WaterBriefs: U.S. District Court upholds St. Joe Company on watershed issue

Also in this report: HDR acquires Daniel Frankfurt PC; EPCOR, British Columbia share award for Britannia Mine WWTP; Bostik expands floor coatings with AgION antimicrobial; Harrisburg U. offers chemistry courses for PA DEP exam; Aquionics sponsors Wooster Operations Challenge team; Nashua plans offer for Pennichuck; PCSF seeks feedback on March meeting; MicroSludge earns Paradigm Environmental top Canadian award; Prospero gains water-to-energy platform; Itron completes Flow Metrix buy...

In other news below:
-- HDR acquires Daniel Frankfurt PC
-- EPCOR, British Columbia share award for Britannia Mine Water Treatment Plant
-- Bostik Inc. expands line of floor coatings with AgION antimicrobial
-- Harrisburg U. offers chemistry courses for PA DEP certification exam
-- Aquionics sponsors Wooster City National Operations Challenge Team
-- Newspaper article reports Nashua plans to make offer to buy Pennichuck
-- Survey seeks feedback on process control tracks for PCSF's March meeting
-- MicroSludge earns Paradigm Environmental top Canadian award
-- Prospero acquires water-and-energy platform
-- Wetlands poll confirms national support for oil & gas revenue sharing
-- Buffalo study finds still more tax base gains from watershed cleanups
-- Pionetics establishes subsidiary in India
-- Itron selects Dan Pfeiffer as new regulatory affairs director
-- Lexington voters reject Kentucky American water takeover

U.S. District Court upholds St. Joe Company regional general permit for 48,150 acres in Walton, Bay counties -- Court vacates preliminary injunction, rejects legal challenge from Natural Resources Defense Council, Florida Sierra Club --

JACKSONVILLE, FL, Nov. 21, 2006 -- The St. Joe Company today announced that a U.S. District Court in Jacksonville has upheld a Regional General Permit (RGP) issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in 2004 to implement large-scale environmental and development planning for 48,150 acres in Walton and Bay Counties. The court rejected a legal challenge brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Florida Sierra Club against the USACE seeking to stop implementation of this watershed-level approach to environmental permitting.

In rejecting the legal challenge, the court vacated its previously granted injunction halting further implementation of the RGP. The legal action has had only a minimal effect to date on JOE's real estate development activity.

"We believe that the court made the wise and correct decision today in vacating the preliminary injunction, rejecting the legal challenge and allowing the RGP to proceed as planned,"said Peter S. Rummell, chairman and CEO of JOE. "The RGP is the result of a lot of time and hard work by a large coalition of local citizens, leaders, local and national environmental groups and JOE in an effort to create a model for large-scale ecological protection across an entire region, which encompasses multiple watersheds. It took a commitment to the environment and to our future. The RGP is also the result of an interagency comprehensive regional planning effort in which the USACE, State of Florida, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and JOE participated."

More than 70% of the land covered by the RGP, approximately 33,000 acres that includes high quality wetlands, will be permanently protected. Development is allowed on only 30% of the land, or approximately 15,000 acres. "Protection of water resources is critical to ensure the high-quality of the surface water for the residents of the region," said Rummell. "The plan implemented by this RGP also creates a wildlife corridor extending from Choctawhatchee Bay to St. Andrews Bay to protect and preserve forever the ecological integrity and biological diversity of one of Northwest Florida's most important watersheds."

"Environmental planning should extend beyond the lifespan of one landowner, one company or one group," said Rummell. "We believe the planning framework implemented with this permit, which goes well beyond customary regulatory requirements, provides permanent protection for some of the most environmentally sensitive areas in Northwest Florida, safeguards important water resources and protects the beauty and environmental integrity of the region for generations to come."

The St. Joe Company (www.joe.com), a publicly held company based in Jacksonville, is one of Florida's largest real estate operating companies. It's primarily engaged in real estate development and sales, with significant interests in timber.

