A new report from the Brookings Institution provides a detailed and data-driven look at careers in the water sector, finding that while there are looming shortages and a need for diversity in the workforce, water jobs are a tremendous economic opportunity for the American worker. The Water Environment Federation encourages its members to closely review Renewing Read More
A new report from the Brookings Institution provides a detailed and data-driven look at careers in the water sector, finding that while there are looming shortages and a need for diversity in the workforce, water jobs are a tremendous economic opportunity for the American worker.
The Water Environment Federation encourages its members to closely review Renewing the Water Workforce: Improving water infrastructure and creating a pipeline to opportunity, which was released June 14.
“The report reveals the sizable economic opportunity offered by water jobs, including the variety of occupations found across the country, the equitable wages paid, the lower educational barriers to entry, and the need for more diverse, young talent,” write authors Joe Kane and Adie Tomer of the Brookings Institution.
Kane and Tomer examined occupational employment data and made several key findings:
- In 2016, nearly 1.7 million workers were directly involved in designing, constructing, operating, and governing U.S. water infrastructure, spanning a variety of industries and regions.
- Water occupations not only tend to pay more on average compared to all occupations nationally, but also pay up to 50 percent more to workers at lower ends of the income scale.
- Most water workers have less formal education, including 53 percent having a high school diploma or less. Instead, they require more extensive on-the-job training and familiarity with a variety of tools and technologies.
- Water workers tend to be older and lack gender and racial diversity in certain occupations; in 2016, nearly 85 percent of them were male and two-thirds were white, pointing to a need for younger, more diverse talent.
“While the Water Environment Federation and our colleagues across the water sector have long been aware of the challenges and opportunities of our workforce, we are grateful that the Brookings Institution produced this timely, detailed report that contains fresh data,” said Eileen O’Neill, WEF Executive Director. “It is imperative on all of us to examine the findings and accelerate our efforts to ensure a sustainable and talented water workforce.”
This spring WEF nationally launched a jobs program that provides training and certification in the field of green infrastructure. The National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP) establishes national requirements for working on green infrastructure projects, promotes a skilled green workforce, streamlines the process of connecting qualified talent to in-demand jobs, and supports community-based job creation in U.S. cities. NGICP is working with local organizations to expand the program nationally, including partnering with community colleges and STEM high schools to incorporate the curriculum into educational institutions and member associations to engage existing infrastructure workers. NGICP is also partnering with workforce development organizations to engage many of the chronically un- and under-employed in urban areas across the country.
WEF also maintains the Job Bank, continually updated site with new employment listings for careers in wastewater, including water and wastewater management, operations, consulting engineering, and other career paths in water quality. Visit the Job Bank.
To read the Brookings report visit: https://brook.gs/2HCBFdj
Watts has upgraded its commercial product offering with a new line of pre-plumbed, skid mounted softening systems. These pre-engineered systems come equipped with both Fleck 2900 and 3900 control valves for peak flow rates of up to 420 and 1,120 GPM, respectively. They are available in twin-alternating or 2-4 tank parallel designs. Each system includes Read More
Watts has upgraded its commercial product offering with a new line of pre-plumbed, skid mounted softening systems.
These pre-engineered systems come equipped with both Fleck 2900 and 3900 control valves for peak flow rates of up to 420 and 1,120 GPM, respectively. They are available in twin-alternating or 2-4 tank parallel designs. Each system includes schedule 80 PVC inlet, outlet and drain headers as well as powder-coated steel skids and no-hard water bypass pistons.
In addition, each mineral tank is accompanied by a dedicated brine tank for model TI, TR, and QD systems. This product line features inlet and outlet headers up to 6- inch in diameter for high flow rate, high volume applications.
Watts’ pre-plumbed and skid mounted water softeners are assembled in the U.S.A. and can be implemented with various Watts water quality products for complete water quality solutions.
By: Tom Kelly, Bosch Thermotechnology Corp. Earth Day is just around the corner, which means concerned citizens are thinking about planting trees, cleaning up trash in their neighborhood, taking shorter showers, and biking or walking instead of driving. Of course, good behavior one day a year doesn’t really make much of a difference in the Read More
By: Tom Kelly, Bosch Thermotechnology Corp.
