A New Kind of Pipeline

An old photograph of group of men dropping a large pipe into a shallow trench using wooden planks as levers. Early pipelines were buried underground in an attempt to protect them from sabotage by Teamsters.
An old photograph of a group of men dropping a large pipe into a shallow trench using wooden planks as levers. Early pipelines were buried underground in an attempt to protect them from sabotage by Teamsters.

Although aqueducts were used as far back as the 7th century BC, the first actual pipeline was built in 1595 to carry salt water. It was an impressive 25 miles long and made from 13,000 hollowed tree trunks. In the United States, pipelines have been in use since 1865 when the first truly successful oil pipeline was built in Pennsylvania. Engineered by Samuel Van Syckle, an inventive oil worker from New Jersey, it was constructed of wrought iron and extended five miles from the Pithole pumps to the Oil Creek railroad. Since then, we’ve built pipelines that are literally thousands of miles long that transport not only oil, but also water, natural gas, gasoline, and ethylene, and they even cross international borders.

Typically, pipelines can be classified in three categories, depending on purpose:

  • Gathering pipelines are short, interconnected pipelines with small diameters forming complex networks with the purpose of bringing crude oil or natural gas from nearby wells to a treatment plant or processing facility.
  • Transportation pipelines are mainly long pipes with large diameters, moving products such as oil, gas, and refined products between cities, countries, and even continents.
  • Distribution pipelines (our specialty!) are composed of several interconnected pipelines with small diameters that are used to take products – like clean, treated water – to the final consumer.

veltinsVery recently, however, there has emerged a fourth category of pipeline: beer pipelines.

The Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany is a massive soccer stadium that seats over 60,000 people. To cater to such a large crowd, it houses 15 restaurants, 50 grilling stations, 35 cafes, and four subterranean cooling centers that can store 52,000 liters of beer. To transport that beer, it has a three-mile long beer pipeline, built in 2013, that supplies all of the restaurants and bars in the arena. The pipeline transports up to 14 liters of beer per minute, and allows for fluctuations in flow determined by the thirstiness of its patrons. Impressed by the Veltins-Arena, European soccer team Zenit St. Petersburg is looking to install a beer pipeline in their new stadium as well.

Thor_pipelineIn Randers, Denmark, a beer pipeline supplies all of the bars and restaurants in the entertainment district. Originally connected to the Thor Brewery, which moved out of town in the 1990s, the pipeline is now fed by a large tank. Randers enjoys a thriving nightlife, and the pipeline ensures that cold beer is always readily available, even at outdoor taps. Appropriately enough, this Danish beer is called Thor Pipeline, and features an illustration of a pipeline in its logo.

In the city of Bruges, Belgium, yet another beer pipeline has been approved and is planned for construction. The pipeline will stretch approximately two miles under the city streets, from a historic, family-owned brewery to its suburban bottling plant. De Halve Maan, founded in 1854, is the only family brewery in the city and is located in the center of Bruges, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The beer pipeline, which will be capable of transporting 5,700 liters of beer per hour, will eliminate virtually all of the 500 trucks currently used to transport De Halve Maan\’s famous Brugse Zot beer, and will help to preserve the ancient cobblestone streets.

Oktoberfest 2014, Germany

It seems evident that beer pipelines are the wave of the future. Installing beer pipelines in today’s gargantuan sporting arenas is a cost-effective way to cut transportation costs and reduce the risk of stockouts, while breweries would benefit by ensuring that their beer is always on tap. And on a smaller scale, just this past month Germany’s Oktoberfest constructed a 260 meter temporary pipeline to supply the nearly seven million liters of beer consumed at the two week long event. So far, the United States has yet to see a beer pipeline emerge, and we can’t help but wonder: who will be the beer pioneer and build the first American beer pipeline?

Summary of 2014 Draft MA Small MS4 General Permit

MarlboroughMA_Stormwater10The long awaited 2014 Draft Massachusetts Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) General Permit was released on September 30th, 2014.  It is important to note that this permit is still in draft form and that the current 2003 MS4 Permit is still administratively effective. The public comment period is 90 days, ending on December 29, 2014. During the comment period, public meetings and hearings will be scheduled for Municipalities and the general public to ask questions and learn more about the permit. One public hearing has already been scheduled for November 19, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. at Leominster Public Library. Representatives from Tata & Howard will be at the Leominster hearing taking notes and asking necessary questions.

The draft permit and associated documents can be found here. Currently, US EPA estimates costs of compliance for the six minimum controls measures to be between $78,000 and $829,000 per year, averaged over the permit term. The application for coverage and reporting requirements are similar to the current procedures of the 2003 Massachusetts MS4 Permit, and the six minimum control measures are comparable to the most recent 2013 Draft New Hampshire MS4 Permit.

The most significant change in the new permit is for the Water Quality Based Effluent Limitations.  The permit names specific MS4 Communities and requirements to address Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) and Water Quality Limited Waters.  These requirements, listed in Appendix F and H of the new permit, are detailed and provide phased plans that extend up to 20 years past the permit’s start date.  Some of these reductions for established TMDLs require specific numerical percentage reductions.  All other approved TMDLs, including parameters for nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), bacteria, pathogen, and metals, require non-numeric reductions. Many MS4 Communities are on these lists.  For more information on TMDL and Water Quality Limited Water requirements for a specific community, or for assistance with questions or comments on the draft permit, please contact Tata & Howard.

Thomas R. Morgan, P.E., BCEE, receives Fuller Award from NEWWA

Thomas R. Morgan, P.E., BCEE, receives Fuller Award from NEWWA

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l: Tom poses for a photo with NEWWA President-Elect Gene Koontz; r: Tom give his acceptance speech

Thomas R. Morgan, P.E., BCEE, Client Service Specialist at Tata & Howard, received the prestigious George Warren Fuller Award from the New England Water Works Association (NEWWA) during the Membership Recognition Gala on Tuesday evening, September 23, 2014.

Tom has been dedicated to providing water, wastewater, and stormwater services to communities throughout New England for the past 40 years.  Over the same timeframe, he has been actively involved in New England Water Works Association. He has served as Chair of the Program Committee, of which he is still a member, and is currently serving as Chair of the Innovations Committee. In addition, he has assisted with the aging infrastructure contest for the last eight years, organized several scavenger hunts at the Spring Conference, and attended numerous Association events. He is also an active and long-term contributor to Water for People, providing donations for much needed assistance to developing countries for the advancement of clean water and sanitary facilities.

The George Warren Fuller Award was established in 1937 and is presented annually to one member per section of the American Water Works Association for their distinguished service to the water supply field in commemoration of the sound engineering skill, the brilliant diplomatic talent, and the constructive leadership which characterized the life of George Warren Fuller, one of America’s most eminent engineers. Such designation is presumed to recognize publicly the contribution toward the advancement of water works practice the individual has made.

Congratulations, Tom!