Phone: 775.329.5559


LoveLockHS Site Color Plan

Joe Yanni Sports Field Makeover Is State-Of-The-Art

USD_Story_ImageComing in the Summer of 2018, the Joe Yanni Sports Field makeover at Pershing County High School in Lovelock, Nevada will stop you in its tracks! Tom Donaldson, the man in charge of the Pershing County School District facilities is spearheading the project. The new Sports Field will give high school students in Lovelock, state-of-the-art facilities using the same NFL Grade Coolplay FieldTurf System that has recently been installed for the New England Patriots and universities across the country, including UNR. The new bright red track will be the same NCAA compliant synthetic track systems used on the best track and fields in the world. The makeover will include the world class Musco LED stadium lighting system for crystal clear viewing during night games. There will be no missed calls under these lights!

Project Manager, Steve Brigman, Principal at Shaw Engineering has scheduled design completion for early this September. “Construction should begin shortly after football season at the end of October or the beginning of November,” says Brigman “We are excited to be a part of this upgrade, which will benefit the students, teachers and families in Lovelock. It’s a fun project and will be a wonderful addition to the community.”

The project is being funded by the Pershing County School District Capital Project Fund. We want to thank the Superintendent, Russell Fecht and the School District Board of Trustees; Walter Bringerhoff, Shayla Hudson, Joe Crim, James Evans, and Michael Mancebo for their support in bringing this project to fruition. Go Mustangs!

Inflow Infiltration

Wet Winter Woes: Infiltration and Inflow

1002_IIsources_600Infiltration and inflow (I&I) caused many systems over the winter and through the spring runoff to experience extreme peaks in sewer flows to wastewater reclamation facilities and disposal fields. Rainfall and snow melt can enter wastewater collection systems as inflow, meaning that it comes in through service laterals from items such as sump pumps, downspouts and yard drains or flows in through manhole covers or catch basins. Infiltration, on the other hand, is caused by the increased precipitation and runoff causing a rise in groundwater level and then the groundwater leaking into the collection system through defective pipes, pipe joints, connections and other subsurface infrastructure such as manholes, wet wells, treatment vaults and equalization basins. Infiltration can occur not just from a rise in groundwater level, but also by way of rainfall entering the collection system via rapid percolation of the soils and shallow infiltration around manholes.

Although modern construction, inspection and testing of collection system infrastructure significantly reduces I&I in new systems, operators and utilities have to recognize that I&I can be present in any system. Typical wastewater collection system with modern construction materials averages infiltration through gasketed joints of 25 Gal/Day/Inch Diameter/Mile (Uni-Bell Handbook of PVC Pipe). For 8” sewer pipe, that is 38 gallons per day (GPD)/1,000 feet of pipe and for 10” sewer, 47 GPD/1,000 feet of pipe. Older infrastructure with sewer collection systems in disrepair can experience infiltration on the order of five to ten times or more greater than this average.

Inflow is usually reduced through modern construction practices. Through building permit reviews and homeowner education, major reductions in the number of connections from rainfall areas to the collection system can be seen. For inflow through public infrastructure, the major sources are not present in modern sewer collection system design, such as storm sewer catch basins connected to sewer manholes. Also, when manholes are placed in potentially flooded areas, there is an abundance of gasketed manhole cover products on the market to keep that rainwater out.

What to do next? For systems throughout our region which saw major I&I issues throughout the winter and spring, it is best to start addressing the problem with some common sense approaches. Completing visual inspections of the collection system and addressing any known I&I problems first, is the best place to start. Operators often know the unique items in their system which may be the biggest concern for I&I. Next, depending on the size of the system, working with homeowners to educate them on the problems the wastewater system faces with I&I and empower them to work to independently eliminate sources of inflow on their properties.