Earth Day is just around the corner, which means concerned citizens are thinking about planting trees, cleaning up trash in their neighborhood, taking shorter showers, and biking or walking instead of driving.
Of course, good behavior one day a year doesn’t really make much of a difference in the long run. Actual lifestyle changes on a large scale are what really impact the planet’s future, and a change that’s good for the Earth and the wallet is a win-win situation. An option contractors and plumbers can present to homeowners that will improve their carbon footprint by saving energy and water – as well as help them pocket some extra cash in the long run – is a tankless water heater.
Not many people think about how much their water heater affects their total energy use – in fact, most people don’t think about their water heater at all; it gets installed in a closet and forgotten about as long as it’s working.
But even if a homeowner never thinks about their water heater as long as they’re getting a warm shower out of it, it’s still using energy to heat water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – even when no one is actually in the shower. All this unnecessary energy use adds up: Water heating is the second-highest expense in a home, accounting for about 18 percent of a utility bill after heating and cooling, according to Energy.gov.
Lower utility expenses are one reason residential homeowners are looking at tankless water heaters, which heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit, and either gas or electricity heats the water.
A global water heater study from Persistence Market Research recently showed that tankless water heaters are greatly expanding in popularity in North America; in fact, the study predicts that by 2020, the market in North America could surpass $4.3 billion.
Tankless heaters have a few key advantages for residential homeowners:
Long-term savings: The initial investment in a tankless water heater is greater than that of a conventional storage water heater, but tankless water heaters will typically last longer; they have a life expectancy of more than 20 years, compared with 10 to 15 years for conventional heaters. They also have easily replaceable parts, which can extend their life by many more years.
Tankless water heaters have lower operating and energy costs, which can offset its higher purchase price. Homeowners also can recoup some of the initial cost via tax credits for residential energy efficiency and installation costs. There also may be Energy Star incentives and rebates available depending on region of the country.
Energy and water savings: The United States Geological Survey Water Science School estimates that the average person uses about 80 to 100 gallons of water per day. Going tankless can greatly reduce that amount.
According to Energy.gov, for homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily, tankless water heaters can be 24 percent to 34 percent more energy efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters. Even in a home that uses more than twice that – 86 gallons per day – a tankless heater can yield an eight percent to 14 percent energy savings. A homeowner can achieve even greater energy savings of 27 percent to 50 percent by installing a tankless water heater at each hot water outlet.
Tank-style water heaters’ efficiency – already lower than a tankless heater – decreases over time due to sediment buildup. As a result, a homeowner pays higher utility bills that continue to increase over the life of the tank heater.
Continuous hot water: Even though the tankless water heater is saving energy by not keeping water constantly hot, the heater will zap water to the right temperature on demand – no more worrying about running out of hot water if there are multiple people showering in a row or if the dishwasher is running, as long as the homeowner has purchased the appropriately sized heater for his or her needs.
Fresher water: Because of the on-demand nature of the heaters, hot water isn’t sitting in a 50-gallon tank for an extended amount of time.
More space: Tankless heaters are generally small and wall mounted, meaning they take up a much smaller footprint than a regular heater, which usually needs its own closet. Models designed for outdoor installation free up even more space in the home.
By presenting the ways a tankless water heater can save energy, water and money for a homeowner, a plumber or contractor can give customers higher-end options for heating water that are better for the environment – keeping the spirit of Earth Day alive all year round.
About the Author
Tom Kelly is the Applications, Training and Technical Services Manager at Bosch Thermotechnology Corp. Bosch Thermotechnology is a leading source of high quality cooling and heating systems, including tankless, point-of-use and electric water heaters, floor-standing and wall-hung boilers, Bosch and FHP geothermal heat pump systems as well as controls and accessories for every product line.
