WaterBriefs: House proposes dramatic cut to key clean water program

Also in this report: PBS&J, EIP Associates merge; Aqua America Va. plant wins award; Parsons gets $200M Army Corps contract; Ark. researchers develop satellite water monitoring; Zenon stockholders approve GE buy; HRG water reuse project wins award; Poseidon desalination research recognized; Halliburton expands fluid management with new technology; American Water signs acquisitions, service contracts; ICC, IAPMO to develop joint plumbing, mechanical codes; Devcon completes Guardian merger...

In other news below:
-- PBS&J announces merger with EIP Associates
-- Lake Monticello treatment plant earns award for water quality
-- Army Corps picks Parsons for $200M environmental contract
-- Mexico infrastructure event spotlights top water, wastewater projects
-- South American market for process, environmental equipment on upswing
-- Engineering researchers develop innovative system to monitor water quality
-- Zenon stockholders approve GE transaction
-- HRG's water reuse project wins national award
-- Poseidon pulls in national award for Carlsbad desalination project
-- Halliburton's Total Fluid Management services expand with new technology
-- Charges filed against Menominee wastewater plant manager for illegal discharges
-- American Water continues to grow by acquisition, service
-- ICC, IAPMO tentatively agree on key elements of joint plumbing, mechanical codes
-- Emergency Environmental Rentals launches in Boston
-- Devcon completes merger with Guardian International

House proposes dramatic cut to key clean water program -- NACWA seeks support for Clean Water Trust Act of 2005, H.R. 4560 -- WASHINGTON, DC, May 5, 2006 -- The U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies today released its budget proposal for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for fiscal year 2007, which bolstered the Administration's request to cut funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund program (from $887 million to $688 million). This puts the CWSRF at $200 million below FY2006 levels and 50% below its high mark of $1.35 billion in FY 2004. The CWSRF, a loan program that helps local communities repair and replace aging treatment plants, has been the primary source of federal support for clean water infrastructure projects since its creation in 1987.

These cuts, according to the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), remain untenable given studies by the EPA, Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Government Accountability Office (GAO), and Water Infrastructure Network (WIN), estimating a water infrastructure funding gap exceeding $300 billion over the next 20 years. Given this mounting funding gap, NACWA believes it is untenable for the federal government to cut support for clean water in America. While NACWA believes that improved utility management and rate increases at the local level are critical to addressing this daunting funding gap, the Association is also calling on Congress and the White House to support the recently introduced Clean Water Trust Act of 2005, H.R. 4560. H.R. 4560 is landmark legislation that would create a deficit-neutral, clean water trust fund to guarantee clean and safe water in America for the long-term.

H.R. 4560, which was introduced by Chairman John Duncan, Jr., of the House Subcommittee on Water Resources & Environment, would provide approximately $7.5 billion a year from 2006 -- 2010 in loans and grants to cities, counties, towns and townships to address the backlog of critical clean water projects, meet unfunded mandates, and improve utility management based on state-determined priorities. The Clean Water Trust Act of 2005 also will enhance fisheries, encourage research, spur new technologies, and protect critical regional waters such as the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay and Gulf of Mexico. Chairman Duncan has also sent a Dear Colleague letter seeking co-sponsors for this legislation this week.

Responding to the House Subcommittee and the Administration's actions, Ken Kirk, NACWA's Executive Director, stated that "this proposed budget cut to the CWSRF is the wrong measure at the wrong time. Without a long-term, sustainable federal-state-local partnership communities will not be able to tackle essential capital replacement projects needed to meet federal Clean Water Act mandates and improve the quality of the nation's waters. H.R. 4560, on the other hand, would ensure funding for the CWSRF and guarantee a meaningful federal re-commitment to achieving the lofty goals of the 1972 Clean Water Act."

Facing similar shortfalls in funding for critical national infrastructure, Congress has established trust funds supported by dedicated revenue sources. Congressionally established trust funds for highway infrastructure ($30 billion/year) and airport infrastructure ($8 billion/year) provide a strong precedent for moving forward with a similar trust fund for clean and safe water. NACWA, together with a broad array of stakeholder groups, will work aggressively with Congress and the Administration -- to ensure full funding for the CWSRF and to establish a trust fund dedicated to clean and safe water in America.

NACWA (www.nacwa.org) is a national trade association based in the nation's capital representing hundreds of the nation's publicly owned wastewater treatment utilities. Its members serve the majority of the sewered population in the United States and collectively treat and reclaim over 18 billion gallons of wastewater every day. The members are environmental practitioners dedicated to protecting and improving the nation's waters and public health.

Among other recent headlines:

PBS&J announces merger with EIP Associates -- ORLANDO, FL, May 5, 2006 -- Today, PBS&J announced a merger with EIP Associates, a 100-person environmental services consulting firm headquartered in Sacramento, CA. EIP will become the firm's California Sciences and Planning Division. Founded in 1968, EIP is today a leading provider of environmental, urban planning, water resource planning, and natural resources services...

