Moore’s Minot office plants trees to restore city park after flood

A park without trees is like cake without frosting – just sad. So when the 2011 Minot Flood damaged 300 acres of Minot city parks, including destroying all of the trees in Centennial Park (a.k.a. Jack Hoeven Baseball Park), our city was devastated.

5A few months ago, before the snow fell, Moore Engineering’s Minot office partnered with the Minot Park District and Minot Rotary Clubs to plant trees in Centennial Park. The project was a continuation of the Rotary Planting Hope flood recovery project, aimed at cleaning and restoring Minot’s city parks, and the new trees were funded through a grant from the Minot Area Recovery Fund.

We joined Rotary members and other community volunteers for an afternoon of planting trees.

All was going well, until the Forestry Department’s auger broke. Without the auger, the Park District and Rotary Clubs couldn’t finish digging the holes to plant the trees.

Our team at Moore felt bad the crew couldn’t get the project done when they had a big group of volunteers. So, the next day, we called the Forestry Department and offered to help finish planting the trees. They were surprised and very excited.   2

A couple days later, we went back into the field to help them finish the job. It’s amazing the difference the effort of a few can make. At Moore, we’re proud to help make our community a more beautiful place.

Brock Storrusten is the Branch Manager for Moore Engineering’s Minot location.

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Top 5 benefits of using GIS mapping to manage city infrastructure

At Moore, we use  geographic information systems (GIS) mapping software to help clients with a variety of infrastructure management projects, from assessment district analyses to topographic, facility and flood mapping.

We find that it’s a highly effective – if not essential – tool for cities. GIS offers many capabilities and benefits, but we’ve outlined our top five below:

3-c-WF_All_Pipes_Pg4_cropSave time – and money
You can use GIS to improve your city’s maintenance schedules and daily fleet movements. In fact, according to Esri, an international GIS software supplier, implementing GIS typically saves 10 to 30 percent in operational costs. That’s because it helps decrease fuel use and staff time, improves customer service, and promotes more-efficient scheduling.

Make better decisions
GIS mapping systems can help you make more-informed decisions on anything related to location. For example, it can help with choosing real estate sites, developing evacuation or ambulance routes, estate planning or even mapping wetlands. Every choice you make has impacts, and GIS can help ensure you’re making the best possible decisions for your city.

Improve communication
Because GIS is digital reporting, it is highly effective for cross-office and even cross-organizational communication. The software helps everyone involved understand situations more thoroughly. For example, the technology can communicate the location of a city maintenance worker addressing a citizen complaint, allowing the city to better coordinate its utility response team. Plus, with mobile GIS technology we can take GIS mapping systems into the field to log and send up-to-the-minute data in real time.

Keep better records
At Moore, we find one of GIS’s most useful capabilities is keeping track of records, such as maintenance reports. For example, GIS reporting can help you identify which streets repeatedly need repair. In some cases, it may be more efficient to completely replace a street rather than investing in frequent maintenance. It can also help you manage construction permits to ensure you maintain compliance with city, state and federal regulations.

Predict the future
GIS mapping helps us understand not only what is happening, but also what will happen, in a geographic space. For example, you can use GIS to map pipe-corrosion patterns, allowing you to predict risks and meet DIMP requirements. The technology lets you view patterns and trends to predict the future and, more importantly, prepare for it.

Interested in seeing how your city can get in on the benefits of GIS mapping software? Let’s talk.

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4 ways to sustain your community’s water supply

We take it for granted water will be there when we turn on the tap. But the truth is, quality drinking water is a valuable and vulnerable resource. Recent drought disaster declarations in the western U.S. should serve as a reminder that water is also a finite resource – one that needs to be carefully monitored and managed.

Here’s how.

1. Know where your water comes from.
water splashIdentify your water source. Is it ground water or surface water from a river, stream or lake? How much water is available? Is it sustainable? Knowing the answers will help you make informed decisions about your water supply.

For example, rivers and streams are generally more susceptible to drought because they rely on precipitation and springs for flow. So, if your source is a river or stream, you’ll need to plan for that.

2. Monitor and manage your water source.
Study the historical trending data, again, to help with decision-making. Monitor and record your aquifer levels to see how much water is used, for what and when, and how levels are affected by usage. While state regulatory bodies typically have monitoring wells in areas of high aquifer usage, data may not be available for all aquifers.

Moore Engineering’s water and wastewater team can help your city access the data if it’s available, do the monitoring for you, or get you started doing your own monitoring and analysis.

