Autocad Map3D 2009 Service Pack 2 Released

February 23rd, 2009 No comments

Service Pack 2, otherwise known as  Update 2, has been released for AutoCAD Map3D 2009. So what has been fixed or what issues has it resolved? Well there is a long list of them in the readme that address things from query save backs to the display manager issue that some users have been reporting. A quick read also looks like it fixed a lot of the memory leaks that caused a lot of fatal errors. You can download it here. The Readme is also on that page. The only thing I noticed for this update is it is for Map3D 2009 on a 32bit OS, those that are running Map3D on a 64 bit system will have to wait a while for an update or wait for 2010 version to be released.


Field Testing for Water-Tightness of Precast Concrete Tanks

February 13th, 2009 No comments

By Dan O’Connell, Castle Valley Consultants, SEO # 01462

The Pennsylvania Code Title 25 Chapter 73 Standards for Onlot Sewage Treatment Facilities and the associated Alternate System Guidance document, in their current form, require the ‘Tanks shall be water tight and constructed of sound and durable material not subject to excessive corrosion or decay.’ (Section 73.31(b)(1)). There is no current requirement for in field testing of treatment tanks for water tightness. However for the past couple years, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been revising both Chapter 73 and the Alternate System Guidance documents. One of the revisions was to include a requirement for in field testing, using either, water or vacuum testing of treatment tanks for water-tightness. The revised documents have been reviewed and commented on informally by outside agencies. A majority of the reviewing agencies all commented that the in field testing for water tightness should not be a requirement since the industry has designed and makes water tight tanks.


As an SEO since 1980, I was first employed by a County Health Department to permit systems, and then by engineering firms to design systems, I’ve seen over 1000 tanks installed and have designed over 500 systems utilizing precast concrete tanks. I also agreed with the notion that treatment tanks (the majority of which are precast concrete tanks) are designed and manufactured so they do not leak – are water tight. Any surface water infiltration into tanks has typically been around the pipe penetrations or where the manhole lid risers meet the tank lids.

In 2008, I had the opportunity to consult for a Township resident in a sewage system repair. As part of the repair permit application review it was noted that after the original permitted system had been installed the owner had requested the developer/builder extend the turnaround portion of the driveway. The installed driveway extensions infringed into the required 10 ft isolation distance between any tank within the sewage system and the driveway. (Section 73.13(‘C)((2)). (See Photo A) In order to issue the permit the permitting agency required either 1.) The tanks be re-located 10 ft off the driveway or 2.) That added portion of the driveway be removed. The property owner chose option 1.) Relocate the existing tanks 10 ft off the existing driveway.

Relocating an existing Septic Tank

Moving or relocation of installed existing tanks is a tricky procedure. The typical tank walls and bottom are only 2.5 to 3″ thick. Just touching the sidewall during excavation with a backhoe, can cause the side wall to crack and render the tank useless. In this situation, it was decided to try to move two tanks – a 1500 gallon aerobic treatment tank and a 1250 gallon pump tank. Since the tank manufacturer had been onsite and had offered that he probably wouldn’t try to move the tanks, I suggested that after the tanks were relocated, we follow the newly proposed DEP tank water-tightness testing and fill the tanks with water. The local permitting agency agreed and required the water-tightness testing.

The tanks are manufactured in two different configurations. The aerobic tank has two extra internal walls and in order to precast those walls with the tank, the tank mold is split in half. The joint between the two halves is a horizontal joint running around the entire circumference of the tank at the vertical midpoint of the wall. (See Photo B). The pump tank is a single compartment with four exterior walls, a bottom and a lid. The lid has a number of manhole access opening.  This tank is poured in two molds. The first mold contains the bottom and all four walls. The second mold is for the flat lid that will sit on top of the walls and includes all associated tank lid openings.

After the original aerobic tank had been relocated and the water added, a 10″ long crack near the base of the tank was found. This was not a new crack, as evidenced by the discoloration of the concrete, but had been blocked from view by soil clinging to the tank wall. Our assumption is that it was cracked during the original installation process 2 years ago.  See Photo C A second aerobic tank was ordered.

