About the Author

 

Dan Rafter

Articles by Dan Rafter

Finding the Right Trailer to Haul Your Equipment

| Grading and excavation contractors have plenty to worry about. They need to make sure that they are bidding fairly on jobs, offering a solid price but not shorting themselves needed profit at the same time. They need to offer proper training to their crewmembers and make sure that they are equipping their job sites with the right vehicles and machinery. They need to keep construction deadlines in mind, and invest in new technology that helps them operate more efficiently. ... READ MORE

How Thermal Energy Storage Saves on Peak Power Usage

| For more than 25 years, retailer JCPenney has relied on ice-based energy storage from CALMAC to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs. In 2015 alone, the retailer’s headquarters in Plano, TX, reduced its annual energy bill by more than $100,000. ... READ MORE

Tapping Tanks for Energy Storage

| For more than 25 years, retailer JCPenney has relied on ice-based energy storage from CALMAC to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs. In 2015 alone, the retailer’s headquarters in Plano, TX, reduced its annual energy bill by more than $100,000. ... READ MORE

The Automation Advantage

| New technology doesn’t come cheap. But what if that new tech could help utilities better control and monitor the flow of drinking water through their water delivery systems? What if that technology could help utilities discover potential leaks or isolate those pumps and valves that are starting to gradually fail before they stop working completely? ... READ MORE

Embracing Water Audits

| Water remains a scarce resource throughout the country. But it's important, even for utilities that aren't serving drought-stricken areas, to make sure that they are getting paid the right amount for the water they are delivering. It's important, too, that they quickly identify and repair costly leaks throughout their systems. ... READ MORE

VFD Technology

| Boosting energy efficiency remains a top goal of building owners across the country. And why not? Rising utility bills can cause a company’s bottom-line to plummet. ... READ MORE

How to Nix Non-Revenue Water With Acoustic Leak Detection

| Providence Water, the public water utility based in the city of Providence, RI, is no small operation. The utility serves more than 17 cities and towns, providing more than 60% of the state's drinking water. The utility relies on more than 950 miles of piping to deliver this water. ... READ MORE

Machine Control and Telematics for Backhoes

| Contractors turn to a host of machines when they’re taking on grading and excavation projects. But few machines are as handy as the backhoe. Brian Hennings, product marketing manager for backhoe loaders with John Deere Construction & Forestry, refers to the backhoe as the Swiss Army Knife of the construction industry. “The different attachments really make the difference,” ... READ MORE

Inside the Internet of Things

| When you think of the Internet of Things movement, or IoT for short, you might think of a refrigerator that tells its users when a bottle of milk is getting old. Or maybe you picture an alarm clock that not only wakes you up at 5:30 a.m. but also tells your coffee maker to start brewing your favorite cup of joe. ... READ MORE

Keeping Power Quality High

| What do building owners and facility managers seek more than anything today? Reliable, high-quality power. Fortunately, this isn’t in short supply. Owners and managers today have plenty of options for boosting the quality of their power in their buildings and facilities. The onsite power generation options they have, along with a growing interest in renewables ... READ MORE

Onsite Generation and Energy Storage Solutions

| Data centers, hospitals, and manufacturers can’t lose power for even a minute. The same can be said for financial institutions. Unfortunately, public power infrastructure in cities across the United States is aging. And as it does, power failures are becoming more common. ... READ MORE

Tapping Into Power

| There was a time when contractors thought little about the attachments that they connected to their machines. They’d invest in buckets, hammers, and thumbs and then mostly forget about them. ... READ MORE

Technology In a Can

| There had to be a better way for solid waste agencies to manage their garbage collection routes. That was the impetus behind Bigbelly, a Needham, MA-based company that relies on technology to help clients more efficiently collect trash. ... READ MORE

Put Data to Work

| It wasn’t long ago that automated meter reading (AMR) and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) were a pair of luxuries that most water utilities couldn’t afford. ... READ MORE

Embracing Energy Metering

| Exterior and interior lighting, HVAC systems, and refrigeration equipment can all gobble plenty of energy, whether in a commercial building, hospital, warehouse, or distribution center. ... READ MORE

