Limit of technology
is a term that can strike fear into the hearts of engineers, operators, and
utility managers. Achieving the very best performance possible always is the
goal, of course, but when the threshold of what “the best” means is set by
someone else, it can be daunting. This concept of squeezing out the greatest
improvements appears throughout this issue of WE&T.
The News section discusses the reality following the
panicky predictions that flooded the news and airwaves when the deadline for
the sequestration of the federal budget passed. Questions included, “Will we be
able to reach our goals with fewer resources?” Now, a few months later, it
seems that either those doomsday predictions were unfounded for the water
sector or they’re slow to trickle down to the water resource recovery
facilities. Find out where
the effects have and have not been felt.
Also read about how the 8th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ability
to make new or stricter regulations via letter. The court ruled that to have
the force and effect of regulations requires formal rulemaking with notice and
comment. The court also ruled that one of the two letters in question
overstepped the agency’s statutory authority. Read "Federal Appeals Court: U.S. EPA Regulation by Letter is Invalid"
A few of this month’s feature articles also focus on
pushing the limits of technology. While in these cases circumstance and
opportunity set the limit that is being pushed, the effect is the same —
unwavering commitment to do things smarter, faster, better. “Images of improvement”
examines how satellite imagery of algae coverage on a reservoir can be utilized
to measure phosphorus concentrations and see how effective total maximum daily
load limits are at improving water quality. “Restricted access,” logs in to see how one utility
safeguards its operations network from cyber-attack. Instead of a
software-based solution, planners used a hardware device that makes it
physically incapable for outside input to enter the control system while not
compromising data integrity and usefulness for such business operations as
As formidable as reaching for
limits of technology can be, water professionals continually achieve this mark.
For the water sector, perhaps the “limit” should be marked with pencil since
it’s only a matter of time, effort, and ingenuity until the limit is surpassed
and the next goal set.