Elliott Richter, RLA
Low Impact Design (LID) refers to managing stormwater runoff at the source (on-site) using green infrastructure techniques. Keeping water on-site reduces the need for much larger and more costly management systems. It also helps prevent flooding by reducing the amount of water that enters surface waterways during flash flood events. Conventional stormwater management uses a pipe-and-pond technique which replaces natural systems with concrete, pipes, ponds, and extensive infrastructure. These systems channelize the water and increase its velocity; thereby greatly increasing the risk of erosion. The goal of LID is to replace these pipes and ponds with soft engineering practices that: filter, infiltrate, store, and evaporate the run-off on-site. Incorporating LID early in the planning and design of a project has proven to be much more cost-effective while also providing a community benefit and a much better-looking project. Each of these major components of LID is discussed below. View Full Post
Shawn Massock, RLA
As land planners, 7gen starts every project looking at the opportunities and constraints provided by the land along with the related regulating government authorities’ (RGA’s) codes and ordinances. The land’s terrain plays a major role in the project’s design when these opportunities and constraints are considered along with the RGA’s codes and ordinances. Extreme flat or steep slopes increase the challenge of the design. Relocation of dirt, rock, or other land materials and construction of retaining walls and/or extreme building foundations increase construction costs of development. In today’s environment of limited attainable housing costs, development and building costs must be an important consideration when planning a neighborhood. View Full Post
Elliott Richter, RLA
One of the first steps of every project is analyzing the site’s existing environmental conditions. Some of these conditions are regulated by city, state and/or federal agencies and can potentially kill your project before it ever begins. Too many existing protected or heritage trees may prevent a building from being able to fit on site. Too steep of slopes can also prevent buildings as well as roads from being constructed, or greatly increase the cost to build. Wetlands are an extremely regulated feature and must be protected or mitigated for. Other conditions such as depth to water table, depth to bedrock, soil composition, endangered species, karst features, and floodplain can all decide the fate of your project. View Full Post
James Parker, P.E.
In the field of land development, we typically take abandoned or previously farmed land and develop it into picturesque neighborhoods for families to have beautiful homes. During this process, we utilize many ponds and waterways that are natural habitats for numerous species of animals. Usually, we are prepared to deal with what nature has in store for us, but sometimes we get hit by surprise. View Full Post
Harry B. “Hal” Walker, P.E.
You’ve heard the phrase “If you ain’t wit us, yore agin’ us!” which probably has its roots in the dialog from numerous old western movies or novels. Or perhaps the following meme has a familiar ring, “I’m an Engineer, to save time let’s just assume that I’m never wrong.“ Although I take it as a means to poke fun at ourselves, have you ever met a fellow engineer who believes in that statement? While I personally have not come across an engineer with such a lofty attitude, I have had stories relayed to me by non-engineers over the years of such individuals. View Full Post
Trisha D. Frederick, P.E., MBA, LEEP AP
Need to learn more about Subsurface Utility Engineering, commonly referred to as SUE?
Imagine this. You are the project manager for a roadway project. It was advertised to the public that the roadway would be done in January, and it is now June. Six months behind schedule and the project is not complete. Home and business owners are upset because of the backed up traffic, and everyone is looking to you for an answer. View Full Post
Chris Shannon, P.E., CFM
Division Manager - Geographic Information Systems
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provide the ability to build and maintain an inventory of anything on the earth or any information that is tied to a location. One may ask the question – Why is GIS important? Simply put, because location matters. View Full Post
Corbett Freeman, P.E.
Money for infrastructure always seems to be scarce, but our great “Bayou City” continues to grow and, at the same time, continues to age. Without needs-based programs like ReBuild Houston that prioritize replacement of crumbling infrastructure, a full eighty percent of drainage structures and streets will outlive their useful life in the next 20 years. Nationally, the last increase in the gas tax, which generally pays for our transportation system, was over 20 years ago. That bill, however, was passed to balance the budget, not to pay for new and replacement infrastructure. View Full Post
Jon VanderWilt, P.E.
