May Newsletter Print

President's Report



In case you missed it, we had a great tour of the SR99 Tunnel last month! We also invited the Portland ASPE Chapter to join us. Andrew Flanagan who is also president of the Portland ASPE Chapter and Tom Puhl with the BrayleyGray Portland Office, came up to Seattle to join us. Thanks for your support guys!


We started off with a preliminary talk in a conference room with our tour guide, Scott Vanantwerp. We were shown a drawing of a section through the tunnel, which revealed the mechanical and electrical spaces all around the roadways in the tunnel. There is even a utility vehicle access at the bottom of the tunnel underneath the main vehicle access roadways. In all the mechanical and electrical spaces, the curvature of the round tunnel was evident. The tunnel at its deepest point is about 180 feet below grade! At the deepest point there is a large drainage reservoir for pumping out rainwater, ground water and any sprinkler discharge that may end up in the tunnel. There were some massive sprinkler deluge valves which served the tunnel. There is also a public pedestrian egress walkway on the west side of the tunnel between the utility spaces, directing the public out of the tunnel, should there be an emergency that occurs in the tunnel that requires evacuation.  The east side of the tunnel is an emergency ventilation air plenum. The most significant problem they are having is extremely high air pressurization in the operation building. This has been going on since they opened the tunnel. One of the lessons learned from this tunnel project was that everything needs vibration isolation.

Next month we will be back at Pyramid Alehouse for our last meeting of the fiscal year. Then we will break for summer and resume our meetings in September. In July we will have our annual Golf Tournament. Same place as last year! It should be a good one again this year.


There was an article in the local newspaper around the end of April, where a West Seattle homeowner couple was shocked by a $25,787 water bill. The normal bill was around $110 every two months for this house. Apparently, there was a leak between the water meter and the house which went undetected. If someone could see water gushing out of the ground, then it could be repaired right away. No such luck. As it turns out, the water utility company, Seattle Public Utility, has a policy in place for such occurrences, and forgave them 100% of the sewer bill and 50% of the water bill. The water bill was reduced to $3500. Then they got another break from SPU, since their case became a “high profile” case, no doubt due to the impending front page article in the Seattle Times, SPU would cover 100% of the water bill. The homeowners were still responsible for repair of the leak which could be considerable. The problem is that the home was built in the 50s and the developer wanted to save some money and used a meter that was down the street and then across the street. What is this homeowner supposed to do to repair the leak? He is going to dig up a public street and repair the leak? Is his wife going to hold up flags and direct traffic? Are they supposed to hire a plumbing outfit and pay them $40,000 for the repair? This happens a lot around here. Developers saving money, and then sticking it to the homeowner to maintain the line from the meter to their house! A friend of mine in Kirkland has his water line run under a neighbor’s driveway. Every few years, he must to repair the line due to leaks. SPU should really make it a policy that all water meters should be located on or adjacent to the property that it serves. If the water meter is not close to the property it serves, then SPU should correct the situation at their cost. All new construction should follow this policy.


Frank van der Harst

Seattle ASPE President



Back to top


Back to top


Back to top

Legislative Report

May VP Tech Article

How exciting is it to get to see behind the scenes of such an amazing piece of infrastructure with the SR-99 Tunnel tour. Thanks to all for attending as well as Ann Napier for working with her partners and WSDOT to set this opportunity up for our chapter members. I was bummed to miss out but happy that another Chapter member was able to take my spot.


Announcements & Reminders

As Board members, our first priority is to support our members and provide the learning and development opportunities to help them grow professionally. I am already scheduling for the 2019-2020 meetings so if you have any topics to recommend or a great speaker that visited your office and you want to see present to the group, please let me know! I will be sending out a questionnaire out soon to gather ideas for next year.


We are still planning a joint event with the Seattle ASHRAE chapter targeting sometime in 2019. We are proposing either a joint general meeting or perhaps a Young Engineers event. If you have any suggestions or are part of both Chapters and want to be involved in the planning, please let me know.


A reminder for the fall, the 2019 ASPE Technical Symposium will be held in Pittsburgh, PA from October 24th – 27th. The presentations have been vetted and selected and the ASPE website will be updated shortly to include much more information on the show and technical sessions/speakers.


Upcoming Technical Meetings





Dry and Pre-Action Sprinkler Systems

Gregg Vlahakis (Viking Corp)


I am firming up dates for the 2019-2020 technical sessions along with the technical content for the sessions so please reach out if you’ve had a great Lunch & Learn and want to share with the rest of the Chapter. 




One of ASPE’s Committees is the “Professional Engineer Working Group” and they are working to “…develop a program for the placement of a plumbing OPTION within the framework of the Mechanical Engineering Principles and Practice (MEPP) examination as developed by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) and administered by the various state boards of registration/licensure.”


As a way of enticing our local PE’s to contribute to this effort for WA State, ASPE Seattle will be offering a one-time opportunity for our PE members to get involved and get a free lunch at our May meeting! That’s right, if you write a letter of support using ASPE’s templates and guidelines, the Seattle Chapter Board will buy your lunch for our final monthly meeting of 2019. I will be sending out a targeted message to our PE’s soon so watch your inboxes!

You can find more information here:


Jonathan Franzese P.E. PEng CPD

VP Technical

Back to top

T&S Brass

Back to top

Cole Industrial, Inc.

Back to top

Technical Report


ASHRAE published a new guideline for increasing energy efficiency in historic buildings while minimizing the disturbance of the building’s historic character and significantly historic characteristics and materials.

