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Giving Back To Our Community with Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk

By Chris Falzarano on 5/18/2015

It was a rainy start to the day on Saturday, but that didn't deter our group of volunteers from helping Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk. The skies eventually cleared for our group, who worked on a new Mastic Beach home's sheathing and framing. Thanks to our volunteers for taking the time out of their weekend to help a family in need: Allison White, Bill Brenan, Chris Weiss, Joyce Cuggino , Charles Armstrong, James Williamson, Karlene Beale, Todd Zabbia, Carmine Urciuoli, Michael Yehdego, Arthur Eschete, Kevin Medler, Danny Tanzi, Josh Klimaszewski, and Amanda Seidel. Check out our photos from the day below!

Can Wastewater Reuse Solve Water Scarcity?

By Chris Falzarano on 4/30/2015
From what we use to build and power our homes to how we cultivate food, people globally are searching for a sustainable response to rapid social and economic growth. But what if I told you there’s a less discussed sustainable solution picking up steam? Be warned that this one might have a bit of a “yuck factor,” but, if overcome, could revolutionize our daily lives and resolve water scarcity.  I’m talking about wastewater reuse. Sounds gross, right? Except it isn’t, and we have the ability to treat wastewater effluent to the same high-quality standards we use for our everyday water. In fact, wastewater can be so clean that it can be used to brew beer. While it may not be at the forefront of discussion in the northeastern region of the country, when talking on a larger scale—like nationally or globally—it has the potential to solve the threat of water scarcity. Beyond the most basic form, which is its indirect potable application, wastewate ...

Investigating a Fire

By Chris Falzarano on 4/6/2015
When I first joined my local volunteer fire department in high school, little did I know that my entire life would go on to revolve around dealing with fire. I eventually became chief of the department and, through the years, saw too many needless fires burn. People lost their homes, businesses, family heirlooms, important documents, and in the most severe cases, they lost their lives. After spending a majority of my career putting out fires, I went on to join the New York City Police Department as a fire and arson detective. For eight years, I was able to use my experience as a firefighter to investigate the origin of hundreds of fires and explosions.  It may sound daunting, but when we fire investigators are staring at a pile of ashes and rubble, we are still able to determine the origin of the damage. Let’s take a look at the most common process for investigating fire and arson damage. The Call Fire investigations begin as soon as we receive the assignment. Relevant infor ...

A different kind of spring cleaning: Repainting elevated water storage tanks for longevity and performance

By Chris Falzarano on 3/25/2015
Now that spring has sprung, many of us will begin our spring cleaning activities, and one big project a homeowner might decide to tackle is repainting their home’s exterior. Many of our public water suppliers will be taking on their own repainting projects, except while we’re on ladders with a paintbrush and roller, their projects will take repainting to another level.  Water storage tanks come in an array of shapes and sizes, and the elevated water storage tanks we typically see throughout our communities are constructed of steel. They are 500,000 to 1 million gallons in size, maintain water pressure, and provide an immediate supply of water for fire protection and routine water use. Elevated water storage tank before rehabilitation[/caption] Does it surprise you that these water storage tanks are constructed of a corrosive material like steel?  Well, fear not about rust, because each tank is painted with durable interior and exterior coating systems to protect t ...

Run.

By Chris Falzarano on 3/10/2015
If anyone can tell you first-hand about the difficulties of training for and running a marathon, it’s our resident marathon runner, Chris Woodson. Since beginning her career as a marathon runner less than three years ago, Chris has completed six full marathons and 18 half marathons, and she is planning to add a few more to her resume in 2015. Tell us about your upcoming races. This year I will be doing the Portland, Maine full marathon in October and three more half marathons over the course of this year. What has been your best time? Full Marathon: 4:49:06 Half Marathon: 1:55:38 I’m not a fast runner, but every year I keep pushing myself to do better. I chip away at the time little bit by little bit. There are so many factors involved during training and on race day that you just have to give it your best shot no matter what occurs. I’ve dealt with sickness, injuries and poor food decisions…through all of this, to me, there’s always been a great sense of ...