With the easy problems tackled, wastewater utilities and operators should then look to implement regular inspections of the subsurface infrastructure throughout the system. Today this is accomplished by use of closed circuit television (CCTV) inspection of gravity lines. Video inspection can identify major failures in pipe connections, pipe collapse, poor lateral connections and areas of excessive groundwater entering the system. Utilities should have regular video inspection completed of the entire collection system and these types of inspections are typically required by State discharge permits. Additional emerging technologies for pipe inspection include pipe penetrating radar, light detection and ranging (LIDAR) scanning and sonar. These emerging technologies provide detailed profiles and imagery of pipe condition; they do not have the ability to stop and observe the flows in the pipe as available with video, however multiple images are blended to show flow moving while the sensors travel through the pipe. LIDAR types of pipe scans do provide more details of the pipe, such as roundness and other slight pipe deflections that are sometimes difficult to see with CCTV.

After inspections are completed of the system, utilities and operators must begin the difficult task of allocating resources to address deficiencies. Since these types of repairs are typically shouldered by existing rate payers, finding resources can difficult. System operators must be diligent in bringing these issues to their customers and managing bodies because leaving the problem go for too long can result in fines and orders from the State to address the problems; which is the last place any utility wants to find itself.

Some rainwater gets to the treatment plant … who cares? Modern wastewater reclamation facilities are extremely sensitive biological habitats for good bugs that love to digest our wastewater and turn it into methane gas that can be exhausted and sludge that we can dry and haul to landfills. When excessive amounts of rainwater is sent to our treatment plants, all of these good bugs lose their carbon (food) source and get washed away. When the bugs get washed away, the plant cannot properly treat the regular wastewater flows that come back in high concentration following the storm event or temporary groundwater rise. A wastewater reclamation facility which experiences events like this may be required to divert large flows to emergency holding ponds (if available) or risk violating discharge permit limitations which can result in fines and orders from the State.

As the weather gets warmer, and we slowly forget about the issues that plagued our wastewater systems with high I&I over the winter and spring, be diligent and start addressing the problems now. Just because I&I may not be a problem today, we know it can take just one wet season to turn our collection system world upside down.

Mount Rose Highway Lake Tahoe Nevada Today. One Week Of Storms Did This. Amazing 640x340

Mother Nature’s Reservoir System

No one appreciates precipitation, especially in the form of snow, more than Nevadans. We love to ski on it, swim in it, boat on it, fish in it and water our yards with it. Most importantly, we understand, more than most, that is a precious commodity. This year the snow gods have blessed us with a tremendous bounty! 706 inches have fallen to date at our own Mt. Rose Ski Resort extending our season until Memorial Day – giving us the unique opportunity to both ski and boat in the same weekend. Historically, 1938 brought us our biggest snowfall at 819 inches recorded at Donner Pass by the Central Pacific Railroad. We most likely won’t catch up to that, but it is snowing as I write this.

Lake Tahoe Water LevelLake Tahoe’s water level sits at 6,226.81 feet, which is almost five feet above where it sat the last two years on this date. The LA Times reported that just under one foot or 33.6 billion gallons of water was added to the lake in the first week of January alone this year. An additional five feet then would equal approximately 135 billion gallons more water stored in the lake than in 2015 and 2016 – not accounting for the water being let out into the Truckee River.

Mountain snowpack is Mother Nature’s reservoir system. On average across the Sierra Nevada range, there is 164% of the April 1st average water content in the current snowpack. So far, Mother Nature has been doing an amazing job of completely eliminating the drought without a whole lot of damage – snow, then a little rain, warming up to just flood a little bit, more snow, a little more rain, warming, cooling. If this pattern continues, not only will the man-made reservoirs be full, but the aquifers in California may completely bounce back creating a healthy snowpack to surface water to ground water ratio. If not, and it gets too warm too fast, our precious snowpack reserve could be wasted. Either way, whether we get lucky or not, just a heads up to the State planners out there…make sure our water infrastructure is up to the task. Catch it when we have it; so we can save it when we don’t.

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Enhanced GIS and Hydraulic Modeling Capabilities

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have evolved over the last 20 years into the standard of the industry for developing comprehensive maps that use the underlying data to provide numeric and graphical results, that aid engineers and planners in project specific analysis for their clients. From applying land use and zoning information to developing future demand forecasts, to linking client billing data to hydraulic models, comprehensive evaluations over large geographic areas become routine. The availability of GIS data sets has grown exponentially due to advances in hardware and software, but more importantly due to the Agencies throughout the world who have developed and shared the data to foster advances for all.