Choosing the Necessities

| Ryan Llewellyn knows tires. He’s the maintenance manager with R&J Trucking in Youngstown, OH. And if there’s one thing he deals with often, it is tires. ... READ MORE

Augmented Reality in Manufacturing and Maintenance

| It didn’t take long for the much-heralded Google Glass to become the butt of jokes from talk show hosts. But Google’s failed consumer product is enjoying new life in the manufacturing world, boosting the efficiency and accuracy of workers that are responsible for heavy equipment. ... READ MORE

Small Systems, Big Impact

| The Lotte New York Palace hotel in midtown Manhattan is a sprawling place, boasting 813 guest rooms and 86 suites, in addition to 22,000 square feet of meeting and event space, a spa, and a fitness center. For years, the hotel was powered using city steam, the most expensive fuel source in New York City. ... READ MORE

Augmented Reality

| It didn’t take long for the much-heralded Google Glass to become the butt of jokes from talk show hosts. But Google’s failed consumer product is enjoying new life in the manufacturing world, boosting the efficiency and accuracy of workers that are responsible for heavy equipment. ... READ MORE

How Thermal Energy Storage Tanks Create Big Savings

| For more than 25 years, retailer JCPenney has relied on ice-based energy storage from CALMAC to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs. In 2015 alone, the retailer’s headquarters in Plano, TX, reduced its annual energy bill by more than $100,000. ... READ MORE

Oily Embrace

| The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Tier 4 emission standards have changed the rules for the engines that power both on-highway and off-road equipment, including the trucks and vehicles that move earth on grading and excavation jobs. ... READ MORE

Tapping Tanks for Energy Storage

| For more than 25 years, retailer JCPenney has relied on ice-based energy storage from CALMAC to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs. In 2015 alone, the retailer’s headquarters in Plano, TX, reduced its annual energy bill by more than $100,000. ... READ MORE

Creative Configurations

| Data centers, hospitals, and manufacturers can’t lose power for even a minute. The same can be said for financial institutions. Unfortunately, public power infrastructure in cities across the United States is aging. And as it does, power failures are becoming more common. ... READ MORE

Under Pressure

| Finding leaks and repairing them is a constant struggle for water utilities. Blame the aging pipes with which most utilities are working. ... READ MORE

Hacking The Land Clearing

| As useful as grinders and shredders are, they'll never operate to their maximum efficiency if contractors don't first select the right versions of these machines for their job sites. ... READ MORE

Solutions for Aging Water Infrastructure

| The pipelines that municipalities use to deliver drinking water to their residents take a beating. Large cities pump tens of millions of gallons of water to their customers every day. And many of the pipes that municipalities rely on to transport drinking water and treat wastewater are coated with decadesworth of grime and pollutants. ... READ MORE

Get Smart

| You might think of HVAC equipment as being pretty much unchanging over the years. It heats and cools office buildings, homes, and warehouses, right? And that's all it needs to do. ... READ MORE

The Backhoe Tech Boost

| Contractors turn to a host of machines when they’re taking on grading and excavation projects. But few machines are as handy as the backhoe. Brian Hennings, product marketing manager for backhoe loaders with John Deere Construction & Forestry, refers to the backhoe as the Swiss Army Knife of the construction industry. “The different attachments really make the difference,” ... READ MORE

Software Strategies

| Maynilad Water Services is the largest private water provider in the Philippines, serving a population of 9 million people in the western portion of Manila. The system faced a challenge, though: It needed to make better, and faster decisions on which pipes needed immediate maintenance, which leaks needed to be repaired first, and which meters needed to be replaced. ... READ MORE

New Technology Improves Switchgear Performance

| It's no secret to the manufacturers who provide switchgear that their products are in ever-greater demand today. That's because switchgear plays such a critical role in the operation of uninterruptable power supply systems. And these days, there are more end-users than ever—data centers, hospitals,financial institutions, manufacturers—that can't afford to lose power for even the briefest second. ... READ MORE