The Contractor then switched his attention to the relocated pump tank. The tank was water tested and the wall to lid joint (immediately below the tank lid) leaked. See Photo D The lid was removed and two new rows of 1″ thick mastic was applied to the tank walls. See Photo E The lid was then reinstalled and the tank retested. The seam still leaked, so the contractor applied a thick layer of hydraulic cement to the entire joint area. See Photo F The cemented joint held. The tank manhole risers were placed on a layer of mastic and hydraulic cemented to the tank lid. The tank was filled with water to a level above the ‘riser to tank lid’ joint. The pump tank passed the water-tightness test.

The new Aerobic tank arrived the next day and the contractor immediately hydraulic cemented the risers and the extra manhole lids in place. Water was then added to the tank. Before that tank was ¾ full, water started to seep out of a sidewall of the tank. It was along a vertical seam between the external sidewall and an internal wall. The tank was delivered with the seam in question smear coated with hydraulic cement but it still leaked. See Photo G

A second new aerobic tank was ordered. It also arrived with the same pattern of smeared of hydraulic cement on the walls. The tank was immediately filled with water and even though the manufacturer had stated he had water tested the tank at his yard, it also leaked at the same seam location as the first tank. See Photo H

A third tank was ordered but this time we asked for a tar coated tank, inside and outside. The tar coating is applied with a roller by the tank manufacturer, to all accessible internal walls and all external sidewalls.  Water testing and careful examination of the side walls revealed no leakage. The risers were set on a layer of mastic and sealed with hydraulic cement. A second water tests also revealed no tank leakage. See Photo I

The relocated tanks were then backfilled , the area regraded, seeded and mulched. See Photo J


  1. Water testing is an extremely cumbersome process. The water should be clean water (not effluent) since one may have to remove the water to reseal lids, pipe penetrations etc.
  2. When the tanks were removed from the hole they had to be emptied prior to removal. Then additional water was needed to tests the replacement tank.
  3. The quantity of water (in this case 1500+ gallons) is hard to handle. It would also take a while to fill the tank from a typical garden hose. The contractor did transfer water from one tank to another with a small electric sump pump, but that took up to 4 hours to fill the tank.
  4. Concrete pump tanks are only designed and manufactured to be water-tight to the height of the  pipe penetrations, since effluent levels would typically not be above the discharge pipe penetration. That was the reason behind manufacturers switching to the monolithic tanks, the joint is above the tank discharge pipe.
  5. The ‘lid to tank wall joint’ is not water-tight as delivered. This joint should be sealed with a layer of hydraulic cement.
  6. Tar coated tanks seem to have another layer of protection from leakage that uncoated tanks do not have. Tar coating is easily applied by the manufacturer and if the tar coating is scratched by lift chains during delivery, the tar could be recoated onsite by the contractor.
  7. Vibrations during the delivery process can adversely affect the seams and water tightness of the tanks.


  • All precast concrete tanks used in an on-lot sewage system should be tar coated (pitched) on the exterior walls.
  • Scratches in the tar coating should be re-coated before backfilling of installed tanks.
  • The regulations should allow for, but not require, in field water-tightness testing. If the SEO suspects a problem with the tank condition, a test may be appropriate, but not all tanks used in the system should have to be tested.
  • All tank joints should be sealed with a layer of mastic AND a coating of hydraulic cement.

UV Disinfection Reduces Byproducts

February 9th, 2009 No comments

Erlanger, KY – It is now nearly three years since Poughkeepsies’ Water Treatment Facility in New York state installed six Aquionics UV disinfection systems for drinking water treatment. In that time the closed chamber, medium pressure systems have been performing beyond expectations.

“We get approximately 5,000 hours of lamp life per UV system, but a few lamps have run for as long as 11,000 hours, which is excellent” commented Paul Lill, the facility’s plant manager. “This means we only have to change the lamps about once a year while also reducing our running costs – always an important consideration.”

Poughkeepsies’ Water Treatment Facility serves a community of nearly 80,000, drawing water from the Hudson River to meet an average daily demand of 10.5MGD. Prior to installing the Aquionics equipment in March of 2005, chlorination was used in open settling basins, followed by filtration. This process required substantial chemical usage and produced significant disinfection byproducts.

