Category Archives: Infrastructure

A ‘Locational Reference Frame’ for Assessing Climate Change Impacts on Infrastructure

F.W. Pontius. Sustainable Infrastructure: Climate Changes and Carbon Dioxide. American Journal of Civil Engineering Volume 5, Issue 5, September 2017, Pages: 254-267

Civil infrastructure provides the physical backbone of all societies. Water supply, wastewater treatment, transportation systems, and civil structures must be sustainable over multiple decades (e.g. 20, 30, 50 years) for human populations to survive and flourish. Over such a long time-period, climate changes are inevitable. The global atmospheric system is dynamic. Weather and climates are constantly adjusting. To date the effects of carbon dioxide have been evaluated almost exclusively using a global reference frame. However, civil infrastructure is stationary and local in nature. A locational reference frame is introduced here as an alternative framework for evaluating the effect of carbon dioxide on civil infrastructure. Temperature data from the City of Riverside, California from 1901 to 2017 are analyzed to illustrate application of a local reference frame. No evidence of significant climate change beyond natural variability was observed in this temperature record. Using a Climate Sensitivity best estimate of 2°C, the increase in temperature resulting from a doubling of atmospheric CO2 is estimated at approximately 0.009°C/yr which is insignificant compared to natural variability.

California’s Unsustainable Infrastructure the Result of an Unsustainable State Government

“The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FECR) forensic audit of the Oroville Dam Spillway crisis project found that failures were due to inadequate California Department of Water Resources (DWR) maintenance, repair of cracks, thin concrete slabs, poor drainage, and use of weathered rock.” click here

Sustainability is not Sustainable

California Water Infrastructure is Unsustainable

Continuing to prop up unsustainable infrastructure with duck tape is a lost cause…..Perhaps some of the failing infrastructure should not have been built at all. “Pork barrel” water projects built without consideration for their sustainability will ultimately fail.

“The damage at Oroville is just one example of how state and federal authorities are struggling to manage the flow of water — and the challenge of aging infrastructure in a water storage system that has not been updated significantly in several decades.” click here

A Water System That is Unsustainable Will Deteriorate, Fail

A combination of poor economic policy and too much pork-barrel funding of projects results in unsustainable infrastructure.

“Deep inside a 70-year-old water-treatment plant, drinking water for Iowa’s capital city is cleansed of harmful nitrates that come from the state’s famously rich farmland.” click here

China-Led Infrastructure Investment Bank Support Growing

“American diplomats are upset that dozens of countries — including Nepal, Cambodia and Bangladesh — have flocked to join China’s new infrastructure investment bank, a potential rival to the World Bank and other financial institutions backed by the United States.” click here

Decontamination of Radiological Agents from Drinking Water Infrastructure

Szabo J, Minamyer S. Decontamination of radiological agents from drinking water infrastructure: a literature review and summary. Environment International 2014 Nov;72:129-32. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.01.020.

This report summarizes the current state of knowledge on the persistence of radiological agents on drinking water infrastructure (such as pipes) along with information on decontamination should persistence occur. Decontamination options for drinking water infrastructure have been explored for some important radiological agents (cesium, strontium and cobalt), but important data gaps remain. Although some targeted experiments have been published on cesium, strontium and cobalt persistence on drinking water infrastructure, most of the data comes from nuclear clean-up sites. Furthermore, the studies focused on drinking water systems use non-radioactive surrogates. Non-radioactive cobalt was shown to be persistent on iron due to oxidation with free chlorine in drinking water and precipitation on the iron surface. Decontamination with acidification was an effective removal method. Strontium persistence on iron was transient in tap water, but adherence to cement-mortar has been demonstrated and should be further explored. Cesium persistence on iron water infrastructure was observed when flow was stagnant, but not with water flow present. Future research suggestions focus on expanding the available cesium, strontium and cobalt persistence data to other common infrastructure materials, specifically cement-mortar. Further exploration chelating agents and low pH treatment is recommended for future decontamination studies.

Click here for paper (fee).