A tractor trailer is more than just a large piece of on-road equipment. It’s a major investment, foundation to a livelihood and a home away from home. Collectively, big rigs are the engine that keep industries and economies in motion. But none of that comes cheap. A new truck and trailer can cost well over Read More
A tractor trailer is more than just a large piece of on-road equipment. It’s a major investment, foundation to a livelihood and a home away from home. Collectively, big rigs are the engine that keep industries and economies in motion.
But none of that comes cheap. A new truck and trailer can cost well over a quarter-million dollars, and that’s not including a lot of chrome and aftermarket equipment so often added to personalize vehicles. After all, plenty of truckers find ways to make their million-mile rolling office as comfortable as possible.
The miles are a given, so long as the truck is properly maintained, and clean. The challenge of removing snow, ice, mud and salt gave rise to the modern, roadside truck wash.
Washing big rigs – from over-the-highway trucks to off-road energy industry trucks – is infinitely more involved than washing cars. They’re bigger, sure, but they also come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes.
Water, the lifeblood of everything
“Whether you’re washing an oil field truck covered in 5,000 pounds of mud or you’re cleaning a chromed-out road truck, water is a huge consideration,” said Jyrki Koro, president of Truck Wash Technologies, Inc., in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. “It takes a lot of water, and it needs to be processed accordingly.”
With 21 years in the truck wash industry, Koro started the company in 1999, with a vision to develop the commercial, for-profit truck wash that has eluded other manufacturers to date. Designing superior automation and water treatment technology that can adapt to a very diverse trucking industry was key, but equally important is minimizing capital costs related to building and land, and developing a service and operational standard which allows the business model to work.
“Until recently, little has changed in the truck wash industry in the past 40 years or so,” said Koro. “We aim to provide a fast and affordable public wash that offers value and consistency while delivering what every owner wants: a clean and shiny truck.”
Their unique, innovative wash system provides an automated cleaning rivalled only by a long, labor-intensive manual wash, but utilizing advanced technology that delivers high wash quality with minimal labor costs.
For the portion of the wash when cleaning chemicals are used and also on the final, spot-free rinse, conditioned fresh water is used. For all other facets of the washing process, large amounts of recycled water are used. The fresh water portion of the system includes filtration, scale prevention and reverse osmosis for uncompromising purity.
“During the design of our truck wash systems, we researched the trucking industry to determine the needs of the end user and tailored a system using innovative designs and vendors to complement the application with quality components,” said Koro. Though he’s been designing truck wash systems for 16 years, the current model has been seven years in the making.
Two types of fresh water
As fresh water comes into the facility from a well or municipal supplies, it’s treated for scale prevention either by TAC (template-assisted crystallization) technology or traditional water softener with brine tank. Using both technologies provides a more cost effective approach to treating all incoming water to a degree that suits its application in the wash process.
If used for high-pressure rinsing applications, water first goes through a 100 GPM Watts OneFlow anti-scale system to treat water before entering a large storage tank for use. This chemical-free, TAC anti-scale technology bonds calcium ions together so that they’re inert, and won’t build up on surfaces downstream. It’s used chiefly to reduce the negative effects of water hardness (calcium carbonate) in plumbing systems, appliances, valves and other components.
After TAC treatment, water is used in the high-pressure, fresh water rinsing of the vehicle. For fresh water used during the chemical application process, a different anti-scale approach is used.
“Because calcium and magnesium rapidly absorb the cleaning chemicals and render them less effective, we need to be absolutely sure that all minerals are removed from the water stream for chemical application. TAC reduces scale buildup, but the ions are still in the water. So, a commercial Watts water softener conditions the water used in the chemical application. This amounts to roughly 30 gallons per truck wash.”
Fresh water supplied to the softener passes first through a large Watts carbon filter that features automatic backwashing. The activated carbon media in the large tank is generally used for dechlorination, removal of tastes, odors and as pretreatment for reverse osmosis systems. Chlorine causes destruction of reverse osmosis membranes and polymer based ion exchange resins used in water softeners.
A spot-free, final rinse is the very last phase of a truck wash. For this, water is treated by a large reverse osmosis system. A 4,400 GPD (gallon per day) reverse osmosis system provides ample water volume. The RO removes any remnant of minerals that could otherwise create powdery looking spots on the vehicle surface after drying.
