Let’s Have a Civil Engineering Revolution

Let’s Have a Civil Engineering Revolution

It is becoming increasingly more difficult to do excellent civil engineering. The reasons vary. They include an increase in regulations that make no sense despite the efforts of great regulatory personnel; an ever increasing reliance upon federal funding with its regulations and requirements that go with that funding (with much being irrelevant to the specific project); an […]

Philosopher Plato on Water Quality

Philosopher Plato on Water Quality

Twenty four centuries ago, Plato made an interesting observation of the vulnerability of water quality to the elements: “Neither soil, sun, nor wind which, jointly with water, supply nourishment to the products of the soil, are easily tampered with by poisonous substances, diversion, or theft, but water is by nature liable to all three.” Since […]

Visualizing Pressure

Visualizing Pressure

One of the better references regarding basic hydraulics is a book published in 1943 – Audels Pumps, Hydraulics, Air Compressors: A Practical Treatise by Frank D. Graham. This figure from the book graphically illustrates the amount of pressure exerted if the force is distributed over a large area, versus the force concentrated onto a fraction of […]

Trench Compaction: ODOT vs. WSDOT

Trench Compaction: ODOT vs. WSDOT

One of the more significant differences between the APWA/ODOT Standard Specification and the APWA/WSDOT Standard Specification is that the latter limits the depth of backfill lifts to 12 inches, while the former has no minimum backfill lifts. Not to suggest those in the Evergreen State know more about trench construction than to those from Beaver State–it […]

Well Point Dewatering

Well Point Dewatering

A good graphic showing the principals of well point dewatering is from the book Ground Water and Wells, published by one of the most popular well screen manufacturers, Edward E. Johnson, Inc. The graphic shows how two wells can be used to lower the water table as long as their areas of influence overlap.

Fire Hydrant Flushing and Testing

Fire Hydrant Flushing and Testing

The consulting firm H2O in Motion prepared a great Powerpoint presentation covering the importance and methods of fire hydrant flushing. The title understates the valuable information in the presnetation, in particular an excellent overview of fire flow requirements and an equally excellent graphic showing why water distribution engineers need to think in terms of hydraulic grade lines.

Well Screens

Well Screens

By understanding the principals behind well screen development, a municipal engineer also understands issues related to the control of landslides, excavation dewatering, and foundation stabilization.  The following graphics are from the book Ground Water and Wells published by one of the most popular well screen manufacturers, Edward E. Johnson, Inc.  

VFD’s Efficiency

VFD’s Efficiency

Here is a very good article about VFD’s from Flygt Apparently the best application for VFDs is when the dynamic head is high compared to the static head. This allows the pump to remain at its best efficiency point when it is ramped down.

What Color is Your Parachute

What Color is Your Parachute

Richard Bolles, an MIT-educated engineer and Episcopalian minister, was working as Pastor of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco in the late 1960s when he was laid off. To help himself and his fellow clergymen whose jobs were affected by the quickening recession of the time, he self-published the first edition of What Color is Your Parachute, a practical guide […]

Los Angeles Tries to Avoid the “Whoops”?

Los Angeles Tries to Avoid the “Whoops”?

There has been a lot of recent media coverage of the problem with aging municipal infrastructure. Most of that repeats a message being spread by engineering and construction industry associations whose message is: “Our infrastructure is falling apart, so we need more federal money to fix it.” Seldom does one read that municipal infrastructure is […]