Monthly Archives: December 2015

Happy New year to Everyone! ¬†I wish you the best – may the world have peace and prosperity, especially those of you who have supported my efforts and/or are reading along ūüôā


Sunset on Sanibel Island


It is the end of the year and we should all reflect back on the year.  Many of us have so much in our lives and so much potential for fulfillment.  Few of us want for much.  Look around the world Рit could be way worse.

Going back many years, the short season has been viewed as the start of the new year.  The ancient Druids and many early religions looked at it as the Sun-god being reborn.  The Christians has Christmas.  The Jews have Hanukkah.  I am sure others have other holidays that are a celebration and itime for reflection.  There is much to do in our lives.  There are challenges ahead.  We should plan for 2016.  What do we want to accomplish?

I have had¬†have 60 undergrads over the last 3 semesters, plus 8 grad students, so things are moving along with FAU ‚Äď my world is in semesters‚Ķ.¬† Research projects are coming to an end, and I am searching for more. ¬†One is embarking on a study of utility impacts from 2005-2015 Asset management for utilities continues to develop. ¬†On-line rate-modeling is coming – that and asset management will be a bigger focus for PUMPS in 2016 and going forward.

But 2015 has been good.  New kitchen, projects done.  Lots of travel.  90 miles of hiking.  Awards.  Papers.  Two books.  A nice house. Good health. A fantastic woman who agreed to marry me.  Yes, 2015 was good.  I hope is was good for you.  And I hope 2016 will be even better for all of us.

For the new year, my PUMPS website (not this site) will be undergoing reconstruction. ¬†It has been a few years and some things are out of date. ¬†Instead the focus will be more on rate studies, financial¬†planning and asset management as opposed to all the other issues (like publications). ¬†I will have a separate website for me, with all that stuff since some folks have hit the website looking for it. ¬†My main goal is to partner with some folks and try to help smaller utilities with financial and management issues. ¬†I will be adding work products, including the asset management stuff we are doing in Dania Beach and Davie. ¬†My hope is I ¬†energize PUMPS a bit. ¬†At the same time via FAU, we will be developing a study of utility costs and revenues since 2005, with emphasis on the impact of the 2008-2009 Recession. ¬†This will be instructive ¬†– and be an update to the 1997 and 199 studies I did (hard to believe they were so long ago). ¬†We will be looking nationally, as well as at different types of treatment, location and size. ¬†The idea will be to develop some tools to help utilities benchmark where they are in¬†the¬†bigger picture, and to help with identifying trends and potential missing issues. ¬†COnncection rates and asset ¬†is improtant to insure hte timely renewal and repalcement of critical infrastrucutre. ¬†After all, the people who get fired when things go wrong with a utility are not the politicians – its us!. ¬†I will be solicitng (or my studnet will) data from over 300 utilities across the country. ¬†If you are interested, or have clients who might be, let me know. ¬†I have tnatively discussed publication with AWWA – but it won’t jsut be water. ¬†Resue, wastewater etc will be included. ¬†Should be fun! ¬†Look for the results next summer!!

My apologies for being offline for a month. It has been very busy.¬† I got back from Utah, and it was tests, reports, etc.¬† Then Thanksgiving ‚Äď we went to Disney for my stepdaughter.¬† Then the Florida Section AWWA conference, then student final design presentations with President Kelly present for some of it, then finals, then a trip to the west coast, then posting grades, then it‚Äôs now.¬† Crazy.¬† And my kitchen is being worked on -see the photos of what is left of it.¬† ¬†Not much, and Christmas is how far away.¬† Yikes.¬† At least the wrapping and chopping are 99% done!

In the meantime a lot has happened.  Congress cut SRF funding, but passed the transportation bill.  They passed WITAF, but provided minimal funding.  The debates roll on.  A recent South Park episode is all about illegal immigrants from Canada escaping, then there is a wall built, by the Canadian so t hose who left don’t come back, and then we find out who the new president in Canada looks like… well you just have to watch and be scared.  Very scared.  If you do not follow South Park, well you are just missing it.

Russia had a plane brought down by an apparent ISIS bomb.¬† The Egyptians deny it.¬† Too much arguing about was it or wasn‚Äôt it to garner much of an outcry.¬† Best wishes to the friends and families of the victims. ¬†Then France had their 911 event sponsored by ISIS, and most of the world is sending their best wishes to the victims, the victims families and the French population.¬† In such events, most of the world comes together.¬† Everybody was French for a day.¬† Best wishes to the friends and families of the victims. Then the couple in California.¬† Best wishes to the friends and families of the victims. But it raises a very disconcerting question, and one fraught with far too many xenophobic concerns as ISIS and their allies like the Taliban, Boko Hiram and others continue to reign terror and violence on the rest of the world.¬† The xenophobic response will be – whom do we trust in the Muslim world?¬† If you don‚Äôt believe in blowback, listen to the debates.¬† One commentator points out the xenophobia may actually help ISIS (Donald are you listening?).¬† LOL ‚Äď of course not.¬† But utilities should expect another round of security costs and analyses in the future.

The Florida Section conference was great.¬† The venue was great (Renaissance at Sea World).¬† The program garnered a lot of buzz and comments.¬† Who knew at a water conference that potable reuse would be the big topic?¬† I also won two awards at the Florida Section conference ‚Äď a best paper award and the Alan B. Roberts award for Outstanding Service by a member.¬† Wow!!¬† I am humbled.¬† A lot of great utility folks were present at the FSAWW conference.¬† It is a great event for the water industry (that includes wastewater, storm water etc.). ¬†The technical program is designed to be good, timely and useful to those that attend.¬† While all utilities struggle with costs, please make time to send your folks if possible.¬† The training cost is reasonable for what you get and who you meet.

My students did well on tests and presentations.  President Kelly was impressed with their presentations and projects at the Dean’s Design Showcase.  We have never had the Dean at student presentations, let alone the President of the University.  My sincere appreciation to him, his staff and those that made it happen.  The students were pleased and impressed.  And they are getting jobs easily.  You can tell people are building and working on infrastructure as most of the graduates get jobs right away, if they don’t have them already.

Grading and the west coast went well.¬† The Fort Myers News Press-Sunday Headline was ‚ÄúWhere has all the water gone‚ÄĚ ‚Äď a discussion on how groundwater is depleting across the country including south Florida which gets 60 inches of rain.¬† But the article points out what that climate, rainfall, recharge and other factors have been altered in south Florida as a result of development.¬† We really do make an impact and it is affecting utilities today. This follows another article last week on depleted groundwater around the world.¬† I have lots of photos in my travels from the air ‚Äď groundwater use is highest where surface waters are limited ‚Äď i.e. dry areas.¬† Except in dry areas, the groundwater does not recharge.¬† I had a student do a project for his master‚Äôs degree that estimated that groundwater depletion is a measureable percentage of sea level rise.¬† More to come on that.

Next the kitchen.  I will post photos in another blog.

As I said, a busy month.

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