Notes & Updates From Gary

February 20th, 2018 | Posted by IPIA Admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)
Baby Boomer Exodus Leaves Water Utilities Understaffed. Baby boomers are retiring from water utilities in record numbers and the pool of certified treatment operators to take those jobs is running dry. Workforce retention is the top issue facing water utilities in the next 5 to 10 years, according to the Water Research Foundation‘s survey of utilities. Few programs train water treatment operators — who run the equipment and control the treatment processes to keep drinking water safe and wastewater — and larger utilities are more likely to attract talented workers, leaving smaller systems in the lurch. Most of those systems serve communities of fewer than 10,000 people and the problem is especially acute among smaller and rural utilities. To attract employees, some systems like the Hampton Roads Sanitation District in Virginia, which serves 1.7 million people, drew upon its nearly 40-year-old apprentice program where younger employees are trained on the job to qualify for a license. Similarly, the Halifax County Service Authority have tried mentoring and training programs to educate younger workers, but that wasn’t enough to fill the vacancies the authority said. Water utilities want to tap into a nationwide apprenticeship program that the Department of Labor and the National Rural Water Association jointly launched in November 2017. Many Questions as Expert Committee Begins Study of Legionella in Plumbing. Researchers, government officials, and technical experts met last week in Washington, D.C. for the first meeting of a National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine investigation on minimizing the spread of Legionella bacteria in building plumbing and municipal water systems. Legionnaires’ disease sickened at least 6,141 people in 2016 in the United States and killed several hundred, a death toll that is higher than any other water-related illness in the country. Legionnaires’ cases have increased more than four-fold in the last 15 years. The study aims to shed light on a disease that was first identified relatively recently, in 1976. For water systems, the committee will look at factors that increase the risk of Legionella growth. Within the building that means water temperature, water stagnation, plumbing design, disinfection, and age of pipes. The study, expected to take 18 months to complete, is sponsored by three federal agencies — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Veterans Affairs — and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a philanthropic group with an interest in microbes in cities and buildings.

IPIA Continuing Education Lunch
Hello IPIA Members,

Please RSVP ​ASAP​! - if you will be attending the monthly IPIA Charter Chapter meeting:

NOON -  ​Wednesday February 21st

​ Medinah Shrine Center​, ​550 Shriners Drive​, Addison IL 60101


Please RSVP to: ​​  or call Victoria at: 630-434-9200

  Thank you!

From Plumber To Olympian!

February 19th, 2018 | Posted by IPIA Admin in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)
The life of a top U.S. snowboarder is an expensive one, but Jonathan Cheever, who is currently in the Olympics, has supported himself with a family trade. He’s a plumber. Cheever grew up sorting plumbing fixtures for his father’s business when he was 10 years old — about the same time he began snowboarding. Shortly after high school he passed the test for his own plumbing license. He tried college, but gave it up after his freshman year to move to Utah and focus on his real love — snowboarding. Less than six months later, he was on the national team — a dream come true. But the national team doesn’t financially support the snowboarders, and all that travel can add up. It was in Utah that he realized his plumbing could help support his snowboarding. “I was like, ‘Oh man, I could use some money,’ and then, you know, people I'm staying with are like ‘actually, our friends need their faucet changed or their sink changed’ or ‘they just bought a new gas range. Can you install it for them? And they'll pay you.’” He also started doing installations for a Home Depot subcontractor. Cheever says running his own small business also meant he could get a bigger line of credit, which he used to support his snowboarding. Be on the lookout for Cheever when cheering on Team USA this weekend!
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Free download of the ASSE International Plumbing Dictionary, Sixth Edition! Join the plumbers, architects, engineers, attorneys and students throughout the country who use the ASSE International Plumbing Dictionary (6th Edition) to learn their plumbing terminology. The ASSE International Plumbing Dictionary gives you access to over 4,000 plumbing words, terms, abbreviations, cross-references and illustrations.

The EPA to Jumpstart "War On Lead" is due in part from contributions of Gary W. Howard and David Dertz from the Illinois Plumbing Inspectors Association

Industry Update.

Largest On-site Water Recycling System in the U.S. Recently,<> announced that its new corporate headquarters, Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, will feature the largest on-site water recycling system in a commercial high rise in the U.S. In Salesforce Tower, wastewater—from sources such as rooftop rainwater collection, cooling towers, showers, sinks, toilets and urinals—will be collected and treated in a centralized water treatment center. From there, the recycled water will recirculate through a separate pipe system to serve non-drinkable uses in the Salesforce building, like drip irrigation and toilet flushing. The system will save up to 30,000 gallons of fresh water a day, equivalent to the yearly water consumption of 16,000 San Francisco residents. The system is engineered to reduce the building’s usage of local drinking water supply by an estimated 7.8 million gallons annually — representing a reported 76% reduction in the building’s water footprint. This initiative is first partnership in the U.S. between a city government, a building owner and a tenant to support blackwater reuse in a commercial high-rise building. The system will provide water recycling capabilities for all tenants in Salesforce Tower.

