In Loving Memory: Patrick S. O’Neale, P.E.

It is with a heavy heart that we note the passing of our dear friend and colleague Patrick O’Neale.

Patrick joined Tata & Howard, Inc. in April 2000 as a Project Manager.  He served as Manager for the Lakeville office where he was instrumental in growing business in the southeast region of Massachusetts.   He was promoted to Associate in 2003 and Vice President in 2006.  Patrick was appointed to the T&H Board of Directors in 2008 and was promoted to Senior Vice President in 2017.

During his tenure, Patrick held various management positions including leading the Quality Control and Quality Assurance Team.  Patrick dedicated his professional life to client service.  He was an excellent engineer, mastering the technical side of engineering, as well as becoming a role model for client service.  He spent many evenings solving problems, assisting clients, and attending countless meetings to advance the development and protection of water supply and water infrastructure in Massachusetts.

He was instrumental in helping the Town of Falmouth with their Long Pond Water Treatment Plant, which went online in 2017. For the work done by Patrick and the team at Tata & Howard, Inc. the plant was recognized with a 2018 Silver Engineering Excellence Award for engineering services by The American Council of Engineering Companies of Massachusetts (ACEC/MA).

Patrick was also instrumental in the formation of the Mattapoisett River Valley Water District which includes water supply sources operated by the towns of Fairhaven, Marion, and Mattapoisett, and also serves the Town of Rochester. Rather than constructing several treatment facilities for the eight wells, the towns teamed to construct a single advanced water treatment facility saving the towns approximately $5 million by building the plant jointly – a model for how regionalization can be successful.

Patrick was also a very active member of several water works organizations in Massachusetts and was well regarded among his peers. He served on Mass Water Works Associations’ Board of Directors, having been elected in 2015 and advancing to President in 2019. Patrick was also involved on the Program Committee for Mass Water Works, serving as co-chair for several years. He was chair of the Vendor Relations Committee for Plymouth County Waterworks Association and was a frequent presenter on water-related topics at association meetings. He was a recipient of Plymouth County Waterworks Associations’ David L. Regan Associate Member Award in 2006 for his outstanding service to the water works profession.

Known as Grandad, Patrick loved spending time with his family, especially his three grandsons who were the love of his life.

Patrick will be greatly missed, but his drive, pursuit of excellence and dedication to client service will live on at T&H and provide inspiration for future generations of engineers.

Earth Day 2021: Save Water

Save Water on Earth Day and Every Day

April 22nd marks the 44th annual Earth Day, and with it comes an increased urgency to protect our natural resources and to mitigate the damage that we are doing to our environment. Here at Tata & Howard, our passion is water. Only 1% of the world’s water is available for use as drinking water, and we support the goal to keep it safe, clean, and abundant. While government agencies such as the EPA aim to protect our nation’s water supplies from being depleted or contaminated, they can only do so much. True conservation comes at a grassroots level — from the individual. The average American uses 140-170 gallons of water per day, a number which can and should be reduced drastically. Below, we have collected some ideas to help save water in your home.

Water conservation in the home

Lock up leaks

Put a little food coloring in your toilet tank. If, without flushing, the color begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately. Most replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to install.

A leaky faucet can waste 100 gallons a day.  That’s the equivalent of 270 loads of laundry!

Tame the trash

Dispose of tissues, insects, food, and other such waste in the trash rather than the toilet. Every time you flush, five to seven gallons of water goes literally and figuratively down the toilet. Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily.

Shore up your shower

Inexpensive water-saving low-flow shower heads or restrictors are easy to install. “Low-flow” means it uses less than 2.5 gallons per minute. Also, showers can use five to ten gallons every minute. Limit your showers to the time it takes to wash and rinse off. A 5-minute shower uses over 20 gallons of water, while a 10-minute shower uses over 40 gallons!

Protect your pipes

It’s easy and inexpensive to insulate your water pipes with pre-slit foam pipe insulation. You’ll get hot water faster plus avoid wasting water while it heats up.

Turn off the tap

Leaving the tap on while brushing your teeth or shaving wastes a whopping five gallons of water. Turn the water off while you brush.  For shaving, fill the sink with a few inches of warm water. This will rinse your razor just as well as running water, with far less waste of water.  When washing dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running for rinsing. Wash all dishes first, then rinse them all at once.  Don’t let the faucet run while you clean vegetables. Just rinse them in a stoppered sink or use a spray nozzle.

Load your loads

Automatic dishwashers and clothes washers should be fully loaded for optimum water conservation.  Don’t pre-rinse dishes. Most auto dish soap manufacturers recommend against it, and it saves additional water.

