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Power Plant Isolation Valves Beat the Heat

Power Plant Isolation Valves Beat the Heat

About a century ago, pressures of 300 ps...

NACE MR0175/ISO 15156 & NACE MR0103

NACE MR0175/ISO 15156 & NACE MR0103

Q: Is it possible to produce remanufactu...

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Industry Headlines


Industry Headlines

Schlumberger-Cameron Union Receives Unconditional Clearance


Schlumberger Limited and Cameron International Corporation jointly announce that the U.S. Department of Justice has cleared their proposed merger without any conditions, granting early termination of the waiting period required by the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 with respect...


ITT Engineered Valves Approved for Star Voluntary Protection Program

ITT Engineered Valves Approved for Star Voluntary Protection Program

ITT Engineered Valves, LLC in Lancaster, PA has been approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor for the Star Voluntary Protection Program (VPP).

Approval into VPP is OSHA’s recognition of the exceptional efforts of employers and employ...


Global Petrochemical Prices Leveled Off in October


Prices in the $3-trillion-plus global petrochemicals market in October were virtually flat based on a monthly average, but edged slightly when valued on a month-end to month-end basis from September. This is the first time the markets have shown intermonth gains since May of this year, according to ...


U.S. Rig Count Less Than Half of Last Years Total


According to Baker Hughes, the U.S. rig count declined by 10 last week to 757. Of these 757 active rigs, 564 rigs are seeking oil and 193 are seeking natural gas.

Just a year ago, with oil prices nearly double what they now, there were 1,929 active rigs in the U.S.

The rig count was at its peak in...


Consumer Confidence Falls to 14-Month Low


The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had decreased moderately in October, declined further in November. The Index now stands at 90.4, down from 99.1 in October. The Present Situation Index decreased from 114.6 last month to 108.1 in November, while the Expectations Index declined to...


Manufacturing PMI Dips to 2-year Low


November data indicated a setback for U.S. manufacturing sector growth, following the modest rebound recorded during the previous month. At 52.6, down from 54.1 in October, the seasonally adjusted Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) pointed to the slowest improveme...


A Conversation with Stacy Passaro: Looking at the Future of Water

vm-smr12-conversation stacy passaro

In the past, utility personnel didn’t want the public to have to think much about sewer and water treatment plants. The idea was to build the public’s trust that tap water was safe and reliable and wastewater was treated properly.

Today, however, as municipalities struggle to find funds to maintain and upgrade these essential services, many feel a public awareness campaign may be in order.

With 20 years of experience in wastewater treatment engineering, Stacy Passaro, P.E., BCEE, president of Passaro Engineering in Maryland, is one of those people.

“The fact is most people have no idea what happens after they flush their toilets,” she says. “It’s only when their bills go up or the infrastructure fails that it comes into the public consciousness. The wastewater industry has work to do informing people about the impressive assets and high-tech processes that are working to serve them.”


As president of her own engineering firm, ­Passaro has worked with a wide variety of groups within the wastewater field, including utility staff from frontline operators through utility managers and elected officials, regulators and non-profits.

When asked what drew her to the wastewater field, Passaro laughs. “It’s pretty rare to find somebody who says, ‘I always dreamed of being a wastewater person.’”

She goes on to explain that, when she was a junior in college, she was hired as a co-op and placed in a wastewater design/construction group.

“I remember being worried about what I’d be doing. But I worked there eight months and went back when I graduated. The more I learned about the field, the more fascinated I was,” she says.

Gradually, she realized the field was where she belonged.

Passaro went on to become a project engineer and manager in the industry, designing several treatment plants. In that capacity, she wrote valve specifications, which she says is a challenge because of the variety available.

“There are so many options and pros and cons that it’s really almost mind boggling. A challenge for design engineers is to stay on top of that, to be able to pick the optimal mechanical design and material for a specific application.”

Today, as a consultant to municipalities and other parties, she gets involved more often once the plant is under construction and put into operation.

“I work with the municipality to look at the assets and say, ‘Okay, we have these valves and want them to last forever. What do we need to do with these to prolong their lives, to be sure they’re going to perform when needed?”

“Valves are a challenge because the plants have so many of them,” she adds. “The effort must be made to know where they all are and what they all do.”

Plants have to schedule exercising and maintaining the valves, some of which are keys to keeping the public safe, she says.

“Some are emergency valves, and you want to make sure they operate when that rare emergency happens. It can be the $2,000 valve that is the key to the system. If it doesn’t work, the whole system fails,” she explains.


While the water/wastewater field certainly offers job stability, the many technological challenges in wastewater treatment keep the field interesting.

For example, “We have to be sure the water we’re discharging meets the end-user requirements,” Passaro says. “Funding is a challenge for all infrastructure, but that prompts us to be smarter and more efficient,” she continues.

Peeking into the future also keeps the job stimulating.

“We look at planning, at growth and land-use patterns and make the best educated guess we can about what the future’s going to hold. Managing and prolonging the life of assets, including valves and attendant equipment, is a huge piece of what many utilities are focusing on today. The systems need to serve the public indefinitely,” she says.

Passaro adds that the future holds a change in the way water is viewed. “In many areas there is still the mindset that water sources are unlimited. We all need to recognize water as the precious resource it is.”

Also, “Treatment plants should not be viewed just as facilities that allow safe disposal of waste. They are morphing into factories that take used resources and return them to a condition where they can be used again,” she explains.

Wastewater has many useful things in it, including nitrogen and phosphorous. It also contains up to 10 times the amount of energy within it that is used to treat it, Passaro explains.

“The theory is that, if we could extract the potential, wastewater facilities could produce energy in excess of what is needed to treat the wastewater.” In other words, “We’re looking at ways to turn wastewater facilities from energy users into energy producers,” she says.


Kate Kunkel is senior editor for Valve Magazine. Reach her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



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