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The Portland Water Show

03.03.14

As the Vermont Director of New England Water Works Association (NEWWA), I attended the 88th Annual Portland Water Show on February 4th and 5th 2014. Before the NEWWA Spring Conference and Exhibition in Worchester, Mass, the Portland Water Show was the NEWWA event to attend. Water works professionals from all over New England were there and took over Portland, Maine for about a week. The exhibition hall was filled with waterworks professionals from all over New England and many from the National Scene. The show (now called the Maine Water Utilities Association Meeting and Trade Show) is sponsored in part by NEWWA and is still well attended but Vermont attendees have fallen off in the past decade and very few now attend. The MWUA has members from both the water works sector and the wastewater sector so the conference has something for everyone.

Vermont water works and wastewater professionals should consider attending next year. It’s a great show with a great selection of technical programs and it is in Portland, Maine. Besides the tradeshow, there were 20 technical sessions offering CEU’s or PDH’s. I attended a session entitled “Ultimate Piping: Ductile vs. All Other Comers”. Speakers included Craig Douglas from Brunswick & Topsham Water District. The material was well presented and very timely in light of Rural Developments “open competition” funding requirements. Alternative pipe types included ductile iron, both standard PVC and “fusable PVC”, HDPE, and steel. The service life of alternative pipe types were presented based on the AWWA publication Buried No Longer. Interestingly, the presenter offered data indicating that the life of class 50 (or thinner) ductile iron may be less than the old cast iron, much of which is still in the ground today. However, as the decades click by, we are constantly revising the service life of pipe materials and fortunately, usually extending the estimates based on real life situations. The Brunswick Topsham Water District now favors ductile iron and copper services; but only after they have tried everything else (including fiberglass composite pipe) over the years. Craig sited that ductile iron has the characteristics favored by his maintenance staff including durability, longevity, strength and adaptability. It is a known commodity and most importantly, it can be easily located. Practical aspects of the different piping systems were presented by E. J. Prescott and representatives from the Ted Berry Company.

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