Mark Smith Joins HRG’s Water/Wastewater Team in Western PA

Mark SmithHerbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. (HRG) is pleased to announce that Mark Smith has joined our water and wastewater team in Cranberry Township. Smith will serve as a project manager, overseeing the planning, design and construction of water and wastewater infrastructure throughout Western Pennsylvania.

Smith joins HRG after more than 20 years working for Pennsylvania American Water. While there, he oversaw a team of more than 100 people providing water and wastewater service to 80,000 customers in the northwest region of the state. His experience includes operations and maintenance, budgeting, permitting, environmental reporting, and the preparation of bid packages for various capital improvements.

Chad Hanley, HRG’s regional manager of water and wastewater services, says, “Mark has vast experience in the water and wastewater industry at all levels, from field operations to executive management. He combines a deep understanding of our clients’ needs with engineering expertise. He will make a significant contribution to our team.”

Founded in 1962, HRG has grown to be a nationally ranked Top 500 Design Firm, providing civil engineering, surveying and environmental services to public and private sector clients. The 200-person employee-owned firm currently has office locations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. For more information, please visit the website at

WEBINAR: Manage Your Infrastructure Easily and Cost-Effectively

Do you know the location of your infrastructure assets?

Do you know what needs inspected and when?

Do you know which assets are most critical and carry the highest risk to the community if they fail?


The answers to these questions are crucial to protecting the safety of people and property in your community.

You’re responsible for miles of infrastructure, and your job is to make sure it continues to function for the people you serve. Whether it be pipes and inlets, roadways, or bridges, you have to keep them performing at an acceptable level of service, and, more importantly, you must protect local residents and business from the consequences of failure.

This has always been a complex job, but new regulatory requirements, aging infrastructure, and tight municipal budgets make it even harder.

An asset management program can make it easier and more cost-effective, and this webinar will show you how.

Asset management is a proven methodology for determining where to best allocate your infrastructure dollars. It helps you cut through the questions and prioritize exactly what needs repaired or replaced. It can also help you effectively plan and mobilize the money to address those needs.

In this webinar, we’ll discuss:

  • What asset management is and how it works
  • What types of technology is available to assist with asset management and how to determine your particular needs
  • The many benefits of asset management for better targeting O&M dollars; providing justification for rates, fees or budget allocations; addressing government reporting requirements; and communicating with the public.

Howard HodderThe presenter Howard Hodder is our Director of Geomatics. He has worked with dozens of communities to create asset management solutions for water, sewer, stormwater and other infrastructure assets. He has also published several articles on the topic and spoken extensively at industry conferences.

The webinar was produced in partnership with the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) and is eligible for 1 secondary credit to PSATS Municipal Government Academy (PMGA) enrollees.

PSATS members can view the webinar for $20. Non-members can view it for $25.


How One Town Overcame Barriers to Address Aging Infrastructure and Enhance Economic Development

 Middletown Honored for Water and Sewer Improvements

This article was published by Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Association in the August 2017 issue of their magazine, The Authority.

Construction equipment has become a familiar sight to the residents of Middletown Borough in recent years. New businesses are popping up alongside historic buildings in the borough’s downtown business district – thanks, in large part, to a major revitalization effort spearheaded by local government officials.

And it all began by replacing the area’s water and sewer facilities.

The success of Middletown’s revitalization effort illustrates the key role infrastructure plays in building and sustaining great communities. Borough officials and local business leaders wanted to enhance economic development by attracting new businesses to downtown Middletown, but water and sewer problems threatened to kill the success of their efforts before they’d begun. Many communities could’ve seen their dreams derailed by an obstacle like this, but the borough persevered because of strategic planning and the collective effort of a community united behind a common goal. The borough’s story illustrates how communities can overcome barriers and successfully address aging infrastructure in order to enhance economic development.


Aging Infrastructure Presents a Barrier to Development

The Borough of Middletown has the distinction of being the oldest community in Dauphin County. The town was first laid out along the Susquehanna River and Swatara Creek before the Revolutionary War, and brick sewers in the historic downtown area were first installed not long after the Civil War.

Middletown Pre-1900 Sanitary Sewer

Some of Middletown’s water and sewer lines dated back before 1900. 