Meet The Superheroes Protecting Us From Stormwater Runoff

By Chris Falzarano on 2/4/2015
We may not have long, flowing capes or wear our underwear on the outside of our pants (at least not in any offices that enforce a dress code), but civil engineers are superheroes. You heard me right. Civil engineers are superheroes, but we’re the planet-protecting kind. And, due to the lack of vengeful Kyrptonian war criminals or radioactive spider bites involved in our day-to-day lives, you may have not realized it until about four sentences ago. But don’t just take my word for it. The proof, as they say, is in the stormwater runoff. Or, more appropriately, it’s in the lack of stormwater runoff. Development Happens  As undisturbed land is transformed to meet the needs of the burgeoning human population, we watch forest, field and stream give way to pavement, park and building. And when pavement replaces vegetation, the land loses its ability to keep water on-site, which means it can no longer filter it, slow it down and allow it to seep into the ground. The resu ...

When a Firefighter Designs Firehouses

By Chris Falzarano on 1/6/2015
Growing up on Long Island with a family lineage of volunteer firefighters, all signs pointed toward me following in their footsteps. Throughout my childhood, I watched my grandfather, uncle, cousins and brother all volunteer as firemen to serve their respective communities. When I finally turned 18 years old—the age at which I could volunteer to be a fireman in my own community—I jumped at the opportunity to continue on with my family’s tradition. At 18, I also began to carve my path as an architect in college. I was first exposed to architecture through a drafting class in my junior year of high school. However, it wasn’t until a school field trip to H2M that I realized I would be able to tie architecture to my passion for being a volunteer firefighter. Before that field trip, I took firehouses for granted. They existed, and I had been inside them more times than I could count, but I never gave any thought to how they got there. Obviously, they were built by so ...

Sustainble Energy from Underground

By Chris Falzarano on 12/15/2014
With the world shifting its focus to solving the earth’s climate challenges, renewable energy has quickly become the focal point for many designers, developers and contractors. As a means of protecting the earth and its future generations, we are learning to harvest the earth’s renewable natural resources—such as sunlight, wind, and rain—and turn them into clean, renewable energy. And while those sustainable sources of energy have become the most common, there is another that is becoming more prevalent but is less discussed—geothermal energy. Exactly as it sounds, geothermal energy in its most basic form is heat from the earth. It can be found as shallow as the first ten feet of the earth’s surface, where temperatures are consistently maintained between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. A few miles deeper underground you will find hot water and rock, with the extremely high temperatures of the earth’s magma deeper than that. A clean and sustainable resource, geothermal ene ...

Industry Insight: The Great Fracking Debate (as seen by water suppliers)

By Chris Falzarano on 11/18/2014
The process of hydraulic fracking—better known as hydrofracking or simply fracking—has been the source of an overwhelming amount of controversy. From films like “Gasland” to news that earthquakes are linked to the drilling, concerns about fracking continue to grow on a global scale. Our own Paul Granger, P.E. is one of the founders of the Hydraulic Fracturing Committee for the New York State Section of the American Water Works Association (NYSAWWA), and is currently the committee’s Chairman. We sat down with Paul to discuss the issues currently surrounding fracking, as well as the impact that it can have on our water supply. Can you go over the source of the controversy around fracking? As you know, hydraulic fracturing is very controversial. It’s a very complex, large-scale construction and industrial operation that involves drilling rigs and acres of disturbed area. People are concerned, and rightfully so, about the contamination of their drinking ...

PSEG Long Island's Utility 2.0 Plan: What you should know

By Chris Falzarano on 10/23/2014
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, over 90 percent of Long Island Power Authority’s (LIPA) customers found themselves without power, some for weeks. As a result, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo stripped LIPA of their duties and handed the responsibilities over to Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), who created the subsidiary PSEG Long Island. They were given full authority to oversee the daily operational duties, budgeting, storm preparation, maintenance, infrastructure improvements, energy efficiency and renewable activity. With much of Long Island wondering how PSEG Long Island will be any different than LIPA, they created their Utility 2.0 Plan in response. What is PSEG Long Island’s Utility 2.0 plan? It’s a proposal where PSEG plans to invest up to $200 million in energy efficiency, direct load control, distributed solar photovoltaics (PV), and other programs spanning from 2015 through 2018. The investments are programmatic, focusing on improving energy eff ...
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