Why create a MUD? We all know the answer to that question. Property taxes from developed land pays for water, sewer and drainage improvements. Lately, the list has grown to include roads and parks, too.
There is no place in the world I would rather be than Houston, Texas. It is the greatest place in the world to live, work, and raise a family. All of us involved in the business of working with MUDs are the privileged few that have the opportunity and honor, on a daily basis, to create neighborhoods from farmland, pastures, and forests, making it possible for others to live in the greatest place in the world. I thank God every day for this opportunity and enjoy it so much that I can't call it "work." View Full Post
Susan Alford - President of Berg Oliver Associates, Inc.
The first question most folks ask about environmental studies in the due diligence period of a project is...WHY do I need to?
To address WHY is simple: compliance with State and Federal Law. President Nixon signed the Environmental Policy Act of 1969 on January 1, 1970. Subsequently, federal and state regulations to protect natural resources such as wetlands, waters, and threatened species, to protect cultural resources, and to protect human health from hazardous material exposure were enacted. I won’t bore you with all of the acronyms, chapter, verse or title of each Code of Federal Regulations or Texas Administrative Code. View Full Post
Lacey Bodnar, E.I.T., CFM
While detention and retention may sound the same, the terms cannot be used interchangeably. Detention and retention both refer to storing rain water on-site during a storm event, when the risk of flooding is highest. The difference is that when water is detained, it is slowly released into a stream or river and leaves the site. When water is retained, it is not intended to leave the site. Instead, it is infiltrated into the ground or evapo-transpired into the air. View Full Post
Greg Frank, P.E., CFM
"I’m not in a flood plain…or am I?"
Unfortunately this question is way too timely. Many Houstonians may have thought they were not in a floodplain, and yet found their homes underwater this past week. I attend several flood plain related conferences each year and this question is asked by any number of speakers. Each time, only a few of us raise our hands, after all we ARE flood plain managers and flood control engineers, so we should know better, right? But the brutal truth is that we are ALL living in a flood plain of some sort. I like to use the analogy ‘Noah built the ark for a reason… it rained for forty days and forty nights’. View Full Post
- What Is Low Impact Design (LID)?
- Working with Terrain
- Environmental Constraints Aren’t Always Bad
- Working with Nature – Outside of Your Job Description
- Lifelong Learning as An Engineer
- Financial Adulting
- Industry Collaboration
- Leaning In: Women Mentoring Women
- Tips for a Successful Career Fair
- ABC's of Leadership - A Is For Awareness
- Party Like a Professional
- Structures - Part 2
- Being Conscious About Your Social Media Presence
- ITS Equipment is Making the Tollbooth Obsolete
- Subsurface Utility Engineering 101
- Remote Sensing Applications in GIS
- Focusing On Leaders Bridges the Gap to Client Satisfaction
- Time for an Emotional Intelligence Check Up
- Benefits of a Corporate Wellness Program
- Smart Corporate Giving
- Structures Need Rehab - Part 1
- So You Think Your Vote Doesn’t Matter?
- How to Ace Your Interview
- When It Floods In Houston, The Aquifers Are Recharged…Right?
- Municipal Utility Districts (MUD) 101
- Benefits of Successful Team Building
- Environmental Due Diligence
- Detention 101: Detention vs. Retention
- Standing Out and Climbing The Ladder of Success - Young Engineers Series
- The Stereotyping Conundrum
- Do You Live in a Flood Plain?
- The Importance of Getting Involved - Part 2 of our Young Engineers Series
- Too Much of a Good Thing: Nutrient Pollution
- So You’ve Got Your BS In Engineering – Now What’s Next? (Part 1 of our Young Engineers Series)
- Hidden Biases in the Workplace
- Irrigation and Conservation
- Using GIS to Facilitate Development within Floodplain
- Our Future Water: Trends and Challenges