Noticing green lakes around you?
June 11, 2012

Anyone traveling on Interstate 35 between Des Moines and the Twin Cities passes over Lake Albert Lea in southern Minnesota. It's a reasonably large lake -- large enough for recreational uses like boating and swimming. Right now, it's also green. That's because it's having a green algae bloom, thanks to a combination of warm weather and nutrient runoff. Lots of lakes have this problem all over the Midwest, especially because we have so much runoff of fertilizer from farm fields and residential lawns. The fertilizer feeds the algae, which proceed to take off and grow rapidly. Some communities try to manage algae with chemicals, but algae can also be fought off with a combination of aeration and mixing.

We have those aerators and mixers available -- and at very affordable prices. Contact us and let us know the scale of your algae problem, and we'll help you find a low-cost (and potentially visually attractive) solution.

Sioux City water rates may rise
June 12, 2012

The city council in Sioux City is considering a 7% increase in water rates. The public rarely, if ever, considers what happens with their drinking water unless one of three things happens: (1) Water rates rise, (2) a nearby water main breaks, or (3) their water starts to taste funny. While that's a testament to the high quality of work done by water professionals in America, it's also a real public-relations challenge. Since everyone uses water, water rates have an impact on everyone in a community -- nobody can avoid paying them. And people on fixed incomes tend to be very sensitive to changes in costs like water rates because it can be difficult to offset a 7% increase in rates with a roughly 7% decrease in water use. So the increased cost of water often comes at the expense of other items in the budget.

But water utilities, like everyone else, face increasing costs for things like energy and face inflationary pressures as well. And, due to decades of under-investment in America's water infrastructure, the country as a whole will have to spend a lot of money to upgrade, repair, and replace portions of our infrastructure that will fail if we don't act.

Some communities take a slow-growth approach and raise their rates a little bit every year. Others try to freeze their rates for as long as possible in order to avoid public backlash. There isn't necessarily a one-size-fits-all approach. However, every community water system needs to take an active role in explaining to the public why they need to consistently invest in their infrastructure. Plant and equipment items wear out, the government imposes new regulations, and new threats to water safety emerge. Examples of those new threats include everything from nanoparticles contaminating the water to endocrine-disrupting chemicals to security and terrorist threats. The push to move away from gaseous chlorine for water disinfection is just a single example of an expensive, long-term issue that will cost many water utilities a lot of money to deliver the same quality of water to the end user.

We have offered several presentations to water utilities on public information and education. Please feel free to contact us with your questions.

It's time for some rain
June 18, 2012

The latest USDA update says that about 60% of crop land in Iowa and about 65% of agricultural land in Nebraska is now short on moisture -- and to roughly the same degrees for both topsoil and subsoil. We're starting to see crop stress as a result, and that could hurt us economically in the Upper Midwest. Additionally, precipitation shortfalls are widely remedied in Nebraska through irrigation, which draws down natural water supplies and aquifers. Municipal water supplies, naturally, are affected by higher water demand as well, as households and businesses water their lawns.

Related items: water pressure booster stationscanal gates for open-ditch irrigationwell pumps

Updated today: Our portable submersible pump line
June 20, 2012

We've just finished updating our lineup of portable submersible pumps for bypass pumping, lagoon and pond pumpdown, and other dewatering service. These pumps are available for quick shipment at very affordable prices.

We've also just updated our lineup of portable shredder pumps. These pumps feature carbide-tipped impellers with an enhanced spiral shredder mechanism plate, to help take apart solids in sewage pumping stations, septic tanks, and flood-related applications.

Ouch: One water shutoff gone wrong
June 27, 2012

The City of Cedar Rapids is on the hook for a lot of water damage to a home after a water utility employee thought he had shut off water to the house in anticipation of it being vacant all last winter -- but he had apparently unwittingly closed the wrong valve. It's obviously a case of a totally honest mistake, but it goes to show just how much damage can happen when water service lines freeze and break.

More drought than we've seen in a long time
June 28, 2012

It's been a long time since this much of the country has been in a drought. Most of Iowa and most of Nebraska are feeling the effects, but we're fortunate not to be suffering from the incredible wildfires out in Colorado. The enormous fire in and west of Colorado Springs is likely to continue taxing firefighters to their limits for some time to come. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed and tens of thousands of people have been evacuated. But the impact really takes hold when you can see neighborhood before-and-after photos. There are wildfires all over the intermountain West today.

See our expanded page for portable submersible pumps
June 29, 2012

Permanently-mounted self-priming pumps have been our most popular options for municipal wastewater applications for nearly three decades. But for simple, temporary pumping applications, we have a newly-updated lineup of portable submersible pumps, running on a variety of electrical power supplies, as well as DC batteries. Most of these pumps are available for quick shipment anywhere in the continental United States. Certain models can achieve flows in excess of 400 gallons per minute.

Past water and wastewater news updates