WaterBriefs: Toronto wins integrated network award for public works

Also in this report: Aqua America unit buys five Luzerne County, Pa., utility systems for $1.6 million; Colorado Springs Utilities lab achieves LEED Silver rating; Strathkelvin Instruments protects Dutch iron foundry wastewater system; Respirometer monitors bacteria at Yorkshire Water hi-tech pilot plant; California includes $4.2 million of $55.6 million in rural block grants for water...

In other news below, see:
-- Aqua America unit buys five Luzerne County, Pa., utility systems for $1.6 million
-- Colorado Springs Utilities lab achieves LEED Silver rating
-- Strathkelvin Instruments protects Dutch iron foundry wastewater system
-- Respirometer monitors bacteria at Yorkshire Water hi-tech pilot plant
-- California includes $4.2 million of $55.6 million in rural block grants for water

Toronto wins integrated network award for public works
EXTON, PA, July 21, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, has won a 2005 BE Award for its Toronto Water Integrated Network Skeletonization project. The award category was "Geospatial: Public Works."

The BE Awards of Excellence, which are selected by an independent jury of industry experts and presented at an evening ceremony during the annual BE Conference, honor the extraordinary work of Bentley users improving the world's infrastructure. These projects set benchmarks for their industries, and showcase the imagination and technical mastery of the organizations that created them.

From a water model used by engineering and maintenance, the City of Toronto automatically generated a twin model for use by its asset management group. The automation saved the city a great deal of money. As Bob Gaspirc, manager of mapping services for the city, explains, "By enabling us to automatically skeletonize our complex water network from a high level of detail to less granular detail, WaterGEMS allowed us to bridge the data needs of two different user groups, while saving the city over $1 million Canadian."

The City of Toronto's water network includes more than 3,500 miles of water mains, more than 65,000 water valves, almost 42,000 hydrants, and 450,000 service connections. The Survey & Mapping Unit of the city's Technical Services Division maintains an as-built mapping environment that emulates this real-world network using MicroStation GeoGraphics and Bentley Water.

While the detailed network data was ideal for the needs of engineering and maintenance crews, it posed problems for the city's asset management group, which uses the data to model the water network and manage the capital work plan. The increased number of graphic elements and database records required to maintain the physical water network's level of detail added complexity to the asset management group's work. In fact, over time, this complexity threatened to disable all asset management and capital planning activities.

The answer was to create a twin water network with the lower level of detail required for the business of asset management. The twin would be created using a process called skeletonization, in which only those parts of the water network that have a significant impact on system behavior are selected for inclusion in the water distribution model. The cost of this was initially estimated by Toronto to be $600,000 Canadian, with additional downstream maintenance costs of $500,000 Canadian over a 10-year period.

However, Bentley offered the city an alternative solution that was much easier to implement and administer than other approaches - all at a small fraction of the cost. With the WaterGEMS Skelebrator module from Bentley's Haestad Methods product line, the city was able to automatically generate a separate data set to support the business processes of the asset management group. While the physical network contains 307,956 pipes, the new asset management network model contains 76,989 pipes - one quarter the complexity.

In addition to providing a bridge between two different data models, two different users, and two different businesses, Bentley technology offered the City of Toronto a process that is automated, repeatable, and sustainable. The solution is also scalable and flexible, allowing skeletonization for additional users with different needs.

Toronto Water supplies drinking water to, and collects and treats wastewater from, the City of Toronto's residents (about 450,000 water accounts) and its industrial, commercial and institutional sector (about 15,000 water accounts). It also supplies water to the Region of York and receives sewage from portions of the Region of Peel and the Greater Toronto Airport Authority.

The City of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, which lies on the shore of Lake Ontario, is ideally located for operations with a worldwide focus. The multi-cultural nature of the city (more than 100 ethnic groups) provides international companies a large pool of the language skills necessary to operate in international markets. For more information, visit www.city.toronto.on.ca.

The BE Conference, which consistently scores a 99% attendee satisfaction rating, is a once-a-year learning opportunity for Bentley users and their managers offering professional training, technology updates, keynotes, and best practice sharing. At these sessions, attendees better themselves, better their organizations, and better the ways they can improve the world's infrastructure. To pre-register for BE Conference 2006, go to www.be.org/preregister.

Bentley Systems, Incorporated provides software for the lifecycle of the world's infrastructure. The company's comprehensive portfolio for the building, plant, civil, and geospatial vertical markets spans architecture, engineering, construction (AEC) and operations. With 2004 revenues exceeding $300 million, Bentley is the leading provider of AEC software to the Engineering News-Record Design 500 and major owner-operators. For more information, visit www.bentley.com.

Aqua America unit buys five Luzerne County, Pa., utility systems for $1.6 million
BRYN MAWR, PA, July 20, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Aqua America, Inc. announced that its subsidiary, Aqua Pennsylvania Inc. (Aqua), has acquired four water systems and one wastewater system from the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Estate of Wilbar Realty, Inc., a utility company that filed for bankruptcy in April 2000. Aqua acquired these five utility systems, located in Luzerne County, for a combined purchase price of approximately $1.6 million.

