A hodge-podge of industry-related items.

Layne Christensen Makes Purchase of Reynolds Inc.

Layne Christensen Co. has closed the acquisition of Reynolds Inc. Founded in the mid-1930s, Reynolds, a privately held company, is a major supplier of products and services to the water and wastewater industries. Business lines include design/build water and wastewater treatment plants, water supply wells, collector wells, water intakes and transmission lines. In addition, Reynolds' Inliner Division is one of the largest providers of cured-in-place pipe services for sewer line rehabilitation in the United States. Reynolds had combined revenues of approximately $185 million the trailing 12 months ended June 30, 2005. Backlog of future projects for Reynolds today stands at approximately $235 million.

The purchase price for Reynolds totaled $112.2 million comprised of $60 million in cash and 2.2 million shares of Layne Christensen common stock at a closing price of $23.48 per share. Reynolds will have incentives, which, if achieved, could add an additional $15 million to the purchase price over the next three years. In addition, Jeff Reynolds, president/CEO and grandson of the company founder, has been named a senior vice president of Layne Christensen and was elected to Layne Christensen's board of directors.

Post-Katrina Business Opportunities Are Available

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is coordinating an effort to recruit subcontractors for relief and rebuilding projects resulting from all the hurricane damage. The Corps has as a list of prime contractors to contact for various subcontracting opportunities relating to:

  • water removal,

  • environmental services,

  • debris removal,

  • roofing,

  • temporary power support,

  • quality assurance inspections.

You can check out these opportunities by going to the Corps' Web site: www.usace.army.mil, then click on the “Corps Katrina Response Website.” From there, go to “Contracting Opportunities,” where a list of contacts is provided.

National Ground Water Association Offers Testimony; Moves Conference

National Ground Water Association (NGWA) director Stephen Ragone testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials in its hearing on “Hurricane Katrina: Assessing the Present Environmental Status.” Ragone testified that the assessment and remediation of affected wells is being affected by communication problems, other relief efforts and citizen displacement. “Pre-disaster planning, training and coordination between government officials and private sector water well professionals may have lessened the challenges,” said Ragone.

Moreover, Ragone said standard well disinfection protocols being used in the disaster areas may not be effective for all wells depending on well design, size and hydrogeologic variables. “For example, shock chlorination - the traditional approach to well disinfection - does not always solve the problem for those with inundated wells or where general ground water quality has been impacted,” said Ragone, adding that long-term strategies should ensure appropriate decontamination protocols are available as needed. Ragone cited a 2002 report developed by NGWA under contract with FEMA entitled “Field Evaluation of Emergency Well Disinfection for Contamination Events.” It examined the effectiveness of well disinfection in the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd (1999) in North Carolina and adjacent Atlantic coastal areas. Among the report's recommendations are the development of county/district teams trained and equipped to evaluate, help and conduct needed immediate repairs of wells to restore private water supply function and potability. These teams would include local government environmental health staff, private-sector personnel experienced in well and pump service and other people with specific knowledge of local ground water quality and occurrence, such as hydrogeologists.

The 2005 NGWA Conference on Remediation: Site Closure and the Total Cost of Cleanup on November 7-8 has been moved to Houston from the original site of New Orleans. To learn more about this conference or to register online, go to www.ngwa.org/e/conf/0511075010.shtml.

Thinning Resources Impede Projects

All the time, effort and resources being poured into cleaning up the hurricane aftermath down south means that a lot of previously planned projects are being put on hold - some indefinitely. Projects at the drawing-board stage face an even grimmer fate. Hopefully, common sense and not politics will be the determining factor while the languishing work is triaged.

A Most-worthy Leftover Item from Last Month

In last month's 25th anniversary issue ofNational Driller, we featured an interview with John Schmitt, executive director of the Michigan Ground Water Association, wherein he offered his thoughts on the industry's past quarter-century. Space restrictions meant that some parts of the interview had to be edited out. Here we include one such passage that we'd like for everyone to read - proudly.

Discussing the personality-side of the drilling industry, Schmitt submits, “The individuals who make up the drilling industry are rather unique. The industry I think most closely resembles drilling is farming - independent, hard-working people out in the weather dealing with factors they can't always control. We might get some rain today. It might be too late for the corn but it might help the beans. A driller doesn't know if there's a big washout area down below or if there's a giant boulder down there or if he'll run into a sinkhole. Adding to that kinship: A farmer might be desperate for water for his livestock or for irrigation.” Schmitt also points to the huge capital investments required in both fields as a commonality. And, he adds, “A lot of farmers got into drilling because they couldn't find a well driller. They'd get desperate enough to get their own rig and figure out how to make it work. Then their neighbors would come over and say, 'I need a well, too.' All of a sudden, the guy's in the water well business. That independent streak is the character trait that best ties the two groups together. You need that to be successful; a namby-pamby type person isn't going to make it as a well driller or a farmer. It takes a special breed.”