With clothes washers, avoid the permanent press cycle, which uses an extra five gallons. For partial loads, adjust water levels to match the size of the load. Replace old clothes washers with new Energy Star rated washers which use 35 – 50% less water and 50% less energy per load. If you’re in the market for a new clothes washer, consider buying a water-saving frontload washer.

Cool your canister

Store drinking water in the refrigerator rather than letting the tap run every time you want a cool glass of water.

Reuse the rest

Never put water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering a plant or cleaning your home.

Water conservation in the yard and garden

Plant your property

If you are planting a new lawn, or overseeding an existing lawn, use drought-resistant grasses.  Choose shrubs and plants that thrive with less watering than other species.  Replace herbaceous perennial borders with native plants. Native plants will use less water and be more resistant to local plant diseases.

Plant slopes with plants that will retain water and help reduce runoff.

Group plants according to their watering needs.

Mind the Mulch

Mulch will slow evaporation of moisture while discouraging weed growth. Adding 2-4” of organic material such as compost or bark mulch will increase the ability of the soil to retain moisture. Press the mulch down around the dripline of each plant to form a slight depression, which will prevent or minimize water runoff.

Love your lawn

Water your grass and trees more heavily, but less often. This saves water and builds stronger roots. A light sprinkling can evaporate quickly and tends to encourage shallow root systems. Put an empty eco-safe tuna can on your lawn; when it’s full, you’ve watered about the right amount.

Water your lawn only when it needs it. If you step on the grass and it springs back up when you move, it doesn’t need water. If it stays flat, it needs water. Water lawns during the early morning hours, or evening when temperatures and wind speed are the lowest. This reduces losses from evaporation. Most lawns only need about 1″ of water each week.

Allow your lawn to grow to 3” before mowing. This practice promotes water retention in the soil.

During dry spells, you can stop watering altogether and allow your lawn to go brown and dormant. Once cooler weather arrives, the morning dew and rainfall will bring the lawn back to its usual vigor. This results in a brown summer lawn…and a green residence.

Groom the gardens

Add organic matter and use efficient watering systems for shrubs and flowerbeds. Adding compost to your soil will help increase its absorption and water retention, and will improve the health of your plants.  Avoid over-watering plants and shrubs, as this can actually diminish plant health and cause yellowing of the leaves.  When hand watering, use a variable spray nozzle for targeted watering.

Eco your auto

Clean the car using a pail of soapy water, and only use the hose for rinsing. This easily implemented practice can save as much as 150 gallons when washing a car.

Sweep the street

Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways and sidewalks

In 1990, 30 US states reported ‘water-stress’ conditions. In 2000, that number rose to 40. In 2009, the number rose again, to 45. Today, some states find themselves in an actual water crisis, and the number of water-stressed areas continues to rise. One of the easiest and most beneficial ways to alleviate this water stress is to take measures in our own lives. Families should practice water mindfulness together, with parents teaching their children and leading by example. Saving water at home requires minimal effort and expenditure yet provides a positive and powerful environmental impact. And, if you are one of the 85% of Americans receiving your water from a public water supply, these ideas will save you money as well.

Happy Earth Day!

NEWEA 2021 Silver Sponsor

Tata & Howard was pleased to participate in the 2021 NEWEA Sponsorship Program and is grateful to be a supporter of NEWEA each year.

Employee Spotlight: Robert Sims

Employee Spotlight #4: We are delighted to shine our employee spotlight on Robert Sims. Southerner by birth, Robert was born in Kentucky and raised in Austin, TX before relocating to Massachusetts 35 years ago. Having a long line of engineers/surveyors in his family, including an ancestor who performed the survey of record for the Common in Cambridge, MA in the 17th century, he knew from a young age that he wanted a career in the field.

He attended the University of Texas at Austin with initial sights on Electrical Engineering, but quickly changed to Civil Engineering after hearing a presentation from the Dean of the UT Cockrell School of Engineering.

With more than thirty years of design and construction project management experience under his belt, Robert joined Tata & Howard in 2018 as a PM. He has most enjoyed working on two water quality studies for the towns of South Deerfield and Mattapoisett, as he was able to form a great working relationship with his team and clients, and produced solid reports with PF’s above 3.

Around the office, Robert is known for his friendly personality, fascinating hobbies, and amusing stories. He enjoys woodworking, beekeeping, fantasy football, and gardening. To stay active, he participates in stair climb races for the American Lung Association, the Scottish Highland Games, and the occasional 5k race.

Robert is passionate about his Scottish heritage and can often be seen wearing his kilt. In fact, he sat in the X-wing fighter from Star Wars…while wearing a kilt, and flew in a WWII vintage P-51 fighter…while wearing a kilt.

Thanks for all you do, Robert!