Closed for Independence Day
July 4, 2011


Our office will be closed for Independence Day today, but you can always contact us in an emergency if necessary.

New aerial photos from the flood zone
July 5, 2011

The Iowa State Patrol has released a set of aerial photos from a flyover of the Missouri River flood zone conducted on Saturday. Some of the most dramatic are right from the heart of some of our recent project work -- including a shot of the Burlington Northern railroad just outside Pacific Junction, which is normally safe on dry land but appears almost to be floating atop a lake. We were in Pacific Junction and Glenwood shortly before the onset of flooding, helping Glenwood with a backup pump system to keep its water-treatment plant online. There should be no question why Interstate 29 is closed in southwestern Iowa, since it is completely submerged in places. Further downstream, you can see that Highway 2 is completely washed out between Waubonsie State Park in Iowa and Nebraska City across the river -- where we recently started up a raw-water pumping system to keep the water-treatment plant in operation during the floods. Further downstream, it's easy to see how Hamburg has been directly threatened. Huge stretches of farmland are under water.

This flooding is expected to persist well into the fall, and perhaps even into winter. Throughout that time, we are at the service of any communities needing our assistance with flood-control pumps, whether temporary or permanent in nature, and for any other assistance they may need to keep their water-treatment and wastewater-treatment plants in operation.

Introducing portable hydraulic submersible pumps
July 6, 2011

Portable submersible hydraulic pumps satisfy a particular need for pumping in lift-station bypass operations, flood control, and lagoon pumpdown -- in addition to many other applications -- where the water level is 25' or more below the ground elevation, but where electricity isn't readily available. Available atmospheric pressure usually prohibits above-ground engine-driven pumps from lifting water more than about 25' from the water level to the pump. Those deeper applications usually call for submersible pumps, but sometimes electricity isn't available -- or using it to drive an electric-powered submersible pump may present a safety hazard.

Recycling a launch pad -- into pipe
July 18, 2011

One of the Space Shuttle launch pads is being recycled into new cast iron pipe:

Metals are routinely recycled into new materials, and even though it may be a sad moment from a historical perspective that the launch pad is being scrapped, nothing can be done about that -- it's a matter of what the nation's space priorities are. But when a news anchor turns up his nose at what the metal will be used to do in the future, he shouldn't. First off, water and sewer lines may not be very glamorous, but they're among the most essential building blocks of a civilized society. He's welcome to go off and dig his own latrine if he thinks otherwise.

Secondly, it's good to see American metals being recycled successfully here. Chinese manufacturers of cast iron have been putting serious pressure on domestic suppliers, and some of those Chinese manufacturers have been putting inferior cast iron into the products they've been selling to the United States. Quality control on those imported cast iron products may be so bad that it puts projects at risk of catastrophic failure. So, while turning launch pads into water mains may sound inglorious, it's quite likely the right thing for America.

I-29 may reopen by the end of 2011...or it might not
July 27, 2011

A considerable stretch of Interstate 29 in Iowa is closed south of the Council Bluffs area due to flooding. The state's highway maintenance director says it's possible that the freeway could re-open this year, but much depends upon unknown circumstances, like erosion to bridge pilings. Bridges across the Missouri River near the Interstate are also going to require serious and prolonged inspection for the same kind of damage. The roadway is in many places the only thing above water, which also calls into question the stability of the roadbed beneath. Our thoughts are with the many people displaced by the flooding, and we remain ready to assist with pumps, gates, and other products that will be useful during the recovery.

Past water and wastewater news updates

last revised July 2011