With the addition of the Aquionics UV treatment equipment the amount of chlorine required for primary disinfection was significantly reduced, with a corresponding lowering of disinfection byproducts by up to 20%. Secondary, residual disinfection is provided by chloramines. The resulting disinfection levels complied with the new guidelines of the Surface Water Treatment Rule issued by the EPA.

The six Aquionics UV systems are situated downstream of the filters and operate in parallel. The medium pressure, closed channel design disinfects with far fewer lamps and with a much smaller footprint than comparable low pressure systems. Each chamber is fitted with UV monitors to measure actual UV fluence and dose for record keeping. With the addition of an optional online transmittance monitor, real time transmittance values are used to automatically adjust the dose pacing of the UV system.

“We originally considered alternative disinfection technologies to meet our goals,” explained Lill. “The units’ lower relative cost, their compact size which fits into our existing facility and the technical merit were all deciding factors in choosing Aquionics equipment.”

To keep maintenance low, the systems are equipped with automatic cleaning mechanisms which keep the UV lamp sleeves free of organic deposits. When the lamps need replacing, it is a simple operation that is carried out by on-site staff.

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Open Source Software

February 9th, 2009 No comments

Over the past few years, I’ve become a huge fan of the open source software movement.  Recently, I became aware that many people aren’t aware of open source software and those that are aware don’t understand much about it.

What is Open Source Software?

Open source doesn’t just mean Free, however the first guideline set by the Open Source Initiative is that the software be freely distributed.  Open Source software has source code that is readable and editable by anyone.  Open source projects are posted in a public forum where a team of developers work to develop / improve the project.  Before a software application can be considered open-source it must conform to the guidelines set forth by the Open Source Inititative.  These guidelines are listed below and serve to protect the developers, users, and true essence of what it means to be open-source.

Open Source Definition

The Open Source Definition is used by the Open Source Initiative to determine whether or not a software license can be considered open source.  The definition was based on the Debian Free Software Guidelines, written and adapted primarily by Bruce Perens.


Open source doesn’t just mean access to the source code.
The distribution terms of open-source software must comply with the following criteria:

1. Free Redistribution

The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.

2. Source Code

The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form. Where some form of a product is not distributed with source code, there must be a well-publicized means of obtaining the source code for no more than a reasonable reproduction cost preferably, downloading via the Internet without charge. The source code must be the preferred form in which a programmer would modify the program. Deliberately obfuscated source code is not allowed. Intermediate forms such as the output of a preprocessor or translator are not allowed.

3. Derived Works

The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.

4. Integrity of The Author’s Source Code

The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in modified form only if the license allows the distribution of “patch files” with the source code for the purpose of modifying the program at build time. The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from modified source code. The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software.

5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.

7. Distribution of License

The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.

8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product

The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program’s being part of a particular software distribution. If the program is extracted from that distribution and used or distributed within the terms of the program’s license, all parties to whom the program is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the original software distribution.

9. License Must Not Restrict Other Software

The license must not place restrictions on other software that is distributed along with the licensed software. For example, the license must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium must be open-source software.

10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral

No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface.

Open Source Initiative,

How about quality?

One misconseption about open-source software is that is somehow subpar to traditional closed source software options.  Many closed source software development companies try to argue that open-source development projects don’t offer any guarrentees that the project will be supported and updated in the future.  The flaw in this arguement stems from the assumption that closed source “Pay for Software” companies will always be in business and support future releases of their products, and we all know that this is not the case.   So is there any truth in this statement?  It is true that some open-source projects never really get off the ground an don’t get the public support to make them a sucess.  However, many open-source projects recieve great attention, especially from the software development community.  In fact, many  sucessfull open-source projects receive updates and fixes quicker than their traditional software counterparts, due to the fact that the source code is available to anyone – the more people using the code, the quicker someone will develop improvements and fixes.

Free? – Where’s the Catch ? – How about Funding?