---

Among other recent headlines:

HDR acquires Daniel Frankfurt PC -- OMAHA, NE, Nov. 21, 2006 -- HDR Engineering Inc., a leading architecture-engineering-consulting firm, has acquired Daniel Frankfurt PC, an architecture-engineering firm based in New York City with offices in Hartford, CT, and Newark, NJ. The company employs 135 people.Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Going forward, Daniel Frankfurt will conduct business as HDR/Daniel Frankfurt. Under the new corporate structure as senior vice president, former Daniel Frankfurt president Neil Lucey will run the metro area transportation practice, with Jeffrey Han and Pasquale Tulino as senior vice presidents.The Daniel Frankfurt acquisition increases HDR's workforce by over 50% in the New York-New Jersey region. HDR has offices in Goshen, New York City, Nyack, Pearl River, Wappingers Falls and White Plains, NY, and Newark, NJ...
Also see: "Two join HDR Water Business Group: Industry veterans Susan Gilbert, Wayne Lindsay become part of waster and wastewater business practice"

EPCOR, British Columbia share award for Britannia Mine Water Treatment Plant -- EDMONTON, AB, Canada, Nov. 21, 2006 -- The Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships is recognizing EPCOR and the Government of British Columbia for an innovative partnership that is ending a century of heavy metal pollution in B.C.'s Howe Sound. The Council presented the partners with the Gold Award for Infrastructure for the Britannia Mine Water Treatment facility. Located on B.C.'s Sea-to-Sky Highway, this water treatment plant is now capturing and removing thousands of tonnes of heavy metal contaminants from the historic Britannia Mine, including 166,000 kilograms of copper per year -- the equivalent of 70 million pennies.
Also see: "EPCOR delivers heavy metal solution for B.C.'s Britannia Mine"

Bostik Inc. expands line of floor coatings with AgION antimicrobial -- Silver-based antimicrobial added to additional floor coatings in company's Durabond line -- MIDDLETON, MA, & WAKEFIELD, MA, Nov. 21, 2006 -- AgION Technologies, a leading provider of silver-based antimicrobial solutions, has announced an expansion of its partnership with Bostik, one of the largest manufacturers of adhesives and sealants in the world. Bostik is now incorporating the AgION® antimicrobial into its Durabond D250™ Moisture Vapor Barrier Coating and Durabond D261™ Extreme Moisture Vapor Barrier Coating. Bostik began its partnership with AgION in 2004 and recently expanded its product line to include the Durabond D1400™ Epoxy for adhering resilient and rubber flooring materials, providing further evidence of growing demand for AgION's silver-based antimicrobial in the construction market. AgION's products protect the coatings against the growth of bacteria, mold and fungus, especially in high risk environments such as food processing and healthcare facilities...

Harrisburg U. offers chemistry courses for PA DEP certification exam -- HARRISBURG, PA, Nov. 21, 2006 -- The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the State Board for Certification of Water and Wastewater Systems Operators administer the Operator Certification Program which affects thousands of certified and non-certified operators working at 7,000 water and wastewater systems. To prepare for the certification exam, general chemistry courses are recommended. Harrisburg University of Science and Technology is now DEP-approved to provide operators with the following courses: Chemistry I and Chemistry II. In addition, to maintain certification, operators must obtain Pennsylvania DEP approved continuing education. These same chemistry courses are approved for continuing education contact hours. Both Chemistry I and II are taught at HU, which is located at 215 Market St. in Harrisburg. These are 4-credit courses (90 DEP contact hours) and seats are available for the Spring Semester, which begins Jan. 16...


Aquionics sponsors Wooster City National Operations Challenge Team -- ERLANGER, KY, Nov. 21, 2006 -- Aquionics recently sponsored the Ohio-based City of Wooster s.C.r.a.p.p.e.r.s. to take part in the WEFTEC Operations Challenge at the Water Environment Federation annual event in Dallas in late October. Aquionics' donation helped cover the team's travel and accommodation expenses. The s.C.r.a.p.p.e.r.s., who are National Operations Challenge Division Two winners, came in a very respectable fourth place at WEFTEC. "We're very happy to have helped out the s.C.r.a.p.p.e.r.s., who are virtually our local team," said Aquionics president Jon McClean. "They have done very well recently, having won all five events in the 2006 Ohio competition as part of the defense of their National Division Two title," he added...


