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Now viewing articles posted in 2018.

  • Top 15 Uses for GIS

    June 18th, 2018 by Josephine Hatton


     

    Wait, what?  What is GIS?

    GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems.  It refers to mapping technology that brings together hardware (computers, mobile devices, GPS units) and specialized software to collect, analyze, and model data about the world around us.  It has almost unlimited applications in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. 

    1. Mapping municipal, state, and federal infrastructure 

    GIS is an excellent tool for mapping various types of infrastructure at a range of scales, allowing the user to see them all in their relative locations, with all their associated data.  

     

    With GIS a town can make a map showing the location, diameter, material, age, and flow direction of all the water conduits under their streets, along with hydrants, valves, pump stations, catch basins, outfalls, and so on.   

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  • PWW Watershed Cleanup

    June 14th, 2018 by Rob Cote


     

    For over 20 years, CEI has worked closely with Pennichuck Water Works on water quality and watershed protection initiatives. Projects have ranged from the engineering and construction of best management practices, sediment studies, long-term management planning, and public education. But it’s not all business, this past Saturday CEI joined forces with Pennichuck on a beautiful day for their 1st Annual Watershed Cleanup Event! With CEI serving as a Platinum Sponsor, the group set out early Saturday morning in an effort to

     

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  • CEI Presents - Stormwater BMPs

    June 6th, 2018 by Rob Cote


     

    As part of a Specialty Conference Series, the New England Water Environment Association (NEWEA) hosted a Stormwater Specialty Conference & Exhibit: "Enhancing Stormwater Resilience in the Built Environment". At this technical conference, CEI's own Nick Cristofori, P.E. gave an informative presentation on the Design and Construction of Resilient Stormwater BMPs to Address Climate Change and Improve Water Quality

     

     

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  • NPDES MS4 Notice of Intent

    May 29th, 2018 by Nick Cristofori


     

    With the NPDES MS4 Notice of Intent (NOI) filing due in only 4 months, EPA has compiled a training video to assist communities with completing the form.  The NOI forms the basis of your Phase II program and lists the Best Management Practices (BMPs) you will implement to meet permit requirements, identifies responsible parties for each proposed measure, along with other supporting tasks.  The video is approximately 30 minutes long and generally discusses how to do the following:

    • Complete each section of the NOI;
    • Meet endangered species and historic property requirements; and
    • File with EPA and state agency. 

     

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  • CEI Receives Prequalification for Geotechnical Services

    May 21st, 2018 by Rob Cote


     

    CEI is proud to announce the expansion of the firms’ prequalified services for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to now include Geotechnical services. CEI was recently approved for this new discipline adding to the existing categories of bridge design, roadway design, hydraulics & hydrology, hazardous waste remediation, wetlands and water quality.

     CEI has successfully completed dozens of task orders for MassDOT through the years that have included stormwater BMP design, regulatory review, statewide guidance development, and water resource consulting.

     

     

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  • Are You Ready for MS4?

    May 16th, 2018 by Nick Cristofori


     

    Only a little over 7 weeks remain until the new NPDES MS4 permit becomes effective!  Are you ready?

     

    By now, hopefully you’re aware that the new permit goes into effect July 1, 2018 and “starts the clock” on completion of Year-1 requirements.  Even though the first action item, the Notice of Intent (NOI), isn’t due until September 29, 2018, we highly recommend that you begin its preparation during the next couple months.  

     

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  • Top 6 Invasive Aquatic Plants in New England

    March 28th, 2018 by Bob Hartzel


    New England’s lakes and ponds host a great variety of native plants that are an important part of a healthy aquatic ecosystem.  Non-native species can disrupt these ecosystems by spreading aggressively and displacing beneficial native species.  These plants can also impair swimming, boating, and fishing, and can contribute to water quality problems as large amounts of organic matter decay at the end of each growing season. 

    The guide below summarizes the key identifying features of the six non-native plants most commonly found in New England lakes and ponds.