Software and hardware do not solve problems, experience and knowledge coupled with technology do! Shaw’s commitment to maintain the highest level expertise with continued senior level management of all projects remains; as we continue to add the most advanced technologies to get the job done. We are now using software systems like ArcGis with Innovyze (InfoWater) for hydraulic modeling within the GIS environment. Using InfoWater provides the ability to quickly populate hydraulic models with demand and topology information provided in typical data sets that many of our clients maintain. Depending on our clients data availability/format, GIS provides numerous options to link operational data for more refined model calibrations, surge evaluations, and both energy and water quality analysis in extended period simulations (EPS). Shaw continues to offer hydraulic modeling with WaterCad (Bentley), and as always, we can convert any EPAnet model to/from either InfoWater or Water Cad if client conversions are needed.

Indoor Marijuana

The Impact of Marijuana Cultivation on Water Resources in Nevada

With the passage of Question 2 on the November 8th ballot the possession or use of marijuana for recreational purposes was legalized in Nevada. The passage of Question 9 in 2000 legalized medical marijuana. Question 2 allows adults aged 21 or older to possess, consume, and cultivate some marijuana for recreational purposes. It also authorized and regulated marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, manufacturing facilities, testing facilities, and distributors. A handful of licensed medical dispensaries are now open in Nevada, with recreational shops expected soon. A few hundred licensed growers and producers are also expected to open in the near future.

Recreational dispensaries will be determined by county size, with 80 being allocated to Clark County, 20 to Washoe County, four to Carson City and two to the additional 14 counties. Most dispensaries will be found in highly populated areas like Las Vegas and Reno, with the remaining ones sprinkled throughout the rest of the state. As part of the passing of Question 2, growing at home for recreational use will be banned within 25 miles of any dispensary, effectively blocking most of the population of Nevada from growing their own marijuana.

Warehouse production of marijuana on a commercial scale is expected to boom in Nevada and Washoe County. Planning and design of new indoor grow facilities is underway and several are expected to be in operation soon. What impact will these grow operations have on local water resources?

Like most indoor agricultural growing operations, cannabis production will require oxygen (in the form of CO2), natural light, nutrients and water. Commercial plant cultivation requires approximately 0.75 gallons per plant per day. A typical small commercial growing operation with 1,800 mature plants in production will have a daily water demand of 1,350 gallons or approximately the amount of water used each day by 4 typical single family residential homes. Many types of irrigation systems are used to water plants including drip irrigation, hydroponic flood benches, or trough benches. Watering typically occurs over an 8-10 hour period when the facilities are staffed. For a small operation this is about 3 gallons per minute of continuous demand during water periods.

Although medical and recreational marijuana consumption statistics are highly variable, the estimated amount of water to cultivate marijuana for the Northern Nevada market is approximately 2.2 million gallons annually. However, once the recreational use is more prevalent in the community, the stigma will reduce and the number of users could increase dramatically. An argument can be made that water demands for marijuana plants in Northern Nevada could grow to over 10 million gallons annually within the next 10 to 20 years, which would be the equivalent of what 90 single family homes currently use in a year.

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The Value of Ethics

The National Society of Professional Engineers begins its discussion on its Code of Ethics with, “Engineers must perform under a standard of professional behavior that requires adherence to the highest principles of ethical conduct.” Why? Engineering, a learned and essential discipline in our modern society, directly impacts the quality of life of all people, everywhere. Most professions, in some respect, must support the greater good – food service, for example, must make sure that the food it serves is safe for the public. Of course, our armed services is the greatest example of personal sacrifice for the greater good. Interestingly, a recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that CEOs that had once served in the armed forces were 70% less likely to commit fraud than those that had not.

During times of corporate or personal crisis an individual may be tempted to bend the rules to support their own needs. Engineers are not allowed that luxury. Too much is at stake. Here at Shaw Engineering, we recently decided to spend some time with our staff going over the National Society of Engineers Code of Ethics. We decided to do this not only as a refresher, but to remind ourselves of the immense value of what we do for our clients and the importance of the ethics and integrity we bring to the table everyday. We found this exercise to be extremely beneficial on many levels.