Given the fact that open-source software is given away for free, numerous alternative funding models, have emerged. Wikipedia points out, “Independent developers or companies may benefit from consultancy fees or charging for services related to the end use of the software, such as training. Several free OSS packages may have ‘professional’ versions which have enhanced capabilities and are sold commercially.”  Open source software has recently gained the respect and support of public and private companies, as well as governments agencies.  Some organizations have chosen to fund open source development companies for their software needs, rather than pay for commercial licenses. Many commercial open source applications are developed and distributed by companies as a combination of both open and closed source components. In this case, the company benefits from the availability of OSS, and thus in turn may end up funding OSS maintenance and upgrades when it benefits their application as a whole.

Where can I go to get Open Source Software?

Two great sources for open-source software are:

Links – To Learn More

Source Forge – a great place to find and download open source software

Open Source Initiative – is a non-profit corporation formed to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source and to build bridges among different constituencies in the open-source community

Open Directory Project –  the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. It is constructed and maintained by a vast, global community of volunteer editors.

OSDir – all things open

LXer- Linux News

FOSSPlanet – RSS Open-source feeds and more


Obama: Open Source President?

Do Obama’s strategies and  ideals support the philosophies of the open-source movement?  Watch and decide for yourself…..

written by: Christian Birch, Copyright 2009

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EveryTrail Uses the New Touring Feature in Google Earth

February 9th, 2009 No comments

EveryTrail (, the leading online GPS trip sharing community, today announced it has created content using the new Touring feature in Google Earth. An EveryTrail trip, including trip route, photos and trip notes, will now play in a 1-click, fly-through slideshow using Google Earth’s Touring feature. Seeing EveryTrail trips inside Google Earth is powerful, yet amazingly easy. Simply open Google Earth and activate the EveryTrail layer, fly to a destination and look for the EveryTrail icons.

EveryTrail is at the front of the pack when it comes to using Google Earth in innovative ways

With the new touring feature it will be easier than ever for the EveryTrail community to share their trips and stories with the Google Earth community, and I’m looking forward to following along on their tours.
Every trip belongs in EveryTrail.
EveryTrail is a community website where members upload GPS data and photos to create visual interactive trip reports of their travel experiences. Uploading trip information is easy with handheld GPS devices, the EveryTrail iPhone app and the recently launched EveryTrail Android app. The website’s 50,000 trips span more than 120 countries. This content is uniquely suitable for playback using Google Earth’s Touring feature. Content creators can now make 3D tours that deliver a 1-click viewing experience, without the need to manually navigate the content.

EveryTrail itself, and EveryTrail in Google Earth, offer a unique way to share a trip taken with friends, family and fellow adventurers instead of a traditional video or photo album. The introduction of Tours is a major step toward the geoweb becoming mainstream. Tours make Google Earth 3D content even more accessible to hundreds of millions of Google Earth users world-wide.

“EveryTrail is at the front of the pack when it comes to using Google Earth in innovative ways,” said Wei Luo, Senior Data Strategist, Google Earth. “With the new touring feature it will be easier than ever for the EveryTrail community to share their trips and stories with the Google Earth community, and I’m looking forward to following along on their tours.”

In December 2008, Google and EveryTrail announced that members’ trips are available as a content layer in Google Earth, allowing users to easily discover and view EveryTrail content in a 3D environment directly within Google Earth. EveryTrail now serves over 110,000 unique users per month and expects its strong growth to continue this year.

The expanding trip database provides a searchable geoweb resource for trip planning. Anyone can look for ideas and activities on the site by searching the 50,000 trip destinations in over 120 countries and through a wide variety of activities including hiking, biking, walking, driving, running, sailing or even hangliding and paragliding. There are plenty of good reasons why – as founder Joost Schreve likes to say – “Every trip belongs in EveryTrail.”

About EveryTrail
EveryTrail is a global web2.0 platform for geotagged user generated travel content that is changing the way millions of people share their travel experiences and plan their trips. EveryTrail users create valuable content, for themselves, their family and friends, and for the broader community, by uploading GPS data and photos in order to create visual interactive trip reports of their travel experiences. For more information, visit

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