Civil Solutions Group

Civil Solutions Group is one year old!!!!

Civil Solutions Group, Inc. opened it's doors for business in February of 2009, meaning that this month marks the one year anniversary of our business. While the economic landscape during 2009 was challenging, Civil Solutions Group, Inc. continues to grow and provide excellent service for the clients' the company serves. Civil Solutions Group, Inc. would like to say thank you to all those individuals and companies that have helped to make Civil Solutions Group a success during the past year. The following is a sampling of projects that Civil Solutions Group had an opportunity to complete during 2009 and into 2010:

Land Development:
  • Providence and Logan Crossroads Commercial Subdivision
  • Lazy 9 Ranch Equestrian Subdivision
  • Valley View Estates Subdivision
  • Earl Residential Subdivision
  • Baer Residential Subdivision
  • Goodsell Residential Subdivision
Environmental Planning:
  • Boulder Ridge Wetland Delineation and Delineation Report
  • Baer Wetland Assessment
  • Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment
Water Rights/Water Resource:
  • 4 KW Micro Hydroelectric Project near Smithfield Canyon
  • Clegg Hydroelectric Site Assessment and Financial Feasibility
  • Barber Hydroelectric Site Assessment
  • Well Proof and Water Right Consultation for a number of clients
Governement/Commercial Building Projects:
  • Uintah County Senior Citizen Center (currently in design)
  • Vernal Commercial Design Development (currently in design)
  • Salt Lake Area Commercial Building Preliminary Cost Analysis and Consultation (in progress)
Construction Administration:
  • Valley View Estates, Phase 2 Construction Administration and Construction Staking (in progress)
  • Baer Residential Subdivision (in progress)
  • 4 KW Micro Hydroelectric (in progress)
Once again thank you to all of you that have helped to make Civil Solutions Group a success. As a business we intend to have a presence in northern Utah and the surrounding states for many years to come. Please don't hesitate to call or email with any questions or needs.

Construction Administration - Saves Money!

Civil Solutions Group not only provides excellent, sustainable design and consultation to clients, but our service continues into the construction phase of projects. The construction administration process can encompass bid advertisement, bid document preparation, contract document preparation, third-party construction inspections, request for payment review and approval, final inspections, and other tasks.

Private developers, commercial projects, and other entities sometimes think that construction administration only benefits large government projects. Civil Solutions Group has to proven clients that the benefits of construction administration can apply to all projects large and small. The benefits of the construction administration process for all projects is the protection of a detailed contract, competitive bidding based upon set quantities and the knowledge that Civil Solutions Group is seeking to protect the owner's interests.

Recently Civil Solutions Group has provided construction administration for three projects; two relatively large and one small project. One of the larger projects attracted interest from nine bidders. The competitive bidding process on this large job resulted in a winning bid 15% below the engineer's estimate, which translated into large savings for the owner. The smaller project had an engineer's estimate of $16,267, with a competitive low bid of $12,900 for a savings of 21% for the owner.

Beyond the savings realized during the bidding process there are additional soft savings during the construction phase. A detailed contract that enables both the owner and contractor to understand what is and what isn't included saves money by avoiding change orders. A loose contract or no contract at all breeds unnecessary change orders and additions to the total cost that could be avoided. Construction inspections also ensure that the owner's are receiving a finished product that meets the quality specified in the construction plans. For example during the construction administration process of a residential subdivision a contractor disputed the quantities in the contract. Civil Solutions Group was able to mediate between the owner and contractor to solve the dispute, by providing a third-party opinion pertaining to the dispute.

Civil Solutions Group encourages all owners' contemplating a new construction project to seek the help of Civil Solutions Group for construction administration. We can save you money, save you unnecessary stress, and ensure that your money is spent on quality products and workmanship.

Micro Hydroelectric Energy

Civil Solutions Group, Inc. recently completed a design project that has the potential to create 96 Kilowatt hours per day utilizing an existing stream and minimal elevation fall using micro hydroelectric technology. Hydroelectric power is created by water turning a turbine that creates energy. To put that amount of power into perspective, 96 Kilowatt hours per day will power 3.7 average homes in Utah according to the average residential power usage. This system will create power 24 hours a day, 7 days a week as long as water is running in the stream. The following summaries the project details.

As the leader in sustainable engineering and planning Civil Solutions Group, Inc. was retained by a landowner near Smithfield, Utah to study the feasibility of installing hydroelectric turbines on Summit Creek to create energy for his home, stables, barns, and future energy use. Summit Creek had an average flow rate of 30-32 cubic feet per second of water flow during September 2009. Historic records show that the creek sustains a stable flow rate of water during the last 25 years. The project will utilize approximately 8 cubic feet per second of water, well below the historic flow rates.

Typical hydroelectric systems require large elevations drop or vast amounts of water, but this particular site only had approximately 12-ft of elevation drop along the owner's property. Utilizing an ES&D LH-1000 turbine the limited amount of elevation drop and relatively small flow rate in the creek was overcome to create up to 96 Kilowatt hours per day!