Below are the 10 Benefits of Managing Ethics in the Workplace by Carter McNamara you and your teams might also find helpful.

1. Attention to business ethics has substantially improved society.
2. Ethics programs help maintain a moral course in turbulent times.
3. Ethics programs cultivate strong teamwork and productivity.
4. Ethics programs support employee growth and meaning.
5. Ethics programs are an insurance policy helping to ensure policies are legal.
8. Ethics programs promote a strong public image.
9. Ethics programs increase trust and strengthen organizations.
10. Formal attention to ethics in the workplace is the right thing to do.

Toilet to Tap or Great Idea! by Cody Black, P.E.

A Popular Solution to a Growing Problem?

W13 Focus Images-WaterReuseAs the drought continues, all of us are having to look at planning for a future with less water resources. For decades, we have been using recycled or reclaimed wastewater to irrigate our golf courses and large fields. These projects have been limited to certain high demand irrigation areas and have benefitted us in more ways than one. This includes providing a disposal location for wastewater treatment plant effluent while providing green open space in our communities. It is no surprise that this has been a popular solution, but will it remain so when even more restrictions are being placed on our household uses of water?

Wastewater and Direct Potable Reuse

indirect-potable-reuse1As we look forward to the need for more conservation and more efficient uses of our resources, are Nevadan’s ready to take the next step to Direct Potable Reuse (DPR)? An increasingly popular solution with the hurdle of overcoming the “toilet to tap” moniker. Even with press conferences showing City Mayors and celebrities like Bill Gates drinking shiny clear glasses of treated wastewater, will the public accept the idea?

This solution goes beyond indirect potable reuse, where some wastewater is blended with fresh surface or ground water and allowed to be introduced to a water treatment plant after certain residence time. With DPR, that treated wastewater goes through similar extensive purification and is then piped directly to a water treatment plant. This is why some call this “pipe-to-pipe” or “toilet-to-tap”.

The Benefits of Direct Potable Reuse

ehp.122-A332.g002Changing the regulations is where we start to get to the best efficiency of our resources. This is the direction that California is already headed. Direct Potable Reuse. This term is going to be talked about more and more in the coming years. Direct potable reuse is going to be a major tool for making the best use of our limited water resources.

This cannot be implemented without changing some regulations. California is moving toward DPR with their final California Legislature report due by the end of 2016 and Texas currently has DPR in operation in some plants. The technology to accomplish this is readily available. The next step is regulations and education.

Let’s spread the word about the benefits of direct potable reuse and look to the future where we can expand our populations while limiting the use of our precious water resources.

For more info on reuse:


5 UNR Engineering Students Receive George Shaw Scholarships

Since the passing of our founder, George Shaw and the creation of the scholarship in his name, we feel honored to announce that, to date, the George ShawScholarship has been awarded to five University of Nevada, Reno engineering students.

Congratulations to Francisco and Aaron


Aaron Smith

We congratulate the two most recent recipients; Francisco Ramirez and Aaron Smith and thank them for their kind notes of appreciation. Francisco is a graduate of Sparks High School and is majoring in civil engineering and minoring in renewable energy. Aaron is a graduate of Douglas HighSchool in Minden, Nevada and is majoring in environmental engineering.

Scholarship Eligibility

Our scholarship was established as an endowment and exists in perpetuity. It is available each academic year for a student who is a Nevada resident enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno in the field of civil or environmental engineering.

The Partners at Shaw Engineering, like George, are UNR Engineering School graduates, born and raised in Nevada. We feel privileged to have the ability and opportunity as individuals and a firm to support the growth and future of the young engineers in our State.



Water Drop Small

22 Water Systems in California Face Curtailment by Cody Black, P.E.

Find a reliable, alternative source of water seems like a simple task to do as part of a broad water system master plan, however for some drought stricken water systems in California, this is mandated to be done much sooner under immediate order from the State. The State of California Water Resources Control Board has issued Curtailment Compliance Orders to 22 water systems in relation to violations of Section 116555 of the California Health and Safety Code, a code requiring each public water system to have a reliable supply of water to serve its customers.