Unfortunately, the sanitary sewer and water facilities located in the downtown business district were not supporting current demand (and they certainly weren’t adequate to meet the demands of new development). The condition of the assets were a risk to the downtown revitalization efforts. In addition, cross-connections between the sanitary sewer system and the storm sewer system led to surcharging and sanitary sewer back-ups.

These challenges made it hard to keep existing businesses downtown and attract new ones. In addition, the borough was planning a streetscape project that would place numerous aesthetic improvements directly above the aging water and sewer facilities. The community did not want to see their investment in these improvements threatened by excavation to repair the sewer and water facilities soon after construction was complete.


Water and Sewer Improvements Lay the Foundation for Future Development

Borough officials asked Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. to design upgrades to the water and sewer facilities in the heart of its downtown business district (along South Union Street from Spring Street to Ann Street). This project was to be the first phase of its downtown revitalization plan. It included:

  • Replacing deteriorated brick sanitary sewer mains with 1,467 feet of new PVC sanitary sewer main
  • Eliminating hydraulic “bottle-necking” that restricted sewer flows to the Mill Street Interceptor
  • Replacing 7 deteriorated manholes with new precast concrete manholes
  • Replacing 44 sewer laterals
  • Designing and replacing 2,042 feet of water main
  • Replacing 4 hydrants
  • Installing 14 valves to isolate future maintenance work as the community continues to upgrade its water infrastructure and to allow for future fire system services to new businesses

HRG began design work in 2013, and construction was complete in 2014. They accelerated the project schedule to reduce stress to the existing local businesses.   With the risk of failing water and sewer facilities mitigated, Middletown could begin Phase II of its revitalization effort: improving the streetscape (with new decorative paving, curbing, sidewalks, and street trees) and providing traffic calming devices to promote pedestrian access to the businesses.

Middletown New Sanitary Sewer Manhole

New sanitary sewer manhole

New sanitary sewer in downtown Middletown Borough

New sanitary sewer

New water main and valves in downtown Middletown

New water main and valves


The Community Comes Together to Make This Project a Success

Efforts to revitalize the downtown business district had generated excitement in the community. Local leaders, business owners, and residents understood that these infrastructure upgrades were vital to attracting new business to the area, and they embraced the investment this project would require.

The former Middletown Borough Authority, the borough, and the Middletown Borough Industrial and Commercial Development Authority led the revitalization effort and engaged the public throughout the process. They held numerous meetings with the public and with local stakeholders to communicate the vision and direction of the project. The project team worked extensively with the owners of local businesses along South Union Street, soliciting their ideas and accommodating special events to minimize disruption to business activity.

Thanks, in part, to these open lines of communication, the project team was able to maintain water and sewer service to the existing businesses in the area throughout the project (despite having a confined working area due to the presence of numerous other utilities).

The engineers also coordinated extensively with other project partners to ensure a smooth transition from Phase I (water and sewer improvements) to Phase II (streetscape enhancements). For example, they coordinated extensively with the streetscape design team to ensure that the water and sewer improvements would not conflict with proposed streetscape facilities, and they worked closely with the landscape architect to ensure that above-ground features like hydrants and manhole covers were installed at locations that would not impact the streetscape visual design concepts.  This saved the borough money and ensured that above-ground features would not have to be relocated during Phase II to achieve the aesthetic goals of the streetscape enhancements.

Detailed records about the location and depth of sewer laterals by HRG’s resident project representatives during construction of Phase I provided further cost savings. This information was used for deciding the depth of stormwater facilities in Phase II, reducing design fees in that phase.  It also prevented costly change orders that often come from unknown utility locations.


Middletown Streetscape

The Improvements Begin to Generate New Development Interest

It didn’t take long for all of this activity to generate interest from developers and business owners in opening new ventures in the area. While the project was in its construction phase, a developer proposed a 100-room hotel with retail space on the first floor just a block away from downtown. The developer also expressed an interest in working with the team behind the streetscape design to develop other projects in the area.  He specifically mentioned the downtown revitalization efforts as one of the factors in his decision to invest in the area.

Patrick Devlin of the Tattered Flag Brewery and Still Works also mentioned the flurry of activity downtown as a factor in choosing to locate his business in the old Elks Building. The brewery opened in December 2016 and was recently named the New Business of the Year by the Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau.

