May 2020 Vol. 75 No. 5



Industry Event Cancellations Continue Through Covid-19 Lockdown

Many of the industry events that remained on schedule earlier in the coronavirus pandemic have joined the list of major cancellations as social distancing practices continued through April in the United States.

(source: NIAID Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML), U.S. NIH)

The American Water Works Association announced that its AWWA Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE20) has been cancelled. Originally scheduled for June 14–17 in Orlando, Florida, it was to have been the 139th edition of ACE. The next ACE is scheduled for June 13–16, 2021.

“With the coronavirus pandemic still unfolding, leading health authorities are asking people to avoid travel and to practice social distancing. It’s uncertain when these guidelines might change,” AWWA President Jim Williams wrote in a letter to members and exhibitors dated April 8. “With the conference less than 10 weeks away, it is hard to imagine a scenario in which we could move forward with full confidence.”

The Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI) canceled its annual membership meeting scheduled this month in Hawaii and conducted sessions that would have taken place during that event as virtual meetings.

The NASTT 2020 No-Dig show, originally scheduled for April 5–9 in Denver, Colorado, was postponed. In a statement, NASTT said conference space was unavailable later this year in Denver, and at press time the group was still looking for alternatives.

Vegas Giving up Bid to Pump, Pipe Water from Rural Valleys

Las Vegas water officials said they’re giving up a decades-long plan to pump and pipe groundwater from rural northeast Nevada to suburbs and tourist resorts in the state’s largest metropolitan area.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) said in a statement that it won’t appeal a judge’s order for the authority to recalculate the amount of water that might be available below ground to supply the project. Instead, the authority will update its 50-year water plan to focus on water conservation and solidifying ties to other states that rely on water from the Colorado River.

That makes Judge Robert Estes’ March 9 decision the final word on the authority’s bid for state approval to use water rights obtained when SNWA bought ranch land in the 1980s in arid valleys in White Pine and Lincoln counties near the Utah border.

“The water they’ve wanted to grab since 1989 never was there for the taking and never will be,” said Simeon Herskovits, lead attorney for the Great Basin Water Network, a coalition of opponents that predicted the project would cost $15 billion and would turn some areas to dust bowls.

AGC Survey Shows 28% of Projects Impacted by Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has caused more than one out of four contractors to halt or delay work on current projects, according to a survey by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

In an online survey conducted in mid-March, 28 percent of the 909 respondents replied yes to the question, “Has any owner, government agency or official directed you to halt or delay work on any projects that are either active or expected to start within the next 30 days?” In addition, 22 percent
of respondents said a supplier had notified them that deliveries would be late or cancelled.

Contractors listed numerous types of delays and shortages. Nearly one out of five (18 percent) cited shortages of required government actions or personnel, for instance to issue permits or certificates of occupancy, conduct inspections or lettings, or make project awards. Sixteen percent noted a shortage of materials, parts or equipment, including workers’ personal protective equipment such as respirators. Eleven percent reported a shortage of craft workers as individuals self-quarantine or stay home to care for others.

Equipment Rental Industry Declining Amid Pandemic

A survey from the American Rental Association (ARA) demonstrates the negative impact on demand for rental equipment across the country as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread.

The survey results representing construction/industrial and general tool/DIY members indicate a lesser economic impact than others, such as party and event rentals, albeit concerning. As of March 16, 37 percent have indicated no revenue loss, 33 percent experiencing up to 15 percent revenue loss and less than three percent reporting loss of more than 60 percent of rental revenue.

Many rental operations remain open in order to provide necessary equipment and services for customers, ARA said.

Corps of Engineers Examines Mississippi Pump Proposal

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it will re-examine the potential environmental impact of a proposal for massive pumps to drain floodwaters from parts of rural Mississippi.

Mississippi floodwaters invade a community in 2012.

Prominent Mississippi politicians have been pushing the Trump administration to revive and fund the project that was vetoed by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2008 under Republican President George W. Bush. Construction cost estimates exceed $400 million.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in April 2019 that the agency would reconsider the decision that has blocked the proposal for huge pumps to be built at the confluence of the Yazoo and Mississippi Rivers.

