Author Archives: greenpare

PARE’s Engineering as it Relates to Local News

Post Written by Allen Orsi

Recent attention to dam safety issues throughout Massachusetts and the rest of New England has generated increased interest in dam removal.  Dam removal not only addresses the issues associated with dam safety through the elimination of the hazard, but also provides significant ecological benefits.  Dam removal restores the ecological systems previously disrupted by the erection of the dam through reestablishing habitat connectivity, improving stream continuity, and increasing habitat diversity.  The restoration of natural ecological systems results in an overall improvement to water quality including increased dissolved oxygen and lower water temperatures.  While we believe that a properly maintained dam actually decreases downstream flooding, the ecological benefits are indisputable.

In 2005, PARE provided emergency response services to the owners of the Whittenton Dam in Taunton, Massachusetts as they responded to unsafe conditions at their dam following unprecedented rainfall in the area.  After years of coordination and planning, completion of the dam removal and stream restoration project is complete, as presented in a recent issue of ecoRI News.  While PARE did not participate in this restoration project, we are actively removing a dam in Lancaster, Massachusetts, as well as assisting other dam owners to pursue funding to facilitate their dam removal projects.

Green Aspects of a Pare Project highlighted on Boston.com

Post Written By:  Allen Orsi

Dam removal provides many ecological benefits, including eliminating barriers to fish, wildlife, and macro invertebrate migration (habitat connectivity); improving surface water quality by reducing water temperatures, increasing dissolved oxygen, and increasing nutrient load;  reducing sediment starved flow; and restoring the surrounding area to a more natural and complex environment.

While PARE’s geotechnical division completes many dam evaluations and designs for repairs to deficient dams, dam repair is not always the best option.  After evaluating the structurally unsafe Curtis Pond Dam in Middleton, MA, a decision was reached with the dam owner to pursue dam removal.  PARE was subcontracted by Kleinfelder and worked closely with the dam owner and other project partners to develop construction documents for removal of the dam and for developing environmental permits to complete the work.

The project included removal of the dam to provide an unrestricted stream channel in the vicinity of the dam, bank restoration including coir logs and live stakings along select sections of the restored stream channel, and preservation of historical mill machinery salvaged from the dam during demolition activities.

Picture of Curtis Pond Dam Before the dam removal:

A picture after the dam removal:

For the full article on Boston.com check out this link: http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/07/22/curtis_pond_dam_removal_may_be_the_first_of_many_in_ipswich_river_watershed/

The ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos within this post were provided courtesy of SumCo Eco-Contracting.

PARE completes a Geothermal Standing Column Test Well

Post Written By:  Josh Rosenberg

Standing column wells draw water directly from wells into the building to heat/cool the ground source heat pumps (GSHP), either indirectly or directly, and then the water is discharged back into the same well. The goal of a GSHP system is to reduce the frequency at which the compressor must be powered on average throughout the year by evening out the extreme seasonal variations in temperature. This is because GSHPs exchange heat with the subsurface soil and rock, which has a relatively steady temperature throughout the year, compared with that of the outside air. Therefore GSHP’s require less energy to heat and cool buildings than conventional air-source heat pumps, creating a more sustainable means of heating and cooling a building.

PARE recently completed installation of an 1100-foot deep geothermal standing column test well within the City of Boston. PARE provided field observation during advancement of the well hole and during the well pump test. After completion of the test well, PARE provided our client with a Geothermal Data Report detailing the geotechnical drilling conditions, well pump test and recharge data, water quality testing, and future steps necessary to advance the project to full scale production. The test well and data report will provide our client with the information necessary to evaluate the hydraulic properties of the bedrock, assess the level of difficulty in installing the full production well field, and assist in evaluating construction budgets. PARE coordinated with our client to strategically place the test well where it can be converted into a full scale production well when the full scale system is implemented, to conserve space, materials and ultimately cost.