Industry news and events from the desk ofND's editor.

MD&B Buys Pennsylvania Rock

Maine Drilling & Blasting has announced its acquisition of Pennsylvania Rock Co. In pursuit of common goals and industry challenges, Pennsylvania Rock and Maine Drilling & Blasting felt their shared initiatives were best served by building one outstanding team. By joining operations, the intent is to focus on the strengths of each company, as well as on the new synergistic value generated in order to provide the best possible service and value to local clients.

“As one company, Pennsylvania Rock and Maine Drilling & Blasting will economically provide the Mid-Atlantic region with the best people and service found in the industry,” says president, Bill Purington. “This merger will strengthen our teams, creating an even stronger potential for business success going forward.”

The joint operation will provide Maine Drilling & Blasting with a new divisional office in Myerstown, Pa., further demonstrating the commitment to being a local presence.

Pennsylvania Rock principals, Rick and Travis Martzall, will remain key regional leaders under the Maine Drilling & Blasting mantle. “My father and I, along with our employees, are very excited to join the MD&B team. It’s a great fit with Pennsylvania Rock’s aspirations, our commitment to local service, and mutual growth,” comments Travis Martzall, Pennsylvania Rock’s vice president.

Maine Drilling & Blasting, recognized as a leader in the industry and a long-term contributor to the local community, offers drilling and blasting services to the construction and quarry markets, along with a variety of specialty services throughout the northeastern United States, including rock bolting, hoe ramming, engineering, public relations, preblast surveys and packaged and bulk explosive distribution. In addition to the corporate office in Gardiner, Maine, Maine Drilling & Blasting has offices in New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

2011 Darcy Lecturer Announced

Dr. Stephen Silliman of the University of Notre Dame has been named as the 2011 presenter for the Henry Darcy Distinguished Lecture Series in Ground Water Science sponsored by the National Ground Water Research and Educational Foundation (NGWREF).

Silliman, chair of the Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences Department at Notre Dame, served as an associate editor of NGWA’s journal, Ground Water, from 1996 to 2002, and has served as an associate editor of other leading journals serving the ground water community. His varied experience includes directing the Water Resources in Developing Countries Program for Notre Dame undergraduates from 2002 to 2005. He anticipates offering two lecture topics centered on his research experiences in Benin, a west African nation. “Development of Reliable Hydrologic Data Sets in Difficult Environments: Case Studies from Benin, West Africa” explores how reliable hydrologic data are critical for sound hydrogeologic analyses and subsequent policy decisions. Obtaining such data sets in the face of limited budgets and limited access to field sites can be a daunting challenge. Silliman’s experience in Benin demonstrates that such challenges are best met through close collaboration with a number of in-country entities (universities, local populations, government agencies, etc.) and integration of hydrologic expertise with political, social and cultural considerations.

The second lecture, “Characterization of a Complex, Sole-Source Aquifer System in Benin, West Africa,” focuses on the Godomey wellfield as the sole source of freshwater for Cotonou, Benin. The Cotonou/Calavi area is the largest population center in Benin, with an estimated population of 1.75 million people. Located directly on the Atlantic coast, this population center also is bordered by the southern and western shores of a large, shallow lake.

Ground water wells serving this population are located approximately 4 miles north of the Atlantic coast, and as close as approximately  mile to the western shore of the lake. With most production wells located within partially confined portions of this complex aquifer system, this water resource is threatened by contamination from saltwater intrusion (both from the lake and the ocean) and anthropogenic activities.

Water Infrastructure Funding

The U.S. Environmental Pro-tection Agency has released its Clean Watersheds Needs Survey (CWNS) report to Congress that documents a total need of $298.1 billion, which further emphasizes the growing need for water infrastructure funding currently facing our nation. The CWNS report is available approximately every 4 years, and provides a complete analysis of wastewater and stormwater treatment and collection needs for the next 20 years. The CWNS report includes the following investment needs:

  • publicly owned wastewater pipes and treatment facilities ($192.2 billion);

  • combined sewer overflow (CSO) correction ($63.6 billion); and

  • stormwater management ($42.3 billion).

This funding shortfall represents a 17-percent increase since the 2004 CWNS report, noting that something must be done now to reverse this disturbing trend. As exemplified by the 2008 CWNS report, the clean water community is increasingly facing financial capability and affordability challenges in the face of one of the most devastating economic downturns since the Great Depression. “This needs report makes it clear that the federal government must become a long-term partner in developing a sustainable funding mechanism to address the growing infrastructure funding gap,” says Ken Kirk, executive director of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies.

Water Research Award

The National Water Research Institute (NWRI) has announced that environmental engineer Jerald Schnoor of the University of Iowa will be the 2010 recipient of the NWRI Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize for excellence in water research. Schnoor was selected because of his leadership and impact on promoting the sustainable use of water.

The Clarke Prize will be presented to Schnoor July 15 at the Seventeenth Annual Clarke Prize Lecture and Award Ceremony, to be held at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in California. NWRI established the Clarke Prize in 1993 to recognize outstanding research scientists who have demonstrated excellence in water-science research and technology. The prize, which includes a medallion and $50,000 award, is presented annually.

Schnoor has taught courses in ground water, environmental modeling, water quality and sustainable systems at the University of Iowa since 1977. He also co-founded and co-directs the university’s Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research.

To ensure water-use sustainability, Schnoor has focused much of his career on improving human management decisions to reduce negative impacts on water. For instance, early in his career, he developed models of the complex chemistry of acid rain and its impacts on aquatic systems and watersheds. He played a central role in linking acid rain to lake acidification, which ultimately resulted in his “Trickle Down” model being adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Schnoor also was one of the first researchers to investigate using plants to take up toxic organic chemicals and other pollutants (a process known as phytoremediation) as a means to remediate contaminated hazardous waste sites – fostering a new green technology for the treatment of soil and ground water. He since has established a phytoremediation technology laboratory with funding from the W.M. Keck Foundation, one of the nation’s largest philanthropic organizations.