The smallest threats to water
November 12, 2009

Students and faculty at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln heard about nanoparticles and the threat they pose to water supplies thanks to a visit from a visiting professor from Virginia Tech. The field of nanoscience is extremely promising for some of the benefits it could deliver -- like extremely effective energy storage. But their tiny scale means that we don't know much about how many nanoparticles will behave when they interact with water on the molecular level.

Virginia power outage hits water supplies
November 13, 2009

A major storm in Virginia has left hundreds of thousands of people without power and caused at least one community to ask residents to cut their water use until the power can be restored. Power outages can cause booster stations to become useless, which in turn means water pressure can't be supplied to a municipal system. It can also mean that wastewater lift stations end up out of commission as well -- which can become a serious threat to health and safety. That's why we offer engine-backup lift stations and portable trailer-mounted lift stations that can be deployed in case of emergency to provide reliable service even when the power goes out.

Water towers as a community landmark
November 16, 2009

The Grand Island Independent reports that a community group in Elba, Nebraska, is trying to buy an obsolete water tower from the city to keep it in place as a community landmark. They are trying to buy the existing 35,000-gallon tower for $5000, which the city wants to get off its balance sheet since the tower will require regular repainting and other maintenance. As we've noted previously in connection with this story, water towers are often viewed as landmarks and marketing tools in addition to serving their role as essential tools within a muncipal water system.

Water towers (or elevated water storage tanks) require the help of pumps to get water from at and below ground level up to the top of the tank, and many are fed with the help of our pressure-booster stations. Please feel free to contact us with your questions.

Leaks and losses form an "invisible river"
November 17, 2009

The city of Pittsburgh is not unlike many American cities and towns in that it has a water system in need of extensive repairs and upgrades. A recent article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette declared that the city's water system leaks "an invisible river" as it loses 1.5 gallons to leaks and free users for every gallon it sells to a paying customer. The city's independent public water authority has a debt burden larger than that of the city government itself. While Pittsburgh may be in a more dire situation than many communities, it's not alone in having expensive obligations ahead for capital repairs and upgrades -- without a lot of money to carry those out.

We can help communities find cost-efficient products for water treatment and pumping, including high-efficiency pumps that save thousands of dollars in energy every year for some of our clients. Please feel free to contact us with your questions.

Major water-plant security bill passes US House
November 18, 2009

The House of Representatives has approved the Chemical and Water Security Act of 2009 (HR 2868), passing the bill along now to the Senate for review and approval. Among the bill's provisions are requirements that water and wastewater treatment plants conduct vulnerability assessments for their chemical storage facilities, as well as their pumping and computer systems. The legislation has specifically attracted attention due to the potential effects it will have on the use of gaseous chlorine, which is commonly used for water disinfection.

Life-cycle equipment costs matter
November 19, 2009

The town of Pontiac, Illinois, just approved the purchase of a pump to replace a Gorman-Rupp pump from 1976 at their wastewater-treatment plant. That's a 33-year-old pump. When plants and wastewater-collection systems are being designed, the engineers and operators involved can't just consider the up-front costs of their equipment -- they have to evaluate the life-cycle costs of repairs and replacements. A 33-year life cycle -- not even extraordinary by Gorman-Rupp self-priming pump standards -- can mean a vastly lower total cost of ownership than a pump that has a cheaper purchase price.

Heroic water workers in Nebraska
November 20, 2009

Two employees of the Lower Platte North NRD in eastern Nebraska have been recognized for their heroic work that saved the life of a co-worker who got caught in a pipe used to regulate water levels in a farm pond near Wahoo.

Safety is always our first priority when working on a jobsite, and incidents like these are always at the tops of our minds.

EPA fines Iowa feedlot $25,000 for water pollution
November 23, 2009

The EPA has fined a northwest Iowa cattle feedlot $25,000 for violating the Clean Water Act by "allowing manure and wastewater to discharge into the West Branch of the Floyd River." Runoff from agricultural sources -- including feedlots and cropland where animal manure has been land-applied -- is a major concern for Midwestern water quality, since so much land is given over to agricultural use. Water from storms there frequently passes directly into rivers and streams that are used for public water supplies.

We can help you with lagoon liners and stormwater containment equipment to help control runoff from confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), as well as erosion controls. Please feel free to contact us with your questions.

Nebraska's oldest ethanol plant turns 25
November 24, 2009

The Chief Ethanol plant at Hastings, Nebraska, is celebrating its 25th anniversary, making it the state's oldest dry-mill ethanol-production plant. The plant produces 70 million of the state's 1.6 billion gallons of ethanol each year.

We can help you with equipment for ethanol plants, including high-service pumps and flow monitors. Please feel free to contact us with your questions.

Flood debris collection ends in Cedar Rapids
November 25, 2009

Almost a year and a half after the floods of 2008 did enormous damage to the city of Cedar Rapids, the debris-collection period is drawing to a close. Almost 42,000 tons of debris were collected, according to the city. Flood-recovery efforts continue throughout eastern Iowa, and some things will, of course, never be the same. But one major change is that many communities have looked at (or already purchased) portable pumping stations for both sanitary-sewer control and flood mitigation. Unlike power generators, which are fixed to the pump stations they serve, portable pump stations can be used anywhere a community needs them. They can be deployed rapidly and serve in a variety of functions to keep a community protected during times of emergency.

Our office will be closed for Thanksgiving
November 26, 2009

Our office is closed for Thanksgiving, but as always, we can be reached in an emergency through our emergency paging system. We wish you a happy Thanksgiving.

Pesticides in the water remain level with 10 years ago
November 30, 2009

The USGS has conducted a study which concludes that concentrations of pesticides in the waters of the Corn Belt (of which Iowa and Nebraska are anchors) are at roughly the same levels as they were ten years ago, and have even declined in some cases. The most impressive part of this news is that the pesticide rates appear to have remained stable even as production has risen by about 30%. Irrigation -- especially for corn production -- is the single biggest use for water in Nebraska. Public water supply and domestic use aren't even close.

Product insight: We sell a wide range of pumps and other products for agricultural applications, including pumps for difficult jobs like pumping manure. Contact us for more information.

Past water and wastewater news updates

last revised November 2009