How Smart Meters and Acoustic Sensors Limit Non-revenue Water Loss

| The town of Olds in Alberta, Canada, faced a daunting task. The public works and utilities department, serving the town of approximately 8,000, set out in 2007 to decrease the municipality's total water usage by 10% by January 2017, using the amount of water it consumed in 2006 as a baseline. ... READ MORE

Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) in Municipal Projects

| What kind of difference can a variable frequency drive—better known as a VFD—make for a municipality? A significant one. Just look at the town of Mooresville in North Carolina, where a VFD developed by Eaton has not only boosted the energy efficiency of the municipal water treatment plant, but has also extended the life expectancy of a pair of new 800-horsepower pumps at the facility. ... READ MORE

On the Pulse

| The town of Olds in Alberta, Canada, faced a daunting task. The public works and utilities department, serving the town of approximately 8,000, set out in 2007 to decrease the municipality's total water usage by 10% by January 2017, using the amount of water it consumed in 2006 as a baseline. ... READ MORE

Dozer Operating Made Easy

| On construction sites, few machines are as important—or as challenging to operate—as dozers. Just ask dozer operators who have struggled to hit grade on their job sites. How many extra passes do operators make to hit the right grade levels on a project? The mistakes of dozer operators can cost contractors money in lost time, wasted labor, and increased fuel consumption. ... READ MORE

Embracing Water Audits

| Water remains a scarce resource throughout the country. But it's important, even for utilities that aren't serving drought-stricken areas, to make sure that they are getting paid the right amount for the water they are delivering. It's important, too, that they quickly identify and repair costly leaks throughout their systems. ... READ MORE

The Technology of Site Clearing

| Bill Schafer, VM product manager with Loftness, a manufacturer of attachments for grinders, says the demand for his company's products, and for material-reduction equipment in general, has been on the rise for several years now. And that demand is only getting stronger today. ... READ MORE

Construction Job Site Safety: Fear the Fine

| No contractor wants to make headlines because of a trench collapse. When a collapse results in the death of a laborer? That’s tragic, and the resulting fines and lawsuits could be enough to put even large contractors out of business. But it doesn’t take a fatality for contractors to suffer a serious hit on their bottom lines. Those contractors who don’t take the proper safety precautions when tackling underground work can get hit with hundreds of thousands of dollars of fines for violating federal safety rules. ... READ MORE

Switchgear Maintenance

| You already know how important it is to perform regular preventive maintenance on your onsite power system. It doesn’t pay to install a backup generator to protect yourself from a failing public grid if that onsite system doesn’t work when called upon. So you regularly test your onsite power system. You schedule regular inspections from ... READ MORE

Vacuum Excavators: Preventing Damage

| For Jason Proctor, product manager for vacuum excavation for Ditch Witch, contractors who invest in vacuum excavators are buying a sort of insurance policy, one that could even save their businesses. His point is well taken. Vacuum excavators increase the odds that construction crews won’t accidently cut into gas, water, or electrical lines while digging. And, ... READ MORE

Security That Can Happen in a Vacuum

| For Jason Proctor, product manager for vacuum excavation for Ditch Witch, contractors who invest in vacuum excavators are buying a sort of insurance policy, one that could even save their businesses. His point is well taken. Vacuum excavators increase the odds that construction crews won’t accidently cut into gas, water, or electrical lines while digging. And, ... READ MORE

Onsite Solutions

| Hurricane Matthew, as it rolled into Florida and North Carolina, provided the owners of gas stations, convenience stores, and grocery stores with yet another reminder that even small businesses today need backup power in the form of onsite gensets. ... READ MORE

Inspection and Cleaning

| The pipelines that municipalities use to deliver drinking water to their residents take a beating. Large cities pump tens of millions of gallons of water to their customers every day. And many of the pipes that municipalities rely on to transport drinking water and treat wastewater are coated with decadesworth of grime and pollutants. ... READ MORE

Trailing Isn’t Always a Bad Thing

| Grading and excavation contractors have plenty to worry about. They need to make sure that they are bidding fairly on jobs, offering a solid price but not shorting themselves needed profit at the same time. They need to offer proper training to their crewmembers and make sure that they are equipping their job sites with the right vehicles and machinery. They need to keep construction deadlines in mind, and invest in new technology that helps them operate more efficiently. ... READ MORE