3. Be aware of drought conditions and water shortages.
Water demand is often doubled or tripled during drought or dry conditions, with the biggest usage usually from lawn watering. This can put stress on wells and treatment plants, as well as the source supply of water. Be informed and prepared to deal with potential issues.

4. Have a plan in place if you need to restrict water.
Water conservation should be encouraged year round, and especially during drought conditions or when there are problems like large water main breaks, failing pumps or treatment plant issues. A phased approach is most effective, implemented as appropriate:

  • One: restrict yard watering on odd/even days in phase one.
  • Two: impose further restrictions or bans.
  • Three: ban any unnecessary uses other than drinking.

How much do you know about your water supply? Do you have a plan in place if there’s trouble?

Talk to our team to see how to safeguard your community water supply. Plus, here are some useful links: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/water/swp/whp/
http://www.ndhealth.gov/wq/gw/sourcewater.htm

water projection ND wellhead

 

 

 

 

 

Kent Ritterman is Moore Engineering’s environmental engineering manager, based out of the West Fargo office.

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Why – and how – Moore Engineering turned its parade float into a children’s playhouse

Remember Moore Engineering’s gingerbread float from the Fargo Holiday Lights Parade? To refresh your memory, it looked something like this:

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Now, it looks something like this:
Playhouse (5)_resizeLet me explain the transformation
Several employees built the original gingerbread house last October and November, staying after hours a few times a week to work on it; some even worked over lunch in preparation for the parade.

After the Holiday Lights Parade, we displayed the gingerbread house and other décor at the Holiday Lights in Lindenwood Park. Then, after the New Year, we took the decorations off the playhouse, refurbished it and donated it to the YWCA Cass Clay off South University Drive, where it will serve as a children’s playhouse.

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It took a large group of employees many hours to complete the multiple transformations – a true example of Moore’s teamwork approach. We also had the support of the community, with Fargo-based Pro Landscapers donating the space to construct the playhouse and the large equipment to move it to the various locations.

Group photo

Caption: Me (second from right) and a few of my co-workers after delivering the playhouse to the YWCA. (left to right) Alex Thiel, Brady Woodard, Jordan Odden, me, and Bjorn Woodard. A big thanks to the many others who contributed but are not shown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I speak for the entire Moore team when I say we feel good knowing the playhouse will be in good use from the children in our community. We hope it continues to provide happy memories for kids at the YWCA.

You can read more about our project in an article in the West Fargo Pioneer.

Matt Welle is a project engineer at Moore Engineering’s West Fargo office and head of the parade committee. His favorite part of the float-to-playhouse project was seeing his coworkers and their many talents come together to create something that could take shape in the different ways it has – and all for the good of the community.

 

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Moore Engineering receives statewide award for Excellence in Concrete

At Moore Engineering, we take great pride in the industry-leading work we do to create stronger, safer and healthier communities. And it’s great to be recognized for our efforts.

Recently, Moore was honored with two Excellence in Concrete Awards from the North Dakota Ready Mix & Concrete Products Association. Established more than 20 years ago, the awards recognize projects that effectively use concrete to provide value, aesthetic beauty and environmental benefits to project owners and the general public.

North Dakota State University T-Lot parking facility

Caption: Me (left) and Dean Engebretson from Knife River Corporation, the supplier for the NDSU parking lot project, accepting an award at the North Dakota Ready Mix and Concrete Products Association’s 48th annual Convention, held January 13-14 in Fargo.

Caption: Me (left) and Dean Engebretson from Knife River Corporation, the supplier for the NDSU parking lot project, accepting an award at the North Dakota Ready Mix and Concrete Products Association’s 48th annual Convention, held January 13-14 in Fargo.

The project from our Municipal Department involved removing an existing asphalt parking lot and installing new pavement. Our team conducted a lifecycle-cost study to compare asphalt and concrete. We found that concrete – though initially more expensive than asphalt – would be less expensive after the first chip seal was factored.

Below are a few project highlights:

  • Recycled the existing asphalt to create a blended asphalt base for the new parking lot.
  • Used very little rebar in the pavement. We tied new concrete to existing curb and gutter and used rebar at the first 10-foot sawed-construction joint. We placed dowel bars at all construction joints, but remainder of pavement had no reinforcement.
  • We added admixtures to the concrete mix design to increase slump, giving theNDSU parking lot contractor (EHC, LLC) a more workable and, ultimately, better outcome.
  • Replaced 30 percent Portland cement by weight with flyash, which gave us a stronger, more durable concrete and is also more environmentally friendly. The flyash is a byproduct of the coal industry and would otherwise end up in a landfill.
  • Used LED lighting – concrete reflects LED lights, providing a brighter and potentially safer environment compared to a light-absorbing asphalt parking lot

Veterans Boulevard

Caption: David Roedel (left) accepts the award for the Veterans Boulevard project with Vince Frost from Strata Corporation, the supplier for the project.

