We gave two presentations at this year's combined state show for the Nebraska sections of the AWWA and WEF. The first was a pre-conference workshop presentation on key lift station design features, and the other was a conference talk on marketing your water utility to the community. Both presentations are "evergreen" in the sense that they aren't time-sensitive and could be delivered again at other conferences and meetings. Do note that we go easy on the text within the presentations, because the important content comes from the speaker. If you would like our assistance with a similar presentation, please contact us. We have a rather long catalog of presentations we can offer at conferences and meetings, particularly in the municipal water and wastewater sectors in Iowa and Nebraska.
Plumbing and piping problems at an apartment complex in New York City have created a buzz over the sewage being spilled into the street. It's only a remarkable story because we don't deal with the daily flow of untreated wastewater into the open -- which wasn't uncommon in urban areas before modern sanitation practices were introduced. We are fortunate that open sewage spills are the exception today, rather than the rule.
It's being reported that more than 600 Haitians have died of cholera in the current epidemic, and that the illness has reached the capital city, where an estimated 1.3 million people are still living in refugee camps after the January earthquake. Cholera is one of many diseases that can be spread via contaminated water.
It is to prevent these kinds of diseases that ultraviolet light and chlorine are widely used to disinfect drinking water. Unfortunately, it does not appear that the infrastructure needed to reliably deliver safe drinking water on demand will become available to the 1.3 million displaced people anytime soon, which could put many more lives at risk.
Firm co-founder (and namesake) Donald Gongol passed away this past week, and the funeral was conducted this past weekend. As a family business, we appreciate the many expressions of sympathy we've received. His obituary follows:
Donald Gongol, 81, of West Des Moines, died Tuesday evening of mesothelioma. Visitation will be from 12 to 2 p.m. Saturday at McLaren's Chapel followed by a funeral service at 2:00 p.m. Burial will be at Resthaven Cemetery in West Des Moines.
Don was born August 12, 1929, to Harold and Diana (Peltier) Gongol, and graduated in 1947 from Proviso Township High School in Maywood, Illinois. He married Norma, his high school sweetheart, later that year. Don attended the Illinois Institute of Technology and worked for the Chicago Pump Company for 30 years, which he left to establish a sales firm with his son, Verne, in 1978. He retired soon after moving to Iowa in 1993.
Don enjoyed square dancing, golf, and travel, and will be remembered for his charm and his fondness for storytelling. He adored his pet dogs, most recently his beloved Boji.
Don was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Dick Gongol. He is survived by his wife, Norma; his son, Verne (Mary) Gongol of West Des Moines; and his siblings, Ken (Ann) Gongol and Carol (Clarie) Dworak both of Chicago. He is also survived by his grandchildren: Brian, of West Des Moines; Mark (Stacy), of Rapid City, South Dakota; Bill, of West Des Moines; and Bridget, of Atlanta.
The Iowa DNR is holding a meeting next Tuesday for quarries and mines in Iowa to discuss new rules for their wastewater discharges, which may require tougher standards for treatment as well as monitoring of sulfates. It's part of the state's overall tightening of standards for water quality, which is the result of a long (and ongoing) process of complying with Federal regulations.
Residents of Le Grand, Iowa, have been ordered to boil their water while their water system goes under repairs. The Iowa DNR thinks that the system could lose pressure as a result of the repairs, which would disrupt the system's disinfection quality. What many people may not realize about distribution systems is that low-pressure events can cause leaks, cracks, and loose joints in the pipes to suck contaminants into the water from the surrounding soils. The EPA has addressed this source of contamination as an area for further research and hazard mitigation. One of the ways the hazard can be addressed is through the proper application of air-release valves and vacuum breakers.
The EPA makes occasional surveys of the nation's estimated 50,000 community water systems, and the results of the latest survey have been published. The highlights of the report include observations that 18% of all systems use primarily purchased water (a number that is on the rise), that about 50% of all capital spending within water systems goes to transmission mains and distribution lines, and that a substantial portion of systems -- about a third of the publicly-owned systems -- are running operating deficits. Expenses for public systems rose by 57% between 2000 and 2006, and it's obvious that consumers have been isolated from that increase in costs. This is one of the reasons why we've presented several talks on issues like working with the mass media and marketing water systems to local communities at state conferences in our region over the last few years. It is essential for water systems of all sizes to do more to explain what we do and what resources we need in order to do it well. An old pamphlet from the AWWA carried the appropriate title "Silent Service is Not Enough!"
Happy Thanksgiving! In honor of the holiday, our office will be closed until Monday, November 29th. However, our online store is always open, and we can always be reached in an emergency via our emergency contact form.
These monitors are not only useful for tracking pollutants near sources like freeways and factories, but also for ensuring that air quality around wastewater treatment plants remains safe and healthy for nearby residents. They can also be used by large cattle-feeding operations to ensure the quality of the air for neighbors. Please feel free to contact us with your questions.