E-news for the Construction Division Summer 2013

PEC Hightower Fellowship Winner

Camilla "Cami" Snow is currently a full-time master's student studying environmental engineering at Utah State University. Her interest in environmental engineering began while conducting a community water quality assessment for her 8th grade school science fair and she has been working with water quality ever since. Cami's graduate research involves investigating the temperature effects of beaver ponds on streams which includes developing an energy balance for a temperature model and determining methods for more accurate solar radiation measurements underwater. 

While involved in Engineers Without Borders, her water quality interests extended to a small community in Mexico to which she traveled with a team to assess the drinking water quality and latrine waste handling practices. Additionally, as part of the Water Environment Federation's student design competition, her team took second place nationally for designing methods to reduce the phosphorus loading from a wastewater treatment plant flowing into a local reservoir.

Besides working on water quality projects, Cami has also been involved with many other student and professional organizations throughout her collegiate career. She organized the Environmental Coalition of Students to teach adults about conservation and sustainability and led activities as part of the Society of Women Engineers teaching school-aged kids about engineering. She has also served as the student senator for her school's College of Engineering and volunteered in many other community service capacities.

For more information on the PEC Hightower Fellowship, visit the PEC Web site.

NSPE Legislative Affairs News

NSPE Urges House Committee
To Support Two-Step Design-Build Selection Process

On July 9, NSPE urged the House Appropriations Committee to revise House Report 113-90 on the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2014 (HR 2216) to unequivocally identify that the two-phase, qualifications-based selection process be followed on all military construction projects. In a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY), NSPE President Dan Wittliff, P.E., F.NSPE writes: "NSPE believes the two-step/two-phase selection process ensures that competent and qualified design professionals are initially involved in the procurement process so that quality-based design considerations are incorporated into the drawings, plans, and specifications consistent with the interests of the public health and safety."  Read President Wittliff's letter.

NSPE-PAC Participates in Event for Speaker of the
House John Boehner

NSPE's Government Relations Manager Arielle Eiser attended a political action committee event for Speaker of the House John Boehner. Other U.S. representatives present were David Valadao (CA-21), David Joyce (OH-14), Mike Coffman (CO-6), Scott Tipton (CO-3), Jeff Denham (CA-10), and Rodney Davis (IL-13). NSPE's top legislative issues were discussed, including professional liability and tort reform, energy policy, infrastructure, and the need to strengthen the American engineering workforce. This was an excellent opportunity to cultivate and strengthen relationships with important members of Congress.

Educating Tomorrow's Engineers Act Introduced

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY-20), and Congressman Joe Kennedy (D-MA-4) introduced the Educating Tomorrow's Engineers Act (S. 1178/H.R. 2426). This bill would integrate engineering education into the K
12 curriculum, provide instructors with tools and support to effectively teach engineering education, and promote research in engineering education. NSPE has sent a letter of support and is working closely with the sponsors to promote the bill and add new sponsors to this vital piece of legislation. NSPE has also posted an Action Alert. Take action today!

NSPE Attends Congressional Briefing
On the Role of Engineering in K
12 STEM Education

NSPE attended a congressional briefing cohosted by the National Science Foundation, ASME, and DISCOVER Magazine entitled "Harnessing the Power of Engineering to Improve STEM Education in K
12 Schools." Speakers from the NSF, the Museum of Science, and the University of Maryland School of Engineering all spoke about the critical importance of emphasizing engineering in education as early as elementary school. Studies clearly show that earlier engineering education improves student achievement, problem-solving skills, and increases the number of students interested in pursuing careers in engineering.

For a complete list of NSPE legislative activities, visit
NSPE's Issues and Advocacy page
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EPA Compliance Programs Require Awareness, Information, Action

Steve Storts

As reported earlier this year, the construction industry was under advisement that aggressive enforcement tactics of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration would continue in 2013, but what about other regulatory bodies? For instance, how are construction stakeholders faring this year with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency?

Recent EPA notifications of enforcement activities point toward more cooperative efforts in regulating construction site stormwater runoff, dredge and fill activities in U.S. waters and wetlands, oil and chemical spills, air emissions, asbestos handling, and solid/hazardous waste storage and disposal. Still, some notable violations persist. 

In June, a construction company under contract with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation was cited with $55,000 in penalties for violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) at a road construction project in Bellingham. The company has agreed to pay the fine for failing to install and maintain “best management practices” sufficient to minimize discharge of muddy storm water and residual pollutants to the Peters River and Arnolds Brook. 

A little farther south, two companies consented in March to pay civil penalties of $130,000 and $56,000, respectively, in separate compliance settlements with the EPA resolving CWA violations at construction sites in Maryland and Virginia. Both companies allegedly failed to take precautions as their permits required to prevent discharging sediment to nearby surface waters, including Oak Creek, Accotink Creek, and Piscataway Creek. The latter two waterways, now identified as impaired for aquatic life, are tributaries of the Potomac River, in addition to Chesapeake Bay. 

In the Midwest, a Kansas-based enterprise agreed in June to pay a $27,286 penalty for failure to use proper lead-safe work practices during the renovation of a multifamily property built in Kansas City—a violation of EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) rule. Moreover, the property owners were not notified in advance about any lead-based paint risks prior to the construction company or its subcontractors performing renovation work at the site. 

Aside from this recent settlement, 17 other enforcement actions for serious RRP violations are on record earlier this year in Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. The enforcement activity included 14 administrative settlements assessing civil penalties as much as $23,000 and requiring RRP certification compliance. Additionally, the EPA filed three administrative complaints seeking civil penalties ranging upward toward the statutory maximum of $37,500 per violation. 

