H2M Blog



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 ...

H2mers Conquer Tough Mudder Tri-State 2014

By Chris Falzarano on 10/14/2014

On Saturday, Oct. 11, a group of H2Mers braved 10.2 miles of relentless obstacles at the Tough Mudder Tri-State 2014 challenge.Tough Mudder is a supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project and, to date, they have raised over $6 million to support the transition of thousands of warriors returning home from the current military conflicts. Each donation made supports the 19 free, diverse programs provided by Wounded Warrior Project to assist injured veterans on the journey toward successful civilian life.

Is bigger always better?

By Chris Falzarano on 10/1/2014
Like many of us, I end up on a lot of unintentional Internet treasure hunts.  One article, photo, video, or blurb will lead me to another, then another, then another. Before I know it, an hour or two has passed and I’ve forgotten what I sat down to find in the first place. Nevertheless, the Web is where I establish most of my day-to-day fascinations, from DIY projects to miniature pigs.  Maybe it’s because I always wanted a treehouse as a child, but my latest preoccupation is with tiny houses. Tiny houses are, by their very definition, incredibly small.  Ranging anywhere from 70 to 870 square feet but rarely exceeding 500, they are simply-built dwellings, the smallest of them attached to trailers for reasons of mobility and legality. Since modern building codes account for minimum house sizes, egress requirements, ceiling heights, and other factors, most tiny houses are constructed on wheels, allowing them to be classified as a semi-trailer or mobile home. Of ...

Small Spaces: Micro-unit housing and the shift toward- cost effective living

By Chris Falzarano on 9/19/2014
You may have noticed a trend popping up in the media about “small spaces.” It is visible on TV with shows like Small Space Big Style, in books like “The Not So Big House,” and online with ApartmentTherapy.com. This rise in interest is driven primarily by young professional city-dwellers, who are taking on a “less-is-more” attitude. They look for a cost-effective way of living that is close to the centers of major cities, with access to various means of transportation. The beginnings of this movement towards smaller space began just after the housing bubble burst in 2008. We began to monitor our financial situations more closely, looking at how much house was actually affordable and, more importantly, how much space was really needed. Along with readjusting finances came the realization that there had to be a balance between wants and needs, driving up the demand for smaller spaces in the housing market. On top of cutting overhead, buyers and renters ...

An Intro to Arc Flash: Dangerous, Misunderstood, Overlooked, Preventable

By Chris Falzarano on 8/27/2014
Due to the nature of their work, water and wastewater treatment plant operators are potentially at a higher risk for accidents and injury. They use chemicals, are exposed to hazardous energy sources, work in or around confined spaces, and face various environmental and health hazards. A safe work environment will promote practices that safeguard employees and enhance public health protection. Another safety hazard that can be encountered in the workplace, which you may or not be familiar with, is Arc Flash. Due to an increase in documented incidents resulting in serious injuries or death, Arc Flash awareness and concerns have recently been heightened throughout the industry. The following will provide you with a better understanding of Arc Flash, the safety concerns involved with Arc Flash, and the measures that can be undertaken to mitigate the potential for incidents. What is Arc Flash? Arc Flash, not to be confused with electric shock, is a rapid release of energy due to an arcing f ...
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