Lake Monticello treatment plant earns award for water quality -- RICHMOND, VA, May 4, 2006 -- The Virginia Department of Health's Office of Drinking Water recently recognized Aqua Virginia Inc. with its Excellence in Waterworks Performance Award. In winning the 2005 Bronze Award, Aqua's Lake Monticello water treatment plant was among a select group of facilities that produced filtered water in every month of 2005 that was significantly cleaner than required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulatory standards. Aqua officials accepted the honor at a ceremony in Roanoke. Since acquiring the water system in July 2003, said Aqua Division Manager Greg Odell, it invested over $1 million to improve the plant's performance, including addition of a pre-sedimentation basin and 3 million-gallon tank to collect water and store it from the Rivanna River when the river's water quality is at its highest level. With increased storage capacity, it's able to stop using river water when the quality drops or in case a spill occurs upstream from the plant. The plant uses new laser-based measuring equipment to enhance filtration...
Also see: "Aqua America celebrates national drinking water week: Americans tap into about 341 billion gallons of water every day"

Parsons selected by Army Corps of Engineers to participate in a $200 million environmental remediation services contract --PASADENA, CA, May 4, 2006 -- Parsons was selected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Sacramento District to participate in a $200 million shared capacity Environmental Remediation Services (ERS) contract. This 5-year Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract will be firm-fixed-price or cost-plus-fixed-fee to ensure the Corps receives the best value. Under the contract, Parsons will provide program management; subcontractor management and procurement; Hazardous, Toxic, and Radioactive Waste (HTRW) investigations, studies and design; Munitions and Explosives of Concern (MEC)/Chemical Warfare Materiel (CWM) investigations and avoidance recommendations; engineering; remedial action; construction management; operations and maintenance; health and safety; and quality control services. The contract covers sites within the United States and its outlying territories...

Top water, wastewater projects highlighted at Mexico infrastructure event -- WASHINGTON, DC, May 5, 2006 -- The Mexico Leadership Forum offers a unique opportunity to get to know the leaders of key Mexican water projects. These projects will be presented as part of the May 23 event in Mexico City at the Torre Mayor -- the tallest building in Latin America. The North American Development Bank joins the Puebla State government in overseeing the presentation of a series of water projects. The top three are worth over $300 million...

South American market for process, environmental equipment on upswing -- NORTHFIELD, IL, May 4, 2006 -- Demand for Brazilian ethanol and Chilean metals are two reasons for a forecast for healthy growth in process and environmental equipment in Latin America. The market for pumps will grow from $2B this year to $2.8B in 2010 in all countries of the Americas except the U.S. and Canada, in the latest online forecast in the McIlvaine report, "Pumps: World Markets." Another online report, "Valves: World Markets," predicts annual sales of valves in Latin America will rise from $3.2B to $3.9B by 2010. And 25% of all the process equipment used by the mining industry will be delivered to Latin America over each of the next four years...

Engineering researchers develop innovative system to monitor water quality -- Researchers develop innovative system to monitor water quality in near real-time and at less expense -- FAYETTEVILLE, AK, May 4, 2006 -- Engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have developed an innovative system for obtaining important water-quality information on a near real-time basis and at much less expense than current methods. Using photographic images from a satellite and hand-held multispectral camera, researchers in the College of Engineering's department of biological and agricultural engineering have built mathematical models that accurately predict sediment loads and nutrient content in Beaver Lake, the source of drinking water for more than 280,000 people in Northwest Arkansas...

Zenon stockholders approve GE transaction -- OAKVILLE, Ontario, Canada, May 4, 2006 -- Zenon Environmental Inc. announced today that its securityholders approved the acquisition of the outstanding securities of the company by a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Electric Co. at a special meeting held May 3. Over 95% of the votes cast were in favor of the arrangement involving GE and the associated continuance of Zenon as an Alberta company. Under the terms of the Arrangement, shareholders will receive $24 cash for each common and non-voting Class A Zenon share...

HRG's water reuse project wins national award -- Largest operational water reuse project of its kind in the U.S. Northeast is one of just 16 projects from around the globe to receive ACEC Engineering Excellence honor award -- STATE COLLEGE, PA, May 3, 2006 -- Herbert, Rowland & Grubic Inc. (HRG) is proud to announce that the University Area Joint Authority (UAJA) Beneficial Reuse project has received national recognition through the Engineering Excellence Awards competition sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC). This innovative wastewater treatment design, which is the largest operational water reuse project of its kind in the U.S. Northeast, was one of just 16 projects from around the globe to receive honor awards. The annual ACEC Engineering Excellence Awards competition accepts entries for projects in operation anywhere in the world and only grants a maximum of 24 awards...