The Corps of Engineers filed a public notice in the Federal Register saying it will prepare a new environmental impact statement for the Yazoo Backwater Area north of Vicksburg. The expanse of Delta flatland has experienced significant flooding during nine of the past 10 years, the Corps said.

“In particular, the historic flood of 2019 caused two deaths, caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, flooded over 600 homes, and significantly adversely affected the aquatic and terrestrial environment,” the Corps said. “The recurring flooding has demonstrated the need to complete the Yazoo Area Pump Project feature.”

Opponents of the project contend that pushing water out of the south Delta could worsen flooding downstream.

U.S. Court Cancels Permit for Keystone XL

A U.S. judge canceled a key permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline that’s expected to stretch from Canada to Nebraska, another setback for the project that got underway less than two weeks earlier following years of delays.

Judge Brian Morris said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to adequately consider effects on endangered species such as pallid sturgeon, a massive, dinosaur-like fish that lives in rivers the pipeline would cross.

The ruling, however, does not shut down work that has begun at the U.S.-Canada border crossing in Montana, according to attorneys in the case. Pipeline sponsor TC Energy will need the permit for future construction across hundreds of rivers and streams along Keystone’s 1,200-mile (1,930-kilometer) route.

TC Energy was reviewing the ruling but remained “committed to building this important energy infrastructure project,” spokesman Terry Cunha said.

LAN Engineering Selected for North Texas Water Supply System

The Upper Trinity Regional Water District (UTRWD) has selected planning, engineering and program management firm Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc. (LAN) to serve as general engineering consultant for the $490 million Lake Ralph Hall Conveyance System in North Texas.

The raw water conveyance system includes a raw water pump station, 32 miles of pipeline and a new balancing reservoir. The pipeline will stretch from Lake Ralph Hall to a proposed interconnection with existing infrastructure in Collin County. The first phase of the conveyance system, currently under design, will provide 42.5 MGD of raw water.

As the general engineering consultant for the lake’s conveyance system, the LAN team will finalize the pipeline alignment to help secure rights-of-way and develop the conceptual design for the overall hydraulic system, comprising the pump station, pipeline, balancing reservoir and interconnection.

Other firms that are part of the general engineering consultant team include Plummer, Halff Associates, and CP&Y. Plummer will
provide supporting services to develop the conceptual design of the balancing reservoir
and pipeline interconnection. Halff Associates and CP&Y will provide surveying services to support property acquisition.

Phillips 66: Red Oak, Liberty, ACE Pipelines Deferred by Cost Cuts

Responding to market conditions with cost-cutting across its business lines, Phillips 66 has announced that the Red Oak Pipeline, Liberty Pipeline and Sweeny Hub fractionation expansion have all been postponed.

The diversified Houston company said that midstream-focused Phillips 66 Partners also has deferred a final investment decision on the ACE Pipeline project. Phillips 66 Partners is a master limited partnership formed by Phillips 66 in 2013.

Red Oak Pipeline, a 50/50 joint venture of Phillips 66 and Plains All American Pipeline, would be a system comprised of multiple pipeline projects to transport crude oil from Cushing, Oklahoma, and the Permian Basin in West Texas to the Texas Gulf Coast.

Liberty Pipeline, a joint venture of Phillips 66 Partners and Bridger Pipeline, would be a $1.6 billion, 700-mile pipeline of up to 24” diameter transporting light crude oil from Guernsey, Wyoming to Cushing.

ACE Pipeline would transport crude oil from the market hub in St. James Parish, Louisiana, to downstream refining destinations in Belle Chasse, Meraux, and Chalmette, Louisiana. The project is a joint venture of Phillips 66 Partners, Harvest Midstream and PBF Logistics.


From Archive


{{ error }}
{{ comment.comment.Name }} • {{ comment.timeAgo }}
{{ comment.comment.Text }}