MRF Tech Is Rising, Bringing Financial Challenges

| When people think of cutting-edge technology and how it is changing the way municipalities serve their residents, they probably don't think much about the materials recovery facilities (MRFs) responsible for sorting and processing waste. ... READ MORE

Switchgear Intelligence

| It's no secret to the manufacturers who provide switchgear that their products are in ever-greater demand today. That's because switchgear plays such a critical role in the operation of uninterruptable power supply systems. And these days, there are more end-users than ever—data centers, hospitals,financial institutions, manufacturers—that can't afford to lose power for even the briefest second. ... READ MORE

How the Savvy Contractors Roll

| You don't have to sell the Oregon Department of Transportation on the benefits of intelligent compaction. The department has already made a forceful argument that technology-guided roadway compaction can save money, allow construction crews to finish roadway projects in less time, and result in highways that last longer before they need repairs. ... READ MORE

The Growing Demand for Emergency Backup Power

| Colocation and cloud-computing company LightEdge Solutions has succeeded in the data center business largely because of one key reason: The company’s data centers are reliable. The power at these centers never goes out. ... READ MORE

How Telematics Extends Equipment Life

| This article first appeared in the July/August 2015 of Grading & Excavation Contractor. Gaining a Competitive Edge The construction industry is a competitive one. Those contractors who embrace telematics—and who use the systems’ full capabilities—can gain an edge, says Michael Reinhardt, telematics strategy manager with Morrow, GA-based Doosan Infracore Construction Equipment. Contractors hate to see their machines ... READ MORE

Tapping In to the Cost-Saving Power of VFDs

| What kind of difference can a variable frequency drive—better known as a VFD—make for a municipality? A significant one. Just look at the town of Mooresville in North Carolina, where a VFD developed by Eaton has not only boosted the energy efficiency of the municipal water treatment plant, but has also extended the life expectancy of a pair of new 800-horsepower pumps at the facility. ... READ MORE

Water Tanks, Reservoirs, Maintenance, and Repair

| Editor’s note: This article first appeared in the January/February 2014 issue of Water Efficiency. Rob Pearlman, senior containment systems engineer with Plymouth, NH-based AmTech Tank Lining & Tank Repair, says that water tank problems rarely boast good timing. You can actually count on the opposite, he notes. One moment a water tank will be quietly ... READ MORE

The Backhoe Tech Boom

| Katie Pullen, brand marketing manager for CASE Construction Equipment, says there's an important reason why telematics is gaining traction with backhoe loaders: manufacturers have made it easier for owners to acquire and operators to use the systems. ... READ MORE

Acoustic Leak Detection Stems Water Loss

| Providence Water, the public water utility based in the city of Providence, RI, is no small operation. The utility serves more than 17 cities and towns, providing more than 60% of the state's drinking water. The utility relies on more than 950 miles of piping to deliver this water. ... READ MORE

The Winning Combination

| GIS technology—short for Geographic Information Systems—isn't new. Water districts can use this technology to create interactive maps that help them navigate their system of pipes, valves, pumps, and stations. ... READ MORE

AMI/AMR Benefits Utilities and Customers

| The upgrade that American Water is now undertaking is no small matter. But the change that the company is rolling out now in a pilot program will allow its meter readers to more easily discover possible leaks, uncover meters that have been tampered with, and identify unusual flow activity for business and residential customers. That's significant. American Water doesn't serve a small area. Based in Voorhees, NJ, the company provides drinking and wastewater services to an estimated 14 milli... ... READ MORE

The Towed Scraper Option

| If you're running a construction site and you need to move a lot of dirt, what is the most efficient tool? Is it a motor-powered scraper? How about an excavator and a hydraulic dump truck? ... READ MORE