Poseidon pulls in national award for Carlsbad desalination project -- STAMFORD, CT, May 3, 2006 -- Poseidon Resources Inc., a U.S. water project development company, won the prestigious 2006 Grand Prize for Excellence in Research awarded every year by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers for innovation in the field of environmental engineering. In 2003, Poseidon Resources built a seawater desalination demonstration plant in Carlsbad, CA, and completed a comprehensive multi-year applied research program focused on breaking the environmental and cost barriers to affordable production of fresh water from the ocean. The company is in the process of implementing the results of their research for the development of several large seawater desalination plants along the California coast...

Halliburton to acquire rotary vacuum dryter technology, expanding its Total Fluid Management services -- HOUSTON, TX, May 3, 2006 -- Halliburton Fluid Systems, a division of Halliburton's Energy Services Group, has acquired all patents, intellectual property, current assets and existing business associated with the unique Rotary Vacuum Dryer (RVD) technology. When added to Halliburton's Baroid Surface Solutions™ product line, the renamed RotaVac™ RVD technology will complement its existing SupaVac™ waste management technology and expand Halliburton's drilling waste management product portfolio. The RotaVac system enables operators to meet environmental compliance requirements by reducing drilling waste and recovering reusable drilling fluids. It requires less manpower and less maintenance than other drying systems, and offers these benefits without the use of large centrifugal force drying packages, minimizing the footprint required on the rig...
Also see:
-- "KBR completes sale of Aberdeen-based Production Services Business"
-- "KBR files registration statement for initial public offering"

Charges filed against Menominee wastewater plant manager for illegal discharges -- LANSING, MI, May 3, 2006 -- Attorney General Mike Cox announced today the filing of charges and arraignment of William St. Martin, the plant manager of the Menominee Waste Water Treatment Plant, for illegally discharging under-treated sewage into the Menominee River and then falsifying documents to support legal discharges. The five-count complaint alleges that between the months of January and June 2005, St. Martin falsified documents required under the plant's pollution permit in order to hide accurate data that would have indicated excessive levels of fecal coliform released into the river...

American Water continues to grow by acquisition, service -- VORHEES, NJ, May 2, 2006 -- American Water, the largest water services provider in North America, continued to grow in 2005 and is off to a strong start this year partnering with communities to deliver reliable water and water-related services that benefit municipalities and help foster economic sustainability. Last year the company expanded its regulated footprint and secured over 50 contracts adding new business through a variety of non-regulated service agreements in bulk water sales, water and wastewater system operations and maintenance, and sewer billing and collections. So far this year, American Water closed five acquisitions and signed 10 service contracts, and the company is poised to continue growing by acquisition and by providing other value-added services...

ICC, IAPMO tentatively agree on key elements of joint plumbing, mechanical codes -- FALLS CHURCH, VA, May 1, 2006 -- The International Code Council (ICC) and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) announced today that they have reached tentative agreement on certain key elements of a venture to jointly develop one plumbing code and one mechanical code for use by the entire nation. Both organizations emphasized that this is a tentative agreement, and that any final agreement will require resolution of a number of important implementation issues. If the remaining issues are resolved, both organizations intend to hold meetings throughout the country educating their members about the benefits of the new relationship...

Emergency Environmental Rentals launches in Boston area -- WAKEFIELD, MA, May 1, 2006 -- Licensed site professionals (LSP) in the Metro Boston area now have the option of renting the equipment they may need for onsite hazardous waste cleanup thanks to the launch of Emergency Environmental Rentals Inc. located in Wakefield, MA.

Devcon completes merger with Guardian International -- BOCA RATON, FL, March 6, 2006 -- Devcon International Corp. today announced that it and Devcon Acquisition Inc., an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary, have completed a merger agreement in which Devcon has acquired all of the outstanding capital stock of Guardian International Inc., a leading provider of electronic security services throughout Florida and the greater New York metropolitan area, for an estimated aggregate cash price of about $65.5 million, including certain Guardian debt obligations and expenses. The merger was approved by shareholders of Guardian on Feb. 24. Devcon has been expanding its efforts in electronic security services in the past year with acquisitions also of Adelphia Security and Coastal Security...

***

In earlier newsbriefs, see: "WaterBriefs: Mar Cor Purification acquires Fluid Solutions Inc." -- Also in this report (May 2, 2006): Philadelphia Mixing Solutions chooses new general manager of Environmental Division; Frost & Sullivan honors companies for excellence in industrial technologies; LeHigh professor receives Humboldt Research Award for nanotechnology studies; Armtec reaches distribution agreement with CONTECH Stormwater; Gorman-Rupp unveils new website; Ontario water report dangerously flawed; Several final, proposed federal water rules due this year; Fuji Keizai releases reports on water resource market in Japan; GE's Predator program helps refineries reduce crude oil costs...

###

More in Environmental