There’s a one-panel strip of the absurdist newspaper comic “The Far Side” that I remember well from childhood. It shows human-sized insects sitting in a theater for a horror movie called “Return of the Killer Windshield.” It still makes me laugh when I think about it, but the joke probably works better visually than verbally.
The below-ground infrastructure that has served us for the last five decades is at risk of failure due to change in climate, challenges with our understanding of how it should have been designed, intensification of the urban landscape and the simple lack of focus in maintenance, funding and knowledge.
Last month, we began with a concept for an “ideal” thermal storage tank. This tank was then shown in both a classic four-pipe configuration, as well as a newer configuration called two-pipe. This month, we’ll look at a morphing of these two piping methods to create a three-pipe configuration. We’ll also look at options for connecting multiple thermal storage tanks together.
The U.S. is seeing about 10,000 baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) retire per day. That means every day we lose knowledge from our industry due to retirements. The fact that so much of the construction industry is experience- or knowledge-based work makes this fact especially sobering, but the challenges don’t end there.
Recently, I had the opportunity to go on a fishing trip. It was a “deep-sea” excursion from the northern tip of Plum Island in New England. The recommended method of trickery was to put some pieces of squid on a hook, weight the line with a 16-ounce hunk of lead and let it sink to the bottom of the ocean.
Unintended consequences, that close cousin of mislaid plans, can claim some responsibility for a current conundrum: low-flow fixtures paired with existing oversized piping helped create the growing crisis of legionella bacteria.
The March 2019 issue of PM Engineer dives into the latest plumbing trends in commercial kitchens and baths, including the role grinder pumps play combatting sanitary wipes, and the expanded use of food waste disposers in grocery store prep areas. Also in the magazine, Julius Ballanco sees problems with a new International Plumbing Code change requiring more shutoff valves. John Siegenthaler, P.E., finishes his two-part column on different configurations for thermal storage tanks, and fire protection engineer Jacqueline Wilmot provides a guide for navigating the new and reorganized 2019 edition of NFPA 13.