Category Archives: Infrastructure

Klamath Falls Mini Marts pay $30,000 penalty for failing to check tanks for leaks

The owners and operators of three AMA Mini Mart gas stations in Klamath Falls, Oregon, have agreed to pay $30,000 for failing to properly monitor seven underground petroleum storage tanks (USTs) for leaks for over two years.

Under federal and state rules, owners and operators of USTs are required to test tanks for leaks on a monthly basis in order to protect groundwater from pollution.

According to Edward Kowalski, EPA’s Director of the Office of Compliance and Enforcement in Seattle, leaking tanks can also endanger drinking water.

“Out of sight should not mean out of mind when it comes to underground fuel storage tanks,” said EPA’s Kowalski. “Groundwater is often a community’s only source of drinking water. Owners of tanks must do their part to prevent oil and gas leaks and help protect people from polluted water.”

EPA inspected the AMA Mini Marts in October 2009 and found that all of the USTs at the three sites lacked the required monthly release detection for the tanks and annual testing required for the associated piping, a violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

EPA alleges that AMA Mini Mart owner Anesti Audeh was in violation from at least October 2008 through March 2011. The owner has since taken action to bring the three AMA Mini Mart facilities into compliance and has agreed to submit compliance documentation to EPA for the next six months.


Mike Feuer Calls Upon Public Utilities Commission to Provide Gas Pipeline Safety Information

Feuer Requests Answers to Concerns Raised by Investigation of San Bruno Pipeline Rupture.

Assembly Member Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) has asked the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to provide information about the safety of gas pipelines in Feuer’s district after a devastating explosion in San Bruno, California raised questions about the safety of aging pipeline infrastructure.  In a letter dated June 10, 2011, Feuer called for the CPUC’s assistance in obtaining answers to a number of specific concerns identified by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in its investigation of the pipeline rupture in San Bruno.

“The safety of my constituents is my number one priority, which is why I called on the CPUC to provide answers to a comprehensive set of questions about the safety of the pipelines running through neighborhoods in my district,” said Feuer. “I want to ensure that residents and businesses have the information they need to protect their families and workplaces.”

After the San Bruno disaster, Feuer’s office met with representatives from Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas), whose pipelines serve most of Southern California, to discuss issues of pipeline safety.  This session, Feuer supported Assembly Bill 56, legislation designating the CPUC as the state authority responsible for the development and administration of a safety program for natural gas pipelines. Feuer’s current request to the CPUC seeks information that would increase transparency and communication between SoCalGas and the communities it serves.

“I am asking for the CPUC’s help to gather information about SoCalGas pipelines to increase public awareness and promote industry practices that will contribute to safer communities,” Feuer stated.

In his letter to the CPUC, Feuer asked a number of specific questions, among them:

  • Has SoCalGas identified all gas transmission lines in the District that have not previously undergone a testing regimen designed to validate a safe operating pressure?
  • What steps has SoCalGas taken to ensure it is basing operating pressures on accurate information contained in its records?
  • Where are the high consequence areas (HCAs) located within the 42nd District?  Have residences, businesses, schools and other institutions been made aware of their proximity to the HCAs?
  • Does each high-pressure pipeline identified by SoCalGas pursuant to the NTSB recommendations have an automatic or computerized shut-off valve?  If not, why not, and when could a plan be developed to install and pay for such valves?

A complete copy of Feuer’s letter to the CPUC can be found here.

The 42nd Assembly District includes all or part of the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Sherman Oaks, Studio City, North Hollywood, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Toluca Lake, Universal City, Griffith Park, West Los Angeles, Brentwood, Bel Air, Holmby Hills, Beverly Glen, Westwood, Century City, Hollywood, Fairfax, Hancock Park, Los Feliz and the Cities of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.


£3.5 contract awarded for Forth bridge cable corrosion probe

AN INVESTIGATION is to be launched into potential corrosion of the Forth Road Bridge’s main cable anchors.

