June 2013, Vol. 25, No.6

From The Editors

Pushing the bounds

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 billing.   


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.