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Several contractors have initiated steps to form an association to better represent the pipeline and utility trenching industry.

PipeLine Machinery International (PLM-Cat) Executive Vice President and General Manager Tony Fernandez welcomed more than 250 people that included local pipeline industry representatives, media and community to the grand opening of the company’s new head office facility in Cypress, TX, on Feb. 9. Cypress is located in the northwest Houston area.

According to an article distributed on the PVC Pipe Association website, each year, more than 300,000 water main breaks occur throughout North America – or some 850 every day – mainly as a result of the continued use of corrosion-prone iron piping in the nation's water systems. Moreover, according to a congressional study, corrosion costs U.S. drinking water and wastewater systems over $50.7 billion annually or more than $1 trillion dollars over the next 20 years.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has renewed its Alliance with the American Pipeline Contractors Association (APCA) to continue working together to protect workers from serious job hazards during equipment operation, trenching and excavation, and hydrostatic testing.

EPA has awarded $123,000 to the city of Wichita, KS, for improvements to its storm sewer system. The project is expected to be completed by the fall of 2012.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the state of Illinois announced a Clean Water Act (CWA) settlement with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) to resolve claims that untreated sewer discharges were released into Chicago area waterways during flood and wet weather events.

Pattern Energy Group LP announced that its Southern Cross transmission project has obtained two key regulatory orders from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Pattern is developing the Southern Cross project to add a High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission tie of up to 3,000 MW between ERCOT in Texas and the transmission grid deep in the southeastern United States by 2016.

Leo M. Beard, 96, of Mt. Pleasant, MI, passed away Dec. 12, 2011.

Al Colthorp of Lake St. Louis, MO, died on Oct. 18, 2011 at the age of 77. Colthorp graduated from Michigan State University with a masters in Civil Engineering, and was a registered Professional Engineer.

Uni-Bell PVC Pipe Association is encouraging its more than 9,000 Facebook followers to shoot pictures of water main breaks or repairs in their local communities and submit them as contest entries to win an iPad.

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