A £3.5 million contract for the work was yesterday awarded by the Forth Estuary Transport Authority, which runs the bridge, to Graham Construction.This follows ongoing work to dry out the rest of the cable in an attempt to halt corrosion, which has already triggered the building of a new adjacent crossing costing up to £1.6 billion.

The anchorage work is expected to start in August, with 30ft deep excavations at the south end of the bridge taking a year. Inspection work and evaluation of the findings will take a further year.

Chief engineer and bridgemaster Barry Colford said there was no external evidence of any problem, but the work was a “very important investigation into what are critical components of the suspension bridge”.

He added: “It is our responsibility to inspect every part of the structure in order to ensure there are no hidden issues.”

The anchors are concrete-filled tunnels bored into the rock on either shore, where the bridge’s main suspension cables are attached to the ground.

Illinois American Water continues its pipeline replacement program – Aging Infrastructure

The barricades are coming down on Illinois 159 at the Swansea-Belleville  border as Illinois American Water completes the first phase of its $1.6 million water  main replacement and corrosion project.

About  700 feet of 8-inch water main dating from 1958 was replaced at a cost of about $325,000.

The replacement program focuses on replacing mains where leaks occur,  corrosion has caused damage or the size of the pipe isn’t sufficient.

Work on the $1.6 million project is starting up in other parts of the  metro-east as 1.8 miles of two-inch water mains are replaced with six-inch and  eight-inch mains.

The replacement will enhance water quality and water pressure, as well as  fire protection, the company said. The main replacement projects kicked off in  May with the replacement of about 800 feet of water main on Fahey Place in Belleville.

“Water mains are critical to the delivery of water for use by residents,  businesses, manufacturers and fire fighters,” said Grant Evitts, operations  manager for Illinois American’s Interurban District. “While this infrastructure  is underground and out of sight, it is easy to take it for granted, but at  Illinois American Water, we continue to invest to ensure reliability.”

“The age of the pipes coupled with corrosion and sediment accumulation over  the years makes the replacements necessary,” Evitts said. “Illinois American  Water continues to invest annually in its systems to ensure that local water  quality and service continues to be as good as or better than local, state and  federal quality standards.”


Corrosion under the Lincoln Street Bridge is prompting the City of Wichita to begin building a new bridge

Lincoln Bridge Closing Disrupts Local Fishermen

“I know they’ve got to do their job but it’s going to affect a lot of the good fishing down through there,” said Kenneth Snell, with a fishing rod in one hand, ready to fish south of the Lincoln Street Bridge.

Fishermen along the Arkansas River were not looking forward to finding new spots to make a catch.

“This is the best spot. The heads are taking it down from us but we could wait. We don’t have no other choice,” said Snell.

The 40-year-old bridge is located above a dam that has been wearing down the support and steel. City engineers said patching up the problems would be too costly.

“Even though the existing bridge could be repaired, we’ve done an economical analysis and found that it was more economical to construct a new bridge and then move the current dam out from underneath,” said Jim Armour, city engineer for the City of Wichita.

The new dam will be moved about 200 feet downstream from its current location. Engineers said the new dam will help stabilize river levels upstream.

“Although this won’t completely eliminate any flooding upstream, it’ll reduce the occasions of that,” said Armour.

Starting Monday, engineers will lower river levels. This is something engineers said will be helpful in the long-run.

“The citizens will see a lot more stability in the river level upstream once the new dam is completed,” said Armour. “I think this bridge will have a service life of 50 to a hundred years.”

Although fishermen didn’t like the move, they said they’re looking forward to a new bridge.

“Whenever they do get through it, I know it’ll look nice,” said Snell.

The Lincoln Street Bridge will be closed to pedestrians and motorists starting Monday. Traffic will be detoured using Harry Street, McClean Boulevard, and both Main and Market Streets.

The project is expected to be complete by the fall of 2012.


Network Rail Protecting Royal Albert Bridge from Corrosion

Around 50,000 new bolts are being used in Network Rail’s major project, which started in late May, to restore Brunel’s famous Royal Albert bridge that was built in 1859.

These bolts – as ‘precious and mighty as Brunel’s legendary golden rivet bolt’ – will be vital to keep the landmark structure strong for the next century and beyond.