ASHRAE Guideline 34-2019, Energy Guideline for Historic Buildings, provides comprehensive and detailed descriptions of the processes and procedures for the retrofitting of historic buildings to achieve greater measured efficiency. The guideline is particularly aimed at providing guidance for ‘listed’ historic buildings; i.e., those formally designated or eligible to be designated as historically significant by a governing body.

Guideline 34 provides a step-by-step procedure for sensitive energy upgrading, beginning with forming the project team and gathering building and energy use histories, to instituting energy efficiency measures (EEM). Building envelope improvements, environmental control strategies, energy system analysis, HVAC selection and lighting design considerations are all addressed in the guideline. All recommendations are made in consideration of preserving the integrity of the historically valuable building character, materials and associated artifacts.


New construction starts in March advanced 16% from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $809.2 billion, according to Dodge Data & Analytics. The substantial gain followed a lackluster performance during the first two months of 2019, as total construction starts in March were able to climb back to a level slightly above the average monthly pace during 2018. The nonbuilding construction sector, comprised of public works and electric utilities/gas plants, jumped 40% in March from a weak February, lifted by the start of a $4.3 billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Cameron LA.

Nonresidential building increased 24% in March, aided by groundbreaking for several large projects. These included the $1.6 billion Toyota-Mazda automotive manufacturing facility in Huntsville AL, a $1.1 billion hotel and theater redevelopment in New York NY, and the $850 million renovation of the KeyArena in Seattle WA.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public input on the development of an action plan to accelerate the application of water reuse as a safe, reliable, and sustainable way to meet the country's current and future water demands.

"To meet the country's most pressing water resources challenges, EPA recognizes the need for coordinated federal leadership," said David Ross, U.S. EPA's assistant administrator for the Office of Water. "Working with our federal partners, we are looking to tap the expertise of our nation's farmers, utilities, industry, NGOs, scientists, and others to craft a Water Reuse Action Plan that helps our country better prepare for current and future water challenges and meet the water needs of generations to come."

To facilitate public input on the Water Reuse Action Plan, EPA released a Discussion Framework for Development of a Draft Water Reuse Action Plan (Discussion Framework) which provides helpful background, context, and details on considerations the Water Reuse Action Plan could address. EPA invites ideas and input on all aspects of water reuse, including but not limited to:

  • Specific actions that can be taken now and in the future by federal agencies, states, tribes, local governments, water utilities, industry, agriculture, and others;
  • Key relevant sources of information, such as literature, about water reuse, not already identified in the Discussion Framework;
  • Examples of water reuse, both past and future, which demonstrate opportunities and barriers;
  • Concepts for applying water reuse strategies within integrated water resources management planning; and,
  • Ways water reuse can improve water resiliency, security and sustainability through a more diverse water portfolio.

EPA will accept public input for the draft Water Reuse Action Plan through July 1, 2019, online via using Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2019-0174. After consideration of the input received, EPA will release a draft Water Reuse Action Plan for public comment in conjunction with the 2019 WateReuse Symposium in San Diego, Calif.

Read more:


The ASSE International Scald Awareness Task Group is now accepting applications as it reforms to develop a new white paper concerning recommended installation practices for residential tankless/on-demand water heaters to reduce the danger of scalds.

This new white paper will be a companion piece to the group's latest white paper, Recommended Installation Practices for Residential Storage Type Water Heaters to Reduce the Danger of Scalds. The task group has also published four previous publications: Guidelines for Temperature Control Devices in Domestic Hot Water Systems, Adjustment of Automatic Compensating Valves to Prevent Potential Scald Hazards, Understanding Potential Water Heater Scald Hazards, and Scald Hazards Associated with Low-Flow Showerheads.

Michael Curtright, CPD, LEED AP, Vice-President, Legislative


Back to top

VP Membership Report

The weather continues to get better every day.  Time to dust off the golf clubs and get your game in shape for our golf tournament coming up in a couple of months.


Speaking of golf, registration is open for our annual ASPE golf tournament.  We are playing at Willows Run again this year on Friday, July 26th.  There will be a shotgun start at 8 am.  Get your foursomes together and sign up on the website.  We are looking for hole sponsors as well.  Registration for hole sponsors can be done on the website as well.  We really appreciate the support of our vendors.  We couldn’t pull the tournament off without you.  I’m looking forward to another great day of golf.

While I wasn’t able to attend last month’s SR-99 tunnel tour, I heard it went real well.  We had two full tour groups of 30 for this field trip.  I think we’re going to try to do something like that again next year.  If you have any suggestions for a tour we could do as a group, please let Jon Franzese, our VP Technical, know so we can try to make it happen.


Brent Johnson, with Arup, is the latest member of the Seattle chapter.  Please make it a point to introduce yourselves to Brent when you see him at one of our meetings or functions.


The following Seattle chapter members are celebrating anniversaries with ASPE this month:


·         Noel Burbridge                   1 year

·         Peter Hague                       3 years

·         Ann Napier                         1 year

·         Steve Reigh                        3 years

·         Joseph Seufert                   9 years

·         Emily Strobridge                 4 years

·         Larry Swartz                       8 years

·         Beth West                           7 years


Congratulations to each of you.


If you’re not already a member of the Seattle chapter, please consider joining.  This is a great venue to network with other engineers and vendors.


Gary Fox – VP Membership

Seattle ASPE

Back to top

Columbia Hydronics

Back to top

JR Smith

Back to top