The RRP rule requires general contractors and subcontractors that work on pre-1978 dwellings and child-occupied facilities to be trained and certified to use lead-safe work practices. This ensures that common renovation and repair activities such as sanding, cutting, and replacing windows minimize the creation and dispersion of dangerous lead dust. EPA finalized the RRP regulation in 2008, with it taking effect in April 2010. 

With more than 90% of construction companies having fewer than 20 employees, today’s construction interests need to develop a regular business practice of staying ahead in the regulatory game, which means expanding information sources and utilization. To that end, Martindale-Hubbell, a legal marketing affiliate of LexisNexis based in New Providence, N.J., notes that May 31 was the deadline for submitting comments regarding proposed changes to EPA’s 2009 Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Construction and Development (C&D rule) Point Source Category. 

Authorized under CWA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program, the C&D rule’s proposed revisions include: a definition of “infeasible” requirements; language changes regarding control of stormwater discharges, reduced pollutant discharges, and site erosion stabilization; alteration of regulations covering soil compaction; reorganization of the 14-day stabilization requirement; addition of a provision addressing exposure of trash and other potential pollutants to precipitation and stormwater; and removal of the numeric turbidity discharge standard and related monitoring requirements. 

“Controlling stormwater at construction sites can be a very costly component for any development project,” Martindale-Hubbell emphasizes. “It is important that those involved in construction activities understand how proposed regulations may affect their operations and provide EPA with feedback on any areas of concern.” 

The Construction Industry Compliance Assistance Centeris also a valuable information source for keeping abreast of EPA construction regulatory activity. Recently, the organization announced that EPA intends to further strengthen its national stormwater program through a series of proposed performance standards aimed at newly developed and redeveloped sites, in addition to making other regulatory improvements regarding municipal stormwater sewer system protections and enhanced operations. 

Of course, hands-on construction information resources are always the most useful tools. EPA’s Office of Compliance publishes and regularly updates Managing Your Environmental Responsibilities: A Planning Guide for Construction and Development. Known simply as the MYER Guide, this 255-page document reflects significant input from stakeholders and is a product of joint cooperation among the construction industry, states, other federal agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and EPA sources. 

Another publication of interest, EPA’s 2009 report Potential for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Construction Sector, documents the industry’s emissions and examines ways to reduce them. A related document, Cleaner Diesels: Low-Cost Ways to Reduce Emissions from Construction Equipment, discusses a research project designed to study and identify low-cost ways to reduce emissions from nonroad construction equipment. 

For construction organizations seeking a general overview of environmental stewardship, the 2007 EPA report Measuring Construction Industry Environmental Performance recommends ways to chart the industry’s progress in green construction, debris management, diesel air emissions, stormwater permit coverage, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions. A closely aligned publication, Environmental Management Systems: Systematically Improving Your Performance, highlights the benefits of EMS implementation at construction facilities and was developed with assistance from the Associated General Contractors of America. The content provides expert guidance on maintaining compliance with environmental requirements, satisfying owner demands for green construction, and achieving environmental certifications.  [ return to top ]

NSPE Enters New Leg in its Race for Relevance

Under the leadership of President Dan Wittliff, P.E., F.NSPE, seven task forces, made up of 96 dedicated NSPE members from 41 states, were formed to address various aspects of the Society's operations. The work of the task forces—totaling about 3,000 hours—was coordinated by Vice President Harve Hnatiuk, P.E., F.NSPE, and Tim Austin, P.E., F.NSPE. Thanks to their efforts, these members have created a new foundation for a refocused NSPE.

To learn more about this initiative, visit the
NSPE Web site.

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201314 PEC Executive Board

For a complete list of PEC Executive Board Officers, please visit the PEC Web site.
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PEC would like to thank the following 2013 Sustaining Sponsors:

ABC Paving, Co. Inc.
Abriola, Co.
AC Corporation
ADCOMM Engineering Company
Alber & Rice, Inc.
Allied Contractors, Inc.
Bec-Lin Engineering, LP
Blitman Building Corporation
Broaddus & Associates
Brown Construction Services
Buchart Horn, Inc.
Calvi Electric Company
Century Electric, Inc.
Code Consultants, Inc.
Construction Industry Advancement Program of NJ (CIAP)
Dalton Olmsted & Fuglevand
D'Annunzio & Sons, Inc.
Doka USA, Ltd.
Drury South, Inc.
Fagen Engineering, LLC
Five Oaks Associates, LLC
Frank Gurney, Inc.
Frederick Derr & Company, Inc.
Free Contracting, Inc.
George Harms Constructio, Co.
Glynn Geotechnical Engineering
Griffin Engineering LLC
Henderson Electric Company
ISP Constructors LLC
J Fletcher Creamer & Son, Inc.
JEI Engineering, Inc.
John Puder, LLC
Judy Construction Company
Kerr Greulich Engineers, Inc.
KTA, Inc. Consulting Engineers
Lecon, Inc.
LidCo Electrical Contractors, Inc.
Lundy Construction, Co., Inc.
McAbee Construction, Inc.
Metromont Corporation
Paric Corporation
Paul J Gallo Contracting, Inc.
Pembroke Construction, Co., Inc.
Rice Lake Construction Group
Richard Rauseo, P.E. Consulting Engineers
Riverso Assoc, Inc.
Rohde Soyka & Andrews Consulting Engineers, PC
Stansell Electric Company, Inc.
Statewide Aquastore, Inc.
Stephen A Estrin & Co., Inc.
Suberroc Systems SUBSYST
Tamrio, Inc.
The Crom Corporation
The Rubicon Group
Trade Construction Company, LLC
Trumbull Corp.
White Cloud Engineering and Construction Co.
Zep Construction

To learn how to become a PEC Sustaining Sponsor or to contact the above listed companies, please visit the
PEC "Find a Firm" web site.


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