To Keep Your Waste Trucks Running, Focus on Preventive Maintenance

| Curtis Dorwart, vocational products marketing manager with Mack Trucks, says that operators who make sure that their trucks are properly oiled and lubed will save their municipalities plenty of money in eliminated repair bills. "Routine maintenance is absolutely critical for the long-term durability and reliability of the vehicle," he says. "You will avoid a lot of downtime and expensive repairs later on by applying solid maintenance practices as recommended by the equipment manufacturer. Oil and grease can provide inexpensive insurance against high-dollar issues later." ... READ MORE

Switchgear Solutions

| Switchgear systems play an important role for the Wabash Valley Power Association. Tom Fresher, senior operations engineer, says that the association relies on switchgear at all 15 of the landfill gas-to-energy (LFGTE) plants that the Indianapolis-based generation and transmission cooperative runs in Indiana and Illinois. The switchgear protect the association’s power equipment when faults or weather emergencies threaten ... READ MORE

Safety: Vehicle-Awareness, Safety Systems Making Life Safer for Waste Haulers

| Perry Mitrano, director of solid waste with the city of Bunnell, FL, would have backed into a man who was crouched behind the rear wheel of his truck if his radar system hadn't sounded its in-cab alarm. That's because Mitrano, who was filling in for an absent driver that day, would never have seen the man, even with the cameras with which his truck is equipped. The man could easily have been killed by Mitrano's truck. The resulting bad press and the inevitable lawsuit quite possibly would have shut down the city's fairly young waste collection system. ... READ MORE

The Many Talents of the Backhoe

| How many construction vehicles can lay gas and water lines, pound railroad ties into the ground, remove mounds of snow, break chunks of concrete into little pieces, and even dig graves? How about that most handy of all fleet vehicles, the backhoe loader? ... READ MORE

The Many Talents of the Backhoe

| How many construction vehicles can lay gas and water lines, pound railroad ties into the ground, remove mounds of snow, break chunks of concrete into little pieces, and even dig graves? How about that most handy of all fleet vehicles, the backhoe loader? ... READ MORE

More Than Efficiency: Optimizing Commercial Hydronic System Performance

| One of the most exciting shifts in the science (some say art) of building system design is the ability for all parts of the system to interact, combining as one to optimize system performance, comfort, IAQ, and energy efficiency. Hydronic (water-based) systems remain at the top of the list when building owners and designers consider ... READ MORE

Keeping Them Alive

| No contractor wants to make headlines because of a trench collapse. When a collapse results in the death of a laborer? That’s tragic, and the resulting fines and lawsuits could be enough to put even large contractors out of business. But it doesn’t take a fatality for contractors to suffer a serious hit on their bottom lines. Those contractors ... READ MORE

Bringing Onsite Power to Hospitals
– Part 4

| Maintenance, Monitoring Matuseski with Cummins says that once hospitals have chosen and installed an onsite power system, it’s important for the staffers at that facility to learn how to monitor these systems and maintain them. This is the only way that hospitals can guarantee that their onsite power systems are working properly. ... READ MORE

OSHA and the Competent Person

| OSHA officials have long recognized the potential danger that employees face when doing trenching or excavation work. That’s why OSHA requires that a competent person be onsite when construction crews are doing this kind of work. According to the OSHA Construction Standard, a work site’s competent person must be capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards on ... READ MORE

Industrial Users and the Bottom Line

| There was a time when industrial users worried little about how much water their factories, warehouses, and distribution centers consumed each year. Those times are over. ... READ MORE

Keeping Them Alive

| No contractor wants to make headlines because of a trench collapse. When a collapse results in the death of a laborer? That’s tragic, and the resulting fines and lawsuits could be enough to put even large contractors out of business. But it doesn’t take a fatality for contractors to suffer a serious hit on their bottom lines. Those contractors ... READ MORE

Desperate for Data? New Standard API for Telematics Integrations Shows Promise

| Liz Quinn, product marketing manager with John Deere’s WorkSight technology program, says that contractors are ready for an API standard that lets them easily integrate data from multiple sources and manage the numbers they need to efficiently manage their equipment. “It’s a commonly voiced customer need. They want to view the numbers from all of ... READ MORE