No New Service Connections Permitted

These compliance orders allow the water systems to continue to supply water for basic health and safety needs of its customers, but it does prevent the water systems from permitting any new service connections; in addition to requiring the system to secure a reliable long-term supply of water. These Compliance Orders require the water systems to contact property owners with “will serves” and submit relevant documentation on their “will serves” to the Division of Drinking Water.

More Restrictions on Outdoor Irrigation

The orders also require water systems to submit for review and begin implementation of a plan for complying with the Conservation Regulation of Title 23, CCR, Section 865 (e), which requires restrictions on outdoor irrigation of ornamental landscape or turf with potable water, including limiting watering to two days per week or implementation of other similar conservation measures.

Smaller Water Systems Face Bigger Problems

Smaller water systems with limited resources have a lot on their plates, with reporting, documentation, implementing conservation plans and analyzing alternative sources of water. In addition, some water systems are required to comply with additional deadlines such as a Source Capacity Planning Study completed by March 17, 2015 and begin ensuring all connections are metered and have rates based on metered water by November 17, 2016.

Recent Rains Provide Marginal Relief

Dealing with another drought year has been a strain for California and we will all stay positive for more precipitation this winter. There is some marginal relief to some of these water systems as the State has lifted curtailments for the post-1914 water rights within the Russian River Watershed and pre-1954 water rights within the Sacramento and San Joaquin Watersheds.

How is Nevada Prepared for Drought?

For northern Nevada, orders such as these have not been applied through the State, thanks in part to Nevada’s reliance on groundwater as opposed to surface water. As always, there remains a need to monitor declining groundwater levels in some basins and continue review of over-appropriated hydrographic basins. There are also always concerns to be prepared for issues such as costs to water system operators should wells dry up due to subsidence of groundwater levels.

How is the Truckee Meadows Prepared for Drought?

For the Truckee Meadows dealing with a third straight year of drought is also a topic of discussion. Truckee Meadows Water Authority’s Water Supply Update and Forecast states, “We are fortunate to have a robust supply system of upstream reservoirs and underground reserves available for use during dry years.” TMWA’s reserves will help the utility continue to meet customer demands in these drought years. In addition TMWA continues to look at removing the last of their un-metered connections and work with local agencies on reducing turf installations throughout the region (RGJ, Flat-rate water use to be phased out).

Conserve and educate, as it is up to all of us to make the most of our water resources.

For the latest drought information and news, including notices and orders, visit the California State Water Resources Control Board’s website. For information and tips for water conservation visit Save Our Water.

SVGID Interceptor

Sliplining Sewers With Cured in Place Pipes: A Cost-Effective Method of Trenchless Rehabilitation for Existing Pipelines

Perhaps the oldest of all trenchless techniques, sliplining involves inserting a new pipe into an existing pipe to repair leaks or restore structural stability. This technique is still used today, however, advanced technologies have enabled companies to use an even more efficient and versatile method.

Cured in place pipe (CIPP) is a resin-saturated, felt tubing that is coated with a permanently bonded layer of polypropylene.

The installation process involves pulling the tubing into the existing pipe and circulating hot water or steam throughout it. This process inflates the tube so that it fits against the existing pipe walls and cures the resin, creating a tight-fitting, corrosion-resistant pipe within a pipe.

Once the pipe is installed, service laterals are restored with a robotic cutting device and a camera inspection is conducted to ensure the new pipe has adhered to the existing pipe correctly.

Using this method can eliminate the need for a complete pipeline bypass and lessen the interruption of traffic in the vicinity. Sliplining an existing sewer pipeline with CIPP technology will also increase flow capacity because the wastewater will move smoothly through the new pipe.

When compared to other methods, sliplining is an efficient, cost-effective solution to sewer pipe rehabilitation. Shaw Engineering has designed and managed CIPP projects. We continue to seek out more cost-saving solutions for our clients every day.

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