The wonderful aspect of a renewable energy project such as micro hydroelectricity is that no water is consumed during the power generation process. This means that the State of Utah can issue a non-consumptive water right. A stream alteration permit must also be obtained to install the necessary improvements for the system. Overall the amount of permits, process, and applications are minimal for the opportunity to create vast amounts of power. Rocky Mountain Power is the power provider for the owner's property.

Rocky Mountain Power is very supportive of their net metering program, which allows users to create their own power and feed the power back into the power system. Rocky Mountain Power gives the users credits for power that is created beyond their power usage and the credits can be used for up to one calendar year.

Civil Solutions Group, Inc. is very passionate about renewable engineering and planing. If you are interested in more information about hydroelectric, solar, or wind power design and feasibility please email info@civilsolutionsgroup.net or call at 435.213.3762 for your complimentary preliminary analysis.

Renewable Energy

I recently attended a "renewable energy" seminar, which discussed three particular renewable energy sources, wind, sun, and water. All three of these sources are completely renewable due to the fact that the sun is always providing sunlight, in certain areas the wind blows steadily, and where there is a good source of water it flows continually. All three of these sources will help decrease our individual carbon footprint, if we so choose to adopt the awesome power of these sources.

One of the renewable sources that is near and dear to my heart is hydroelectric energy from water. Typically the thought of hydroelectric power conjures up thoughts of Glen Canyon Dam or Hoover Dam with each dam's awesome ability to produce power. But modern advances in technology along with creative design has created Micro Hydroelectric power generation systems.

Micro Hydroelectric power systems can use as little as 2 feet of head (the elevation difference from one location to another minus loss) and 450 gallons per minute (gpm) to produce electricity. Low head power generation systems are capable of producing up to 1 KW of power at 10 feet of head and 1,000 gpm. This power can be used with off-grid applications where the micro hydroelectric may be one of the only sources of power, or with grid connections where excess power may be "net metered" back into the system.

Many states and the federal government offer incentives to individuals and businesses that invest in renewable energy such as micro hydroelectric power. Information on your individual state can be found at http://www.dsireusa.org/. There are multiple opportunities to invest and create your own renewable energy source. If you are interested in pursuing wind or micro hydroelectric power generation please contact Civil Solutions Group, Inc. at www.civilsolutionsgroup.net or 435.213.3762.

Permeable Concrete Pavement

Recently I attended an American Society of Civil Engineers (http://sections.asce.org/utah/branch.htm) Northern Utah Branch luncheon about permeable concrete. Jonathan Bowers, LEED AP from PSOMAS Engineering (http://www.psomas.com/) was the main presenter and Dr. Steve Burian from the University of Utah also contributed to the presentation. Jonathan Bowers and PSOMAS Engineering has created a permeable concrete mix design that has been used on multiple projects in Utah.

The use of permeable concrete has many sustainable benefits. First the use of permeable concrete decreases the runoff of stormwater events. The porous nature of permeable concrete pavement allows rain events to drain through the pavement instead of running off the pavement to traditional storm water detention/retention systems. This allows project engineers to reduce the size and complexity of on-site stormwater systems, resulting in potential cost savings.

The second benefit of permeable concrete pavement is the ability to recharge the groundwater aquifer. Areas that traditionally had little to no groundwater recharge can find significant recharge benefits with the installation of permeable concrete pavement as the water is allowed to drain into the natural aquifer.

Attendees of the luncheon also had some concerns with the application of permeable concrete. First, is the recharge of groundwater from parking lots potentially contaminating the aquifer? Second, will the permeable concrete pavement maintain the structural integrity through the freeze-thaw cycles that are present in areas such as Utah? Jonathan and Dr. Burian both presented data pertaining to current permeable concrete pavement projects in Utah that have maintained structural integrity through a full year of Utah's climate, showing that it can be sustained through the freeze-thaw cycles.

The presenters expressed the importance of training contractors to understand how to correctly install permeable concrete. Few contractors within Utah understand and have receieved the necessary training to correctly install the product, but the pool of knowledgable contractors is currently growing.

Overall Civil Solutions Group supports the use of permeable concrete pavement in certain applications. The enhanced benefits to the stormwater system and the groundwater aquifer are too great to ignore the possible application of permeable concrete pavement. More information pertaining to permeable concrete pavement can be found in the following article: http://www.cenews.com/article.asp?id=3465.

Sustainability in Civil Engineering

In the Civil Engineering profession sustainability has become a buzz word that at times can carry a negative or positive connotation. But sustainable design will become a major part of our future as the world around us continues to grow and develop. One area of sustainable design that can have a major impact on our immediate environment relates to our water resources. Civil Engineers must think creatively and "outside of the box" when designing and planning our precious water resources. Sustainable water resource design should include emphasis on water conservation, grey water applications, utilizing secondary irrigation sources in lieu of culinary sources, eliminating water waste, aquifer recovery and storage, public outreach efforts, etc.

As engineers we need to be anticipating the future while designing in the present. All of us can have an impact, whether we are employed with public agencies, municipalities or as private consultants. The Utah Division of Water Resources has vast amounts of resources and information for design professionals and the general public pertaining to sustainable water resource design and conservation. I would welcome any ideas or friendly banter concerning the topic of sustainable design, because, "There exist limitless opportunities in every industry. Where there is an open mind, there will always be a frontier." (Charles F. Kettering)