Caption: David Roedel (right) accepts the award for the Veterans Boulevard project with Vince Frost from Strata Corporation, the supplier for the project.

This project from our Transportation Department consisted of reconstructing Veteran’s Boulevard from 32nd Avenue South to 40th Avenue South, the boundary between Fargo and West Fargo, mainly to allow for expected traffic volume increases. The existing roadway section was replaced with an urbanized concrete street, with highlights including:

  • Curvilinear concrete multi-use paths to accommodate pedestrian and non-vehicular traffic
  • Decorative streetlights
  • A traffic signal at 36th Avenue South
  • Decorative concrete adding to the aesthetic quality of the project as well as provides a durable, low-maintenance surface in narrow median and boulevard areas
  • 10 inches of nonreinforced concrete pavement over 9 inches of class 5 aggregate base

new 2013 222_no date

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A civil engineer at Moore’s Fargo office, Tom Klabunde gets great satisfaction in helping solve people’s problems through his work. Whether completing a small simple project or a large, multimillion-dollar undertaking, he feels like he is make a difference in people’s lives.

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How mobile GIS mapping software helps cities manage infrastructure

How mobile GIS mapping software helps cities manage infrastructure
Before mobile geographic information system (GIS) devices, fieldworkers made notes and sketches on paper maps and forms. Then, they would take these field reports back to the office to translate and manually enter the information into their GIS mapping software.

Today, with mobile GIS technology, we can take GIS mapping systems into the field and, using handheld, touchscreen devices, log up-to-date and accurate data in real time. Not only does this speed up the display and analysis of information, but it also helps organizations make quicker, more-informed decisions.

GIS mapping in the field
Moore Engineering’s GIS team uses mobile GIS to help cities with asset inventory and maintenance planning. We send people – city and/or Moore surveyors – to record the exact locations of city infrastructure, such as signs, fire hydrants, streetlights, trees and more.BradyUsingHandheld2_cropp

Each asset is assigned a point, and the surveyor snaps a photo to go along with it. An effective street mapping software, GIS also allows a fieldworker to use a basic dropdown menu to add comments, such as the type or condition of a tree or the number of years since a stop sign has been replaced. This can help establish the condition of key infrastructure, as well as schedule maintenance plans.

When surveyors get back from the field, rather than manually entering information into the GIS mapping system, they simply upload the information – a much easier and quicker way to capture, display and analyze information.

A handheld GPS unit can run anywhere from $1,500 to 2,000. At Moore, we help cities find a device that meets their specific needs, whether they rent them from us or purchase their own.

Interested in seeing how your city could improve operations with mobile GIS mapping software? Let’s talk.

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Moore Engineering donates more than $9,000 to local charity

The holidays are filled with tradition. Here at Moore Engineering, we have one of our own.

Each year, we pick a charity from one of our office locations. Then, at our annual holiday party, our staff donates money, which the company matches.

This year, we chose Someplace Safe. A nonprofit based in Fergus Falls, Minn., Someplace Safe serves victims and survivors of domestic violence in and around West Central Minnesota. In our opinion, it’s a worthy cause, indeed.

At our annual party last week, Moore Engineering employees, and their families and friends, contributed $4,807 to Someplace Safe. Moore matched this amount for a total gift of $9,614.

Yesterday, representatives from our office presented the check to Someplace Safe. What a rewarding experience it was.

Moore employees (from right) Lindsy Briese, Tyson Hajicek, and Hugh Veit present the check to representatives from Somewhere Safe.

Moore employees (from right) Lindsy Briese, Tyson Hajicek, and Hugh Veit present the check to representatives from Somewhere Safe.

Tyson Hajicek is senior project manager with Moore Engineering’s office in Fergus Falls, MN. He oversees design and construction of projects, serves as a client contact, and manages the Fergus Falls office.

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Moore celebrates holiday cheer at Fargo’s Xcel Energy Holiday Lights Parade

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Our safety vests work pretty well!

At Moore Engineering, the Xcel Energy Holiday Lights Parade is a company tradition. In fact, we’ve been entering floats and walking in the parade for eight years. A family-oriented company, we care about our community and like to be part of local events.

Last Tuesday, we were one of 95 floats that walked through downtown Fargo for the 2013 parade. The theme of this year’s parade was “Olde Fashioned Holidays,” so we created a float inspired by a timeless holiday tradition: making a gingerbread house.