     

    Variable milfoil (Myriophyllum heterophyllum)

    Variable watermilfoil is a submerged aquatic plant that grows in depths of up to 15 feet.  This plant has reddish stems with whorls of 4-6 feather-like leaves that are about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide.  As shown in the photo, the plant also produces a prominent spike-like flower (3-6 inches long) that emerges above the water surface by late June or July.

     

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  • 5 Municipal Regulatory Tools to Protect Water Quality

    March 21st, 2018 by Bob Hartzel


     

    Regulatory tools are “non-structural” practices that can be an effective component of your long-term plan to control watershed pollution sources. The general categories of local controls that can be used to protect water resources are summarized below, followed by a table with links to example municipal ordinances.

               

    1. Zoning: Zoning ordinances are used to regulate the land use activities and development density allowed in each section of a town. Zoning regulations typically applies only to future site development and redevelopment.

    2. Subdivision Regulations establish requirements and review procedures for developments of two or more units. Like zoning ordinances, they typically apply only to new development and redevelopment. These regulations often include requirements for site plan review, to ensure that the project plans comply with all regulations. 

    3. Board of Health Regulations may be enacted where existing state laws are determined to be insufficient for the protection of public health. For example, Boards of Health can regulate septic systems more stringently than required under state law, and can further regulate the use, storage and handling of fuel and other hazardous materials in specified areas. 

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  • Top 5 Uses For Drones in Engineering and Ecology

    March 1st, 2018 by Eileen Pannetier


     

    Over the past few years, drones have evolved from something under every Christmas tree to a valuable tool and investment for civil engineers and environmental scientists.  The use of drones in engineering is expanding rapidly as the accuracy of these tools increases and as costs go down.  There are still barriers to using drones, including the time necessary for pilot training, the technical challenges and software expertise required for post-processing drone imagery, and a lack of uniform standards for products.  EagleEye AeroboticsTM, a subsidiary of Comprehensive Environmental Inc. (CEI), has met these challenges to provide industry-leading drone services, including the top five uses described below.

    1. Investigations of Large or Inaccessible Sites

    Large and/or inaccessible locations such as deep woods, expansive wetlands, densely vegetated stream corridors, and salt marshes are ideal for drone investigations. In just a few hours, drones can provide high-resolution imagery for areas that would take days or weeks to assess on foot.  For example, locating beaver dams throughout an extensive stream system can be done quickly and easily with a drone. A sediment plume degrading a river can be rapidly tracked back to its source, such as an unstabilized soil stockpile, helping to speed up mitigation efforts and minimize habitat damage. Big storms may cause an unknown amount of erosion and damage, but drones can be used to quickly assess large areas and prioritize response actions.  As with any technology, there are limitations, but investigations suddenly become quick, effective, and geolocated for easy and precise repetition. 

     

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  • The 5 Most Important Things to Know About Water Quality Monitoring

    January 26th, 2018 by Bob Hartzel


    Collecting reliable water quality data is one of the most important aspects of protecting and developing management plans for our rivers and lakes. Monitoring data can be used to understand the type and severity of water quality impairments and help in setting achievable targets for improvement. Water quality monitoring can also indicate long-term trends and identify critical thresholds that are approaching, such as increasing phosphorus levels that could result in frequent algae blooms if not addressed. Five key considerations for design of a water quality monitoring program are summarized below.

    1. Program Objectives

    What questions should the data answer?

    1. Practical Considerations

    Fit your data collection objectives to your budget, with careful consideration of the cost and value of each parameter. What are the statistical and data quality requirements?

    1. Monitoring Locations

    The number and location of high-priority monitoring locations will vary depending on the waterbody type, watershed size, and data goals. At a minimum, consider establishing river and tributary monitoring locations just upstream of the confluence points with your focus waterbody or river segment. For lakes and ponds, establish a “deep-spot” monitoring location for each major basin.

     

     

     

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