Lethal Legionella Outbreak Caused By Low Chlorine In Flint Water. An outbreak of Legionnaires' disease that killed 12 people and sickened at least 87 in Flint, Mich., in 2014 and 2015 was caused by low chlorine levels in the municipal water system, scientists have confirmed. It's the most detailed evidence yet linking the bacterial disease to the city's broader water crisis. In April 2014, Flint's water source switched from Lake Huron to the Flint River. Almost immediately, residents noticed tap water was discolored and acrid-smelling. By 2015, scientists uncovered that the water was contaminated with lead and other heavy metals. Just months after the water source changed, hospitals were reporting large numbers of people with Legionnaires' disease. Although the outbreak of Legionnaires' happened at the same time as the Flint water crisis, it was initially unclear how the two were connected. After earlier research suggested that chlorine levels might be the key, Swanson and colleagues at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Sammy Zahran of Colorado State University and a team of researchers at Wayne State University in Detroit, began analyzing detailed water and epidemiological data from the six-year period before, during and after the crisis. The new studies also suggest that a complex set of factors may be responsible for low chlorine levels during the crisis. In addition to killing microbes, chlorine can react with heavy metals like lead and iron, and with organic matter from a river. That means lead and iron in the water may have decreased the amount of chlorine available to kill bacteria.

EPA to Jumpstart 'War on Lead' with Strategy Meeting. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is jumpstarting his promised campaign against lead contamination with a meeting of staff at the White House next week. Pruitt this week invited the leaders of the 17 agencies that make up President Trump's Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children to discuss a draft plan to eliminate lead exposure to children in the U.S. and mitigate health risks, according to a statement released by EPA. In the letter, Pruitt asked attendees to come prepared to consider any actions that the government could undertake in the next three years to reduce lead's health impacts on children. Attendees included U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. According to the letter, one of the plan's goals would be developing cross-federal research to better understand the effects and best control methods for lead contamination. Pruitt has previously highlighted his desire to focus on stopping lead contamination, calling his push a "war on lead." However, at least one member of Congress has been critical of how much Pruitt's push would ultimately achieve. At a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on Capitol Hill last Tuesday, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) said of Pruitt's proclamation against lead, "your rhetoric does not match your actions.”

Efficiency Standard Delays Pose Challenges for Appliance Makers. The Energy Department’s delay in deciding whether to issue new efficiency standards for refrigerators and other home appliances has led to uncertainty for some manufacturers. Since March 2016, the department missed eight statutory deadlines for assessing whether new home appliance energy efficiency standards are needed. The agency has moved 20 efficiency standards to a long-term status, meaning it likely won’t take action on them this year. Appliance manufacturers are frustrated because they don’t know how to design products to meet standards that have not yet been completed. Energy efficiency advocates say consumers and businesses potentially could save billions of dollars if the standards are updated. By law, the Energy Department must set national minimum energy efficiency standards for more than 60 home and commercial appliances, ranging from dishwashers to pool heaters. It assesses product standards every six years for most products to decide whether the benefits of energy savings from tougher efficiency standards outweigh the costs to manufacturers. The Natural Resources Defense Council is considering whether to take legal action on the eight efficiency standards for which deadlines were missed since spring 2016. Three of the deadlines were missed during the Obama administration and five have been missed so far during the Trump administration.

Trump Call for Faster Infrastructure Permits Faces Uncertain Road. Several federal agencies are working to speed permitting of infrastructure projects, even though it remains to be seen whether Congress will act on President Trump's related request to move things along. There is much that agencies can do within the restrictions of existing laws, though they can expect legal challenges to many permits for roads, ports, dams, pipelines, airports, and other basic infrastructure. The Environmental Protection Agency has a role in administrating the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, among other environmental laws. The agency will make environmental permitting decisions within six months under a program the agency plans to launch at the end of 2018, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told state agriculture officials in January. As the primary manager of federal land, the Interior Department has a large role in energy development as well as permitting for anything crossing federal lands. Interior's Bureau of Land Management posted an instruction memorandum Jan. 31 with details on expediting oil and gas leasing. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with a big role in Clean Water Act permitting, is working on permitting improvements. During the Obama administration the Corps set a target for completing project feasibility studies in three years, a target that was then written into the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014. If the Corps achieves that goal, it will be a substantial change. Environmental impact statements can take two years or more and amount to thousands of pages, because the writers try to cover every possible objection out of fear of lawsuits. Interior Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt issued a memorandum last year setting a target of one year for completing an environmental impact statement, with flexibility to go beyond as needed.