Newspaper article reports Nashua plans to make offer to buy Pennichuck -- MERRIMACK, NH, Nov. 20, 2006 -- Pennichuck Corp. announced that the Nashua Telegraph newspaper in its Saturday, Nov. 18 edition, reported that the city of Nashua plans to make an "offer to buy the company" in an apparent attempt to settle the ongoing eminent domain litigation between the parties. The Telegraph reported that on Nov. 17 the city's board of aldermen voted 10-4 to send the city's attorneys to a settlement conference today at the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to present the proposal. The article did not describe the price that the city proposed to pay, the structure of the transaction including the scope of the assets that the city would acquire, the manner in which the city would finance the transaction, or any other terms. The eminent domain litigation between the parties is scheduled for trial before the PUC in January 2007. The company has vigorously opposed the efforts of the city to acquire its assets by eminent domain and intends to continue to do so, although it has publicly stated its desire to work with the city toward a fair and equitable solution...
Also see: "Pennichuck Water Service Corp. secures contract renewal: Hudson, NH, signs up for extended term"

Critical Infrastructure Protection: Progress coordinating government, private sector efforts varies by sectors -- FALLS CHURCH, VA, Nov. 16, 2006 -- As Hurricane Katrina so forcefully demonstrated, the nation's critical infrastructures and key resources have been vulnerable to a wide variety of threats. Because about 85% of the nation's critical infrastructure is owned by the private sector, it is vital that the public and private sectors work together to protect these assets. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for coordinating a national protection strategy including formation of government and private sector councils as a collaborating tool. The councils, among other things, are to identify their most critical assets, assess the risks they face, and identify protective measures, in sector-specific plans that comply with DHS's National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP). GAO examined: 1) the extent to which these councils have been established; 2) the key facilitating factors and challenges affecting the formation of the councils; and 3) the overall status of the plans and key facilitating factors and challenges encountered in developing them. GAO obtained information by reviewing key documents and conducting interviews with federal and private sector representatives. GAO is not making any recommendations at this time since prior recommendations are still being implemented. Continued monitoring will determine whether further recommendations are warranted...
Also see: "Questionnaire seeks attendee feedback to better define process control solution tracks for PCSF 2007 Annual Meeting in March"

Westin Engineering kicks off $3 million telecommunications upgrade for California Department of Water Resources -- RANCHO CORDOVA, CA, Nov. 16, 2006 -- Westin Engineering Inc. has been awarded a $3 Million design contract by the State of California, Department of Water Resources (DWR) to support the department's upgrade of its aging telecommunications network. This project will include the design of the next generation of DWR's telecommunications network to provide reliable and dependable data communications for mission-critical information systems, video, and security. The network connects State Water Project offices in Sacramento with facilities along the length of the California Aqueduct -- from Lake Oroville in the north to Los Angeles. The existing network began operation in 1986 and was expected to serve the department for 10 to 15 years. As the system ages and replacement parts become difficult to obtain, the need to upgrade the system has become a high priority...
Also see: "Westin, HDR launch website for AwwaRF's Asset Management Research Roadmap Project"

Paradigm Environmental picked as one of Canada's Top Bioproduct, Energy & Environmental Companies -- VANCOUVER, BC, Canada, Nov. 15, 2006 -- Paradigm Environmental Technologies Inc., which includes among its investors Invensys APV, is pleased to announce that it has been chosen by The Ottawa Life Sciences Council (OLSC) as one of this year's finalists for Canada's Top Bioproduct, Energy & Environmental Companies Competition Paradigm Environmental (Vancouver, BC) won for MicroSludge®, a patented waste-to-energy technology for wastewater treatment plants that significantly enhances the anaerobic digestion process, thereby reducing operating costs and increasing plant capacity. Another winner, EcoVu Analytics Inc. (Ottawa, Ontario) provides a broadband, platform technology to remove dilute hydrophobic chemical (organic or metal) contaminants and micro-organisms from source and industrial waters onto a proprietary trapping medium. The 2006/2007 finalists will be presented with their award at BioNorth 2006 and will participate in exclusive investment forums in New York and Boston in January 2007...