Energy Management Plans for Retailers

| There are two types of retailers out there, according to Jeff Dummermuth: those who have energy management plans to reduce the amount of energy they consume each year, and those who don’t. Dummermuth, director of energy and engineering for Columbus, OH-headquartered Big Lots, works for a retailer that falls into the former category. This makes ... READ MORE

Boilers and Efficiency

| Chuck O'Donnell says it's simple: the boilers that provide heat and hot water in factories, distribution centers, and warehouses across the United States consume less energy today because customers have long demanded more efficient versions as they look to slash their yearly expenses. ... READ MORE

Manufacturers Know the Drill

| The manufacturers of onsite energy systems are used to change. The customers that they serve—whether they own massive industrial warehouses, sprawling supermarkets, or new multifamily apartment towers—are constantly evolving, reacting to the changes that the ups and downs of the economy bring to their businesses. ... READ MORE

Equipment Management Evolves With a New Standard Telematics API

| Telematics systems are no longer novelties. Grading and excavation contractors have long relied on these systems to provide them with important data about how much fuel their construction vehicles are consuming, how much time their machines have spent idling at job sites, and how many work hours they’ve logged. Those contractors who operate sizable fleets ... READ MORE

Strengthening Its Grip on the Industry

| Telematics systems are no longer novelties. Grading and excavation contractors have long relied on these systems to provide them with important data about how much fuel their construction vehicles are consuming, how much time their machines have spent idling at job sites, and how many work hours they’ve logged. Those contractors who operate sizable fleets of graders, excavators, and other ... READ MORE

New Developments in Onboard Scales and Collection Software

| Roger Edberg had an important mission in 2010. He’d just taken over as senior superintendent of the ground services department at University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), and one of his goals was to divert as much campus waste as possible from landfills. Like many college campuses—and municipalities—UCSC is working to boost its recycling and ... READ MORE

Why Graders and Excavators Gain Efficiency With Telematics

| There was a time when the grading and excavation contractors who bought or rented their vehicles from RoadBuilders Machinery & Supply Co. in Kansas City, KS, cared little about the telematics systems installed in them. That’s changing. Contractors now—at least those who want to squeeze as much life as they can out of their machines ... READ MORE

Changes Coming in Onboard Scales and Collection Software

| Roger Edberg had an important mission in 2010. He’d just taken over as senior superintendent of the ground services department at University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), and one of his goals was to divert as much campus waste as possible from landfills. Like many college campuses—and municipalities—UCSC is working to boost its recycling and ... READ MORE

How #Construction #Telematics Save Money

| The best way to promote the benefits of construction telematics? Manufacturers need to make the clear argument that telematics can save grading and excavation contractors a significant amount of money. When contractors realize this, it all but guarantees that they will continue to embrace construction telematics until the technology becomes all but a necessity, says Ken Calvert, ... READ MORE

The Evolving World of Telematics

| There was a time when the grading and excavation contractors who bought or rented their vehicles from RoadBuilders Machinery & Supply Co. in Kansas City, KS, cared little about the telematics systems installed in them. ... READ MORE

Challenges in Energy Management Plans for Retailers

| Growing Demand Dean Lindstrom, general manager with Cleveland-based Novar, a Honeywell company that provides energy management systems for clients that operate multiple sites, says that the biggest problem that retailers face when trying to reduce energy costs is the high number of sites that so many operate. This sets retailers apart from other users. Some ... READ MORE

Bringing Onsite Power to Hospitals
– Part 3

| The Questions Cost, of course, is a big issue for hospitals today. The healthcare industry hasn’t suffered quite as much as have others during the country’s economic slowdown. But revenues are still down at many hospitals. Consumers can’t ignore a broken leg, of course. They’ll still need treatment for that. But they might skip elective ... READ MORE

Bringing Onsite Power to Hospitals
– Part 2

| The Benefits Abington Memorial already had 13 standby generators for emergency power, Szatkowski says. But the hospital couldn’t use those generators to produce its own power. Instead, the hospital was buying all of its power from the public grid. This was expensive. The hospital had already hired an engineering firm to recommend ways in which ... READ MORE

