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  • How is a map projection like an orange peel?

    July 31st, 2018 by Josephine Hatton


     

    You may remember your eighth-grade science teacher explaining map projections using the orange-peel analogy: imagine the Earth is an orange.  In order to draw a map of the surface of the orange, we have to find a way to flatten the peel onto a flat piece of paper or computer screen.  But the orange is a sphere, so the only way to do that is to stretch or cut the peel in some places.  Unavoidably, that stretching causes distortion.

     

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    There are lots of ways to do this.  The more you cut the peel up into small pieces, the easier it is to flatten them without too much stretching—but you’re left with a mess of little pieces.  If this is a map, it won’t be a very convenient one.  But if you leave the pieces large, or don’t cut the peel at all, then it will have to stretch a lot to flatten onto the page. 

     

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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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  • The 9 Most Important Features of a Watershed Plan

    January 23rd, 2018 by Bob Hartzel


     

    A Watershed-Based Plan (WBP) is intended to provide watershed-specific information and analyses that will promote actions to protect and restore water quality. Development of a “9-element” WBP is a requirement for watershed restoration and water quality protection projects seeking federal funding under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. The 9 WBP elements are summarized below.

     

    1. Identify the causes and sources of pollution that will need to be controlled to achieve water quality goals for the watershed.

    2. Determine the pollutant reductions needed to achieve water quality goals for the watershed.

    3. Describe the management actions needed to achieve the targeted pollutant load reductions and identification of critical areas where those actions will be implemented.

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  • Top 12 Reasons to Work at CEI Starting with #12

    December 13th, 2016 by Eileen Pannetier


    #12. A Sense of Accomplishment - Seeing Your Designs Come to Life When Constructed.

    Whether it’s doing a grading plan and then seeing how the land contours change during construction, or watching new sidewalk be built and seeing how excited the folks who live near it get, work in civil/environmental engineering can bring a strong feeling of accomplishment.

    CEI’s projects are positive projects with a focus on sustainability: new or rehabilitated pump stations; new or rehabbed water treatment or storage facilities; restored dams; environmentally friendly parking lots, trails and boat ramps; improved traffic patterns; free-flowing culverts to prevent flooding; and stormwater treatment practices to protect and improve water quality. People benefit, the environment benefits.

    Our team approach means every person on the team participates in the planning/design/construction process including quality control. Every person contributes. There’s nothing better than a client thanking you for a job well done.

    CEI currently has openings for civil engineers with 2+ years experience in our Marlborough, MA office, especially for those with good AutoCAD skills. We’ve also got openings for bridge engineers who would assist with our small bridge program and hydraulics analysis. See the current openings here: http://ceiengineers.com/work-with-us/career-opportunities

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  • Top 10 Differences Between the 2003 and 2016 Massachusetts MS4 Permit

    July 29th, 2016 by Eileen Pannetier


    As you may be aware, there are many differences between than 2003 and 2016 MS4 permit. CEI has been analyzing the changes, and to help simplify a complicated permit, we’ve boiled down the most significant changes to 10. Here they are:

    1. The 2016 permit has very specific public outreach and participation requirements, divided by audience and with definitive requirements for distribution. This may be something you will can do using materials created by your regional planning agency, MassDEP or EPA.

    2. The requirements for regulatory changes include incorporation of specific design requirements for new development and redevelopment largely tied to the Massachusetts Stormwater Handbook. Previously, regulations were required but did not specify design criteria and many communities did not implement any subdivision or site plan requirements.

     

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  • Is the record snowfall for 2015 a fluke? Or is it something we'll see more of in the future?

    March 9th, 2015 by Eileen Pannetier


    Guest Bloggers: Matthew Lundsted, P.E., CFM and Scott Salvucci, P.E.

    There are some actions you can take to reduce future flooding assuming we will continue to have heavy snow events as well as hurricanes and heavy rainfall periods in the future. One of the most critical assets in most communities are the culverts that protect our roadways from flooding. Undersized, deteriorated, or unstable culverts and bridges that have exceeded their designed lifetime are a hazard to more than just the roadway, but most communities have so many of them that it's difficult to fix them all. Prioritization is the key, and that starts with an up-to-date inventory that also highlights areas that will need extra attention after major snow or rainfall events.

    In a typical community, culverts may outnumber bridges by 4 to 1, but their failure can result in road washouts, flooding, significant property damage, and burdensome demands on municipal public works departments' staff during post-storm recovery efforts.

    Having a thorough understanding of the existing condition, capacity, and safety of your community's many culverts is key to ensuring your roadways are resilient to snow and storm events. Even better is a proactive plan to address known deficiencies and help form the foundation for a quick recovery following an extreme snow or storm event. Waiting until culverts fail is not a cost-effective approach since the damage may be much more expensive to repair, especially on an emergency or rush basis.

    A proactive culvert inventory and assessment could include the following:

    1. Develop or expand your GIS based infrastructure asset management program to include bridges and culverted stream crossings in the data array. CEI's engineers have developed a streamlined method for a GIS-based culvert and bridge infrastructure inventory and assessment for communities, to include identifying the appropriate data-fields and a supporting field program to establish an effective culvert condition baseline in your asset management database.
    2. Many communities have little, if any, updated information on culvert conditions. A simple, yet effective, in-the-field rapid assessment of the conditions of existing stream culverts including assessment of such conditions as settlement, cracking, corrosion, and spalling of the culvert material is needed. CEI has an efficient culvert evaluation protocol that can help. Completion of this protocol is the first step in compiling a list of structures with known structural deficiencies, and will greatly assist you with establishing priorities for repairs and replacements.
    3. If you have already identified culverts requiring replacement, we can also offer extensive experience in the design and permitting of these structures, including the necessary hydraulic analyses, stream assessments, applicable state and federal sizing and permitting requirements, and bidding and construction phases. Many communities have been helped by our staff of professional engineers and scientists and we’ll gladly provide a list of references.
    4. For culverts that appear undersized based on field assessment or that are known to have hydraulic capacity problems, we help you plan the most cost-effective and appropriate measures to upgrade these structures. Our experience with state-of-the-art hydraulic modeling tools and our knowledge of culvert hydraulics can be applied to help you set priorities for increasing culvert resilience to major snow and other storm events.
    5. If you are considering replacement of specific culvert structures, you will need to address current regulations at both the state and federal levels that address culvert installation practices in light of wildlife habitat and fish passage considerations. CEI staff are recognized as leading experts in the design of culverts for wildlife accommodation. We have direct working knowledge in the application of these regulations to culvert design and replacement, and can assist you through the regulatory requirements that apply to work on rivers and streams.
    6. Lastly, CEI can provide help in prioritizing the areas that will need the most work in a logical sequence using our Comprehensive Asset Planning (CAP) tool that allows adaptation to the factors most important to your community. For example, we can assist in prioritizing for snow cleanup, culvert maintenance and staff training, as well as developing flexible budgeting to address these priorities. CEI is ready to assist you with your inventory, structural assessment, prioritization, and culvert maintenance and upgrade program.

    For more information about CEI’s Flood Management and Culvert Assessment/Engineering services please contact Matt Lundsted, P.E., CFM at 800.725.2550 x305 mlundsted@ceiengineers.com or Scott Salvucci, P.E., at 508-281-5160 x380 or ssalvucci@ceiengineers.com.

    Visit us at www.ceiengineers.com

     

  • I Reported a Spill to MassDEP – Now What?

    March 16th, 2014 by Rick Cote, P.E., LSP


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