The £10m improvement scheme will see engineers investing nearly 2m hours of work over the next two years to strengthen and repaint Royal Albert bridge, bringing it back to its former glory.

Around 35,000 litres of special paint will also be used to spruce up and protect the bridge’s steel façade from corrosion.

Mark Langman, route director for Network Rail said:

“We have a big task to transform the railway on Great Western in the coming years and the improvement on Royal Albert bridge plays a big part.

“The Royal Albert bridge remains a vital rail link and has carried more than 1 billion tonnes of rail traffic since it was built. This is the most complex refurbishment work ever and our work will inject a new lease of life and keep the landmark bridge robust for many years to come.”

To be carried out in five stages, the work will start concurrently from each end of the bridge and it is carefully designed to minimize disruption to the community and passengers.

The scaffolding will be encapsulated to create a contained safe working environment to prevent dust and debris from falling from the structure and to reduce any noise pollution.

The encapsulation is sealed to help reduce any noise and its roof is also pitched to prevent accumulation of rain water, which could add weight to the structure. In addition, the encapsulation will form a tunnel around the track, so that engineers can continue to access the structure when trains are running.

A large industrial vacuum cleaner will be used to remove all waste, including grit produced during the blasting process. This waste will be removed daily to prevent any contamination to the environment.

The structure was listed Grade 1 in 1952 by the English Heritage, which has also backed this project.

Engineers use Route 23 bridge in Wayne to study corrosion

WAYNE – An international team of engineers and researchers, each dressed in a yellow vest and hard hat, on Tuesday poked and prodded – so to speak – at a steel string bridge, looking for signs of deterioration & corrosion.

International engineers conduct a study of highway bridge deterioration using a bridge on Route. 23 in Wayne for the test.

As drivers whizzed by without giving thought to the condition of the structure, the engineers were unleashing a variety of high tech tools – ground penetrating radar, ultrasonic equipment and impact echoing technology – to aid them in evaluating the bridge deck that spans Route 23. The bridge carries traffic over Mountainview Boulevard in Wayne.
They are part of the “International Bridge Study,” a project organized by the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation at Rutgers University in June 2010. It brings together engineers and researchers from Japan, Switzerland, Austria, Korea, the United States and other nations to study the North Jersey bridge, according to Carl Blesch, a spokesman for Rutgers University.

Their purpose is two-fold. They are looking for ways to identify bridge corrosion early so that it can be treated earlier – when the cost is less expensive. They are also looking for ways to treat corrosion that extends the life of infrastructure in their own countries.

“We have no sustainable path forward to manage our infrastructure,” said Franklin Moon, an associate professor of structural engineering at Drexel University, a lead engineer on the project.

“If you want a public infrastructure system, someone has to pay for it. Public infrastructure costs more now than it has to cost,” he said. “We’re spending a lot of money on repairs we might not need to do if we can catch them early.”

Moon said there are 600,000 bridges in the nation and 66,000 in New Jersey. He said he believes agencies are spending more to maintain bridges than they need to because bridge repairs often do not occur until the deterioration has progressed significantly.

He said corrosion expands the rebar in the bridge and when it expands, it pops the concrete, creating a pothole. If the corrosion is detected earlier, it can be treated – with a corrosion inhibitor, for instance – which can prevent it from expanding, he said.

“It’s analogous to finding cancer early so you can deal with it,” he said. “Find cancer late and you’re in trouble … If you let that go to the point that it’s spalling and you’ve got potholes, now you’re out there with a jack hammer and replacing it.”

Moon said the New Jersey Department of Transportation selected the Wayne bridge to study because it is representative of 2,600 other bridges in the state. They all have similar drainage, deck quality and vibration issues, he said.

This bridge, which was built in 1983, handles about 73,100 vehicles a day, said Tim Greeley, spokesman for the state transportation department.

It was last inspected in July 2010, and “is in overall fair condition,” he said.

Greeley said all bridges 20-feet in length or longer are inspected at least every two years.

The teams will meet for a workshop June 14 and 15 to share findings and make recommendations.