"By purchasing these systems, Aqua continues to support the policies of various state public utility commissions that encourage consolidation of smaller, and many times undercapitalized, water systems to produce greater professionalism and economies of scale for the industry," said Aqua America Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Nicholas DeBenedictis.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) approved the acquisition on June 23, 2005. The purchase means that Aqua will now provide:
-- Water and wastewater services for the Laurel Lakes development in Rice Township, serving approximately 520 residents.
-- Water service for the Forest Park community in Bear Creek Township, serving approximately 220 residents.
-- Water service for Penn Lake Park Borough, serving approximately 135 residents.
-- Water service for the Saint Johns area in Butler Township, serving approximately 75 residents.

Aqua will invest approximately $1 million over the next three years to upgrade the water and sewer systems. "We look forward to improving service for these customers by making needed capital investments and by providing the financial and operational expertise required to address the past problems," said Aqua Vice President and Regional General Manager Anthony J. Donatoni. "Furthermore, our new investments will permit the area to realize its full future growth potential."

The capital projects include rehabilitating the water and wastewater treatment systems, upgrading water distribution pipes, installing water meters, repairing water storage tanks, building new wells and sewer collection system improvements.

Aqua is the largest subsidiary of Aqua America Inc. (www.aquaamerica.com) and provides water and wastewater service to approximately 1.3 million residents across Pennsylvania. Aqua America, Inc. is the largest U.S.-based publicly traded water company in the country, serving more than 2.5 million residents in 13 states.

Colorado Springs Utilities lab achieves LEED Silver rating
DENVER, CO, July 20, 2005 -- The new Environmental Services Laboratory for Colorado Springs Utilities has achieved a LEED Silver rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. Designed by RNL of Denver and the City of Colorado Springs/Colorado Springs Utilities facilities department, the 48,500 square foot facility is home to about 45 employees...
Click here for more.

Strathkelvin Instruments protects Dutch iron foundry wastewater system
GLASGOW, Scotland, July 20, 2005 -- Corus, a leading European iron and steel producer, has acquired Strathkelvin's latest respirometer resulting in the vastly improved security of their Biological Wastewater Treatment Processes in IJmuiden, Netherlands. The Dutch-Anglo company installed a biological wastewater treatment plant that was put into operation at their major production facility in IJmuiden, the Netherlands. Following the first year of operation serious problems were encountered. The most probable cause was toxic components in one of the wastewater flows that dramatically decreased the removal efficiency of the plant within a short period of time...
Click here for more.

In related news, see: "Respirometer monitors bacteria at Yorkshire Water hi-tech pilot plant".

California includes $4.2 million of $55.6 million in rural block grants for water
SACRAMENTO, CA, July 19, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- "Hundreds of lower income residents in dozens of rural communities throughout the state will realize improved living conditions and public services from the award of $55,607,103 in federal community development block grant funds," announced California Department of Housing Community Development Director Lucetta Dunn.

"This award will provide home-buyer assistance, rehabilitation of substandard housing, and fund public works projects such as waterline installations, water and sewage treatment system improvements, senior day care facilities, fire stations and medical clinics in our smaller cities and rural communities that often lack access to other types of financial resources," Dunn explained.

The funds were made available under the non-entitlement Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, administered by HCD as a service to smaller communities that do not have resources to administer the program themselves. The more populated cities and counties receive this funding directly from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
-- $50.5 million is awarded through the General Program component of the block grant funds and will be distributed in 74 cities and 30 counties.
-- $4.2 million is awarded to through the Colonia Program to address drainage and street, water and sewer improvements. The awards were made to benefit five Colonia communities in the cities of El Centro, Brawley, Calexico and Imperial and the County of Imperial. A colonia is a community which is within 100 miles of California's border with Mexico and has no legal status and thus little or no infrastructure.
-- $875,000 was awarded to the counties of Calaveras and Placer for housing rehabilitation benefiting Native Americans belonging to non-federally recognized tribes.

In addition, $29 million in 2006/2007 CDGB future allocations of funds were reserved for 64 applicants to complete programs and projects. For the 2007/2008 $25 million was reserved for 57 programs and projects. The reserved funds are subject to federal funding decisions under future budget proposals made by Congress and the President.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) provides leadership, policies and programs to preserve and expand safe and affordable housing opportunities and promote strong communities for all Californians. The Department also supports increasing the supply of housing, especially affordable housing and works to improve the State's housing conditions and the health and safety of its residents. As the lead Housing Department, HCD is part of the State of California, Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.
For a listing of total awards by area, go to: www.hcd.ca.gov/fa/cdbg/2005_Final_Funding_List_by_County.pdf

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In earlier newsbriefs, see:
-- "WaterBriefs: Affholder lands tunnel replacement contract with Charleston CPW" -- Also in this report (July 18, 2005): Also in this report (July 19, 2005): Insituform wins $16.8 million sewer contract from Colorado Springs Utilities; Chinese research institute adds on to Electronic Sensor Technology order; QI Systems Inc. wins first water-control customer in Province of Manitoba; Combined heat, power workshop free to utilities Aug. 11 in Salt Lake...

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