We turned a Kids Crooked Playhouse into a gingerbread house complete with lights, snow, candies, figurines, trees, pinecones sprayed with glitter paint, an elf and gingerbread man, presents, lollipops, and – well, you just have to see it:

IMG_0279_smallerThe float took about a month to build, with several coworkers and me staying after hours twice a week to work on it. Some of us even worked over our lunch breaks.

Although we didn’t win an award this year, we could tell the crowd really liked our float. In fact, one of my coworkers watching from the street said he heard people admiring it.

 

 

If you missed the parade, it’s not too late to see our float. It will be on display at the IMG_0274_smallerHoliday Lights in Lindenwood Park through December 31. After the New Year, we’re going to take our decorations off the playhouse, refurbish it and donate it to the YWCA Cass Clay.

After all, it’s the season of giving. Here’s to a happy holiday season!

Hope Zajac is a CADD technician at Moore Engineering’s Fargo office. Her favorite parts of the Holiday Lights Parade are seeing the community come together, the different floats people come up with and how happy it makes kids.

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Is your water system ready for new EPA drinking water regulations?

If you don’t know the answer, it’s time to find out.

Here’s why.

Every pubic water treatment system using chemical disinfectants is impacted by a relatively new EPA regulation that sets stricter standards for levels of disinfection byproducts (DBPs) in drinking water. The EPA Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule (Stage 2 DBPR, part of the 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act, went into effect in 2012.

All community water systems (CWSs) needed to begin compliance by October 1, 2013.

What is the Stage 2 DBPR?
bathroom faucetDisinfecting drinking water was one of the most important public health achievements of the twentieth century. But now we know that the disinfectants can react with naturally occurring materials in the water to form byproducts that may pose health risks – and that specific microbial pathogens are highly resistant to traditional disinfectant practices.

The Stage 2 DBPR is aimed at reducing some byproducts of chlorinated water by closely monitoring two groups of DBPs – trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs) – that may be linked to cancer and developmental and reproductive health risks.

What are cities required to do?
The first step, which most cities have already done, is to put a monitoring system in place to test for DBP levels. Sampling and trending the data is the only way to proactively look for DBPs.

Each community water system must evaluate its distribution system to identify locations with high DBP concentrations. These locations will then be used as sampling sites for compliance monitoring. The results, which are submitted to the state, are used to:

  • test the treated water for levels of THMs and HAAs
  • determine if DBPs in the distribution system will exceed the new limits

Systems must begin complying with rule requirements to determine compliance with the operational levels for THMS and HAAs by July 2014. If you need help determining if your system is in compliance, Moore Engineering can help you with a system evaluation.

Strategies for compliance
What happens if you discover problems and are flagged for violations? It could be an easy fix or a tough fix. Every city water system is unique and there are many variables that could be affecting your results.

At Moore Engineering, we provide technical water and wastewater support to help city water system operators understand what DBPs are, how they affect your community, and what can be done to limit DPBs in your water system. In some cases, cities may have to change their treatment process.

Whatever your situation, our team can help you evaluate your options to find the best solution for your community.

Kent Ritterman is Moore Engineering’s environmental engineering manager, based out of the West Fargo office. What he likes best about the job: the variety of work and great Moore colleagues, including Dean Sletten and Dan Portlock, environmental engineers who provided helpful information for this post. 

Are you implementing the Stage 2 DBPR? Do you have questions about how to make sure your community water system is in full compliance? Let’s talk.

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The secret to managing construction general permits for stormwater management

storm sewer stock photoFor many cities and contractors, managing construction stormwater general permits and keeping them up to date can be a daunting task. Which permits have been submitted? Which permits have been approved? Who is the contact for the permit?

At Moore Engineering, our team uses geographic information systems (GIS) technology to help cities manage construction general permits for stormwater management. Because every construction job has a geographic location, GIS is a powerful tool to keep track of projects and the permits associated with them.

Government requirements for stormwater prevention
All city planning projects that will discharge stormwater, such as clearing, grading, excavating or stockpiling, must get National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Construction General Permits as part of their stormwater pollution prevention plan. Typically, these permits are issued by state organizations, like the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the North Dakota Department of Health.

GIS – making permit organization easier
With GIS, we can not only keep track of cities’ ongoing construction projects and permits, but also set reminders to renew them. The easy-to-use interface allows our clients to stay organized and also saves time, as they don’t have to search for permit history or spend time digging through paperwork or online documents.

Most of all, it saves money – less time to track permits by hand and less chance of expired or absent permit fines.

How does your city keep track of permits? Have you tried GIS? Share with us in the comments below!

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