Prospero acquires water-and-energy platform -- Buys Mechanically Induced Cavitation (MIC) technology from Cavitation Concepts Corp. for Prospero shares valued at $8 million -- NEW YORK, Nov. 16, 2006 -- Prospero Minerals Corp. announced today that it has acquired the assets of Cavitation Concepts Corp. Ltd., including its breakthrough technology platform, Mechanically Induced Cavitation (MIC). As consideration for these assets, Prospero will issue 10 million restricted shares of its Common Stock, valued at $8,000,000, to Cavitation Concepts. Mechanically Induced Cavitation (MIC) converts energy into multiple end-use products, such as pure water, steam and heat -- all in one process. Prospero intends to commence the building of a Beta Site soon in order to begin commercialization of its newly acquired MIC technology...

Poll confirms national support for oil & gas revenue sharing -- Funds to restore Louisiana wetlands and shore up America's energy coast -- WASHINGTON, DC, Nov. 16, 2006 -- A nationwide poll released today voiced overwhelming support for a national investment in securing our domestic energy supply from offshore Louisiana. 80% of poll respondents believe the federal government should share 50% of revenues generated by offshore oil and gas production with Louisiana and other Gulf Coast producing states to restore and protect their coastlines. The results of a national poll commissioned by America's WETLAND Foundation and conducted by Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, Inc., a prominent national polling firm based in Washington, DC, were released at a press conference on Capitol Hill today. The poll, which was fielded on November 8, 2006, surveyed 1096 people from across the country and focused on the national impact of Louisiana's coastal wetland loss. Survey participants were presented with scenarios describing Louisiana's land loss and asked if the scenario was a convincing reason to support the restoration of America's WETLAND...

Clean waters payoff -- Restore a River, Boost a Tax Base: Buffalo study finds still more gains from cleanups -- BEAULAH, MI, Nov. 16, 2006 -- In its latest e-newsletter, the Michigan Land Use Institute brings you a dollars-and-sense story about cleaning up a bad stretch of New York's Buffalo River. Author Andy Guy, in a visit to Buffalo, NY, finds yet another good economic reason for cleaning up Great Lakes waterways. Andy says a study of property values in that Rust Belt town reveals just how much damage a dirty river does to a tax base -- and the payback a cleanup would provide...

Pionetics establishes subsidiary in India -- R&D, manufacturing facility and distribution hub planned in Bangalore -- SAN CARLOS, CA, Nov. 14, 2006 -- Pionetics, a developer of drinking water treatment products, today announced that it has established a wholly owned subsidiary in India. Pionetics Water Treatment (India) Private Ltd. is based in Bangalore, India, where the company plans to set up a research and development center, manufacturing facility and global distribution hub for its LINX™ Drinking Water System. The LINX Drinking Water System uses Pionetics' patented electrically regenerated ion exchange (LINX) technology to deliver safer and better tasting water more efficiently and at a lower cost than traditional reverse osmosis (RO) technology...

Itron selects Dan Pfeiffer as new regulatory affairs director -- SPOKANE, WA, Nov. 10, 2006 -- Itron Inc. announced today the selection of Dan Pfeiffer as its new Director of Regulatory Affairs. Pfeiffer will oversee Itron's regulatory programs and serve as the company's liaison with federal and state regulators. Prior to coming to Itron, Pfeiffer worked as the policy advisor to the Idaho Public Utilities Commission where he provided the commission with strategic counsel on national and regional policy issues that could impact ratepayers. The bulk of Pfeiffer's career was at Avista Corp, where he served for more than 14 years in the range of regulatory and government relations capacities and represented Avista on Capitol Hill...
Also see: "Itron completes acquisition of Flow Metrix Inc."

Lexington voters reject Kentucky American water takeover -- Electorate chooses status quo on local water utility by decisive 61-39% margin -- VOORHEES, NJ, Nov. 8, 2006 -- Voters in Lexington, KY, on Tuesday rejected local government's attempt to use eminent domain to condemn Kentucky American Water by a decisive 61-39% margin, ending five years of debate over the issue of public vs. private ownership of the local water utility. The overwhelming vote marks the second time voters in Lexington have rejected the arguments for condemnation. The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council voted in 2003 to condemn Kentucky American Water after 17 months of community debate. In November 2004, voters elected a new council that ended the condemnation action in April 2005. Community activists then gathered the required signatures to place referendum on Tuesday's ballot...

***

For previous "WaterBriefs" reports, click here.

###

More in Environmental