The freshwater purification components of the truck wash system insure we minimize chemical costs and produce a clean truck with no streaks or spotting. Nonetheless, recycled water does the heavy lifting.
Each Truck Wash Technologies system uses recycled water for the bulk of the washing process. Heavily-soiled trucks can require as much as 12,000 gallons of recycled water, but never less than 2,000.
“We have off-road trucks come in with so much mud that it actually reduces the amount of cargo they can legally haul,” said Koro. “Needless to say, this cuts into their paycheck.”
As the system’s moving gantry makes pass after pass over the vehicle, tons of sediment drains into an in-floor catchment system. A series of screens and settlement tanks strain solids from the liquid.
A cluster of high-volume hydro cyclones manufactured by Bailey-Parks Urethane provides a second level of water filtration, spinning fine dirt out of the stream in a centrifuge. Finally, a liquid polymer is injected into the water. This substance binds any remaining fine solids together so that they settle out more quickly. All sediment is continuously removed from the wash water and dewatered for ease of disposal.
On down the road
A Truck Wash Technologies installation will service upwards of 1,000 trucks each month. As drivers wait 15 or 20 minutes for their rig to come out sparkling clean, they’re oblivious to the hi-tech processes going on in the background.
Truck Wash Technologies currently has two truck washes in Canada, and a third under construction in Tacoma, WA. The company is slowly watching trends in the industry shift favorably.
“We have the potential to change the truck washing landscape in North America,” said Koro. “But being the first mover in a large, untapped market, it’s imperative we remain involved in all facets of the truck wash business to maximize the potential for our customers’ success. The superior technologies we’ve developed and assembled speak for themselves.”
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(Uponor) announced it has purchased a minority position in Upstream Technologies, a New Brighton, Minn.-based company. Upstream Technologies is involved in the stormwater management market and has introduced innovative products that significantly improve process and efficiency in these areas. The opportunity came to Uponor through its recently launched subsidiary Uponor Innovations LLC. “We are excited Read More
(Uponor) announced it has purchased a minority position in Upstream Technologies, a New Brighton, Minn.-based company.
Upstream Technologies is involved in the stormwater management market and has introduced innovative products that significantly improve process and efficiency in these areas. The opportunity came to Uponor through its recently launched subsidiary Uponor Innovations LLC.
“We are excited about this opportunity and although it is outside Uponor’s core strategic focus, Upstream Technologies’ products align with our sustainability goals and our vision of enriching people’s way of life,” says Bill Gray, president, Uponor North America. “Uponor believes companies play a special role in leading sustainability initiatives by producing products and services that make it convenient, affordable and effective to do the right things for the environment.”
One of Upstream Technologies’ products to make waterways clean in an affordable way is the SAFL Baffle. Developed out of the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering’s St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL), this product keeps sediment pollution out of lakes, rivers and oceans.
“Urban runoff hits the road, goes into the storm sewers and ends up in receiving water bodies such as lakes and rivers,” says John Gulliver, a professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering and co-inventor of the SAFL Baffle. “Cities are required to treat urban runoff and are trying to figure out how to deal with this in times of limited funding.”
Jay Schrankler, director of the University of Minnesota Office for Technology Commercialization, says, “Uponor’s commitment to University of Minnesota start-up licensee Upstream Technologies further cements the SAFL Baffle’s place as an affordable tool to keep our waterways clean.”
A.J. Schwidder, CEO of Upstream Technologies, is very excited with Uponor’s investment in the company. “Uponor has a reputation of creating innovative and green products to save energy and ensure safe water — with a focus on reducing our carbon and water footprint locally and globally,” he says. “Their investment is an endorsement of our products, our company and our vision of improving the quality of our water in an affordable way.
The Upstream Technologies story has been an outstanding example of the good that can come from government, academic and corporate collaboration. “Uponor’s commitment to Upstream, along with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the University of Minnesota’s St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, makes them a member of a group dedicated to improving our waterways,” Schrankler says. “With Upstream and Uponor behind the SAFL Baffle technology, we believe adoption will be accelerated for the good of our environment.”