Bringing Onsite Power to Hospitals – Part 1

| The $10 million investment made sense, and would bring huge yearly energy savings to Abington Memorial Hospital in Abington, PA. And fortunately for Richard Szatkowski, corporate director of plant operations for the hospital, the members of his board of directors felt the same way. And because of that, the hospital last year opened its $10 ... READ MORE

Technology: From Office to Job Site and Back

| Rick Fines might report to Shippensburg, PA, for his job as product manager for motor graders with Volvo Construction Equipment. But he spends much of his time traveling throughout North America. And during these travels, he’s noticed that the most skilled operators of graders—those operators who rely solely on their skills to create perfectly-graded parking lots and roadways—are getting older. ... READ MORE

An Unwanted Bloom—Algae

| Towns and cities both large and small dot the miles of shoreline winding around the waters of Lake Erie. Groundwater from beneath plenty of farms, factories, cattle feedlots, and septic systems in these heavily populated areas flows regularly into the lake’s waters. ... READ MORE

Onboard Scales and In-Ground Scales: Use Both for Best Results

| Onboard scales and collection software, while productive tools for MSW districts, are still not perfect, especially the onboard scale part of the package. Steve Graham, vehicle segment manager with the Columbus, OH, office of Mettler Toledo, says that onboard scales can lose their proper calibration as waste trucks travel more miles. Because of this, municipalities ... READ MORE

Technology: From Office to Jobsite and Back

| Rick Fines might report to Shippensburg, PA, for his job as product manager for motor graders with Volvo Construction Equipment. But he spends much of his time traveling throughout North America. And during these travels, he's noticed that the most skilled operators of graders-those operators who rely solely on their skills to create perfectly-graded parking lots and roadways-are getting older. A lot older. "The really good grader operators out there are late in their careers," says Fines.... ... READ MORE

An Unwanted Bloom–Algae

| Towns and cities both large and small dot the miles of shoreline winding around the waters of Lake Erie. Groundwater from beneath plenty of farms, factories, cattle feedlots, and septic systems in these heavily populated areas flows regularly into the lake's waters. Last summer, the residents living along the lake saw firsthand just how dangerous this could be. The news was especially big in Toledo, OH, last August when thick beds of algae turned the water there a sickly green. Some 400,00... ... READ MORE

An Easier Sell—Smart Truck Supplement

| There was a time when Richard Pearlman had to explain to operators in the municipal solid waste industry what GPS was. There was a time when truck operators had no idea what an onboard scale was or did. Those days are gone. The drivers and managers of solid waste districts are tech savvy. Today, municipal solid waste supervisors, operators, and officials, just like the rest of the United States, use GPS on a daily basis to find the newest Thai restaurant in town or to calculate the miles t... ... READ MORE

The Benefits of AMI Are Many…If You’re Prepared

| For Arwa Sayed, the move made sense: By investing in an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system, the city of San Diego's public utilities department would both save money, and provide more accurate billing for its water customers. The key, though, was to explain the benefits clearly to those end users, says Sayed, AMI project manager with the customer support division of the city of San Diego's public utilities department. The city needed the support of its users if the installation ... ... READ MORE

Plugging the Energy Drain

| The national economy has improved. But it hasn't improved enough to persuade the owners of office buildings or companies to return to the free-spending ways before the Great Recession hit. This means that the manufacturers of energy management services and products face a daunting challenge when trying to convince office owners to invest in their systems: they have to convince these potential customers, many of whom are still recovering slowly from the recession, to spend big dollars upfro... ... READ MORE

New Ways to Treat, Test, and Analyze Drinking Water

| The Lincoln Avenue Water Company in Altadena, CA, is no small system: It supplies drinking water to 16,000 residents of West Altadena through 4,500 service connections. Its treatment plant boasts an operational capacity of 5.18 million gallons per day. And, like most water utilities today, its officials are willing to explore more effective and cost-efficient ways to treat, test, and analyze the water it pumps to its residential and commercial customers. This trend shouldn't be surprising.... ... READ MORE

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