Business investment like this is expected to continue in Middletown and the surrounding communities. The new sewer infrastructure mitigated a known risk, increased efficiency, and gave the borough additional capacity for the anticipated development.

The water and sewer improvements were completed two weeks ahead of schedule and almost $400,000 under budget. This new infrastructure proved to have a much lower maintenance and operations cost than the aging infrastructure it replaced, and it has drastically reduced infiltration and inflow into the system. During an early phase of design, engineers found and eliminated a cross-connection between the aging sanitary sewer and the borough’s storm sewer system.  By eliminating this cross-connection, they were able to prevent approximately 500,000 gallons of stormwater from entering the sewer system during a typical rain event.  In fact, since the project was completed, the system has not experienced a single sanitary sewer overflow, and no sewer back-ups have been reported along North Union Street. (You can read more about the correction of this cross-connection here.)

Investing in a project of this magnitude is hard for many communities, but Middletown’s story shows it is possible and the benefits are wide-ranging. When well planned and executed, updated infrastructure lowers maintenance and operations costs, enhances the quality of service to a system’s customers, and helps to attract growth and investment in the community.   When citizens and business owners join forces with the local government and think creatively, the seemingly impossible task of upgrading our aging infrastructure while promoting economic development becomes possible!

Josh FoxJosh Fox, P.E., is the regional manager of water and wastewater services in HRG’s Harrisburg office. He is responsible for the completion of studies, designs, and construction contract administration for a wide variety of water and wastewater treatment facilities.  He served as project manager for these water and sewer improvements in Middletown, which were honored by Dauphin County in 2017 with a Premier Project Award.

HRG to Speak and Exhibit at 2017 PMAA Conference

Join us at the Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Association conference September 10 – 13, 2017. This year’s event is being held at the Hershey Lodge, and several HRG team members will be speaking:


Justin MendinskyErin ThreetJustin Mendinsky and Erin Threet will be discussing the Milton Regional Sewer Authority’s unique approach to meeting Chesapeake Bay nutrient reduction goals at its wastewater treatment plant. They’ll also be reviewing the impact of biological nutrient removal (BNR) on nitrogen levels within the Susquehanna River. (Monday September 11)




Tom HolleranTom Holleran will be participating in a panel discussion with representatives from Northern Blair County Regional Sewer Authority; M&T Bank; Link Computer Corporation; and the Fiore, Fedeli, Snyder & Carothers accounting firm. They’ll be discussing the discovery of a felony embezzlement at the Northern Blair County Regional Sewer Authority, specifically describing how the theft was executed.  They’ll also be offering tips authorities can use to protect themselves against embezzlement. (Monday September 11)


Adrienne VicariAdrienne Vicari will be talking about the innovative regional stormwater collaboration Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority is forming with more than 30 municipalities in Northeastern PA. This partnership has garnered praise from DEP secretary Patrick McDonnell and is saving local municipalities millions of dollars in stormwater management costs associated with MS4 compliance. She will be joined at this presentation by Jim Tomaine of the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority and William Finnegan of Pugliese, Finnegan, Shaffer & Ferentino, LLC. (Tuesday September 12)


Chat with Justin, Erin, Tom, and Adrienne at booth #53 and enter our raffle. Ed Ellinger, Jeff Garrigan, and Kiana Tralongo will also be there.

We look forward to seeing you!


How to Choose the Best Method of GIS Data Collection for Water and Sewer Systems

CPWQA Awards HRG Its 2nd Certificate of Appreciation

HRG accepts CPWQA's 2017 Certificate of Appreciation

HRG accepts the Certificate of Appreciation Award from CPWQA. (Left to right) Ron Adams (CPWQA trustee), Erin Threet, Ed Ellinger, Mike Mehaffey (CPWQA president), Staci Hartz, and Justin Mendinsky.


The Central Pennsylvania Water Quality Association (CPWQA) awarded its Certificate of Appreciation to Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. (HRG) at its annual awards meeting on June 16 at Rich Valley Golf Course in Mechanicsburg.

The award recognizes member organizations that provide an exemplary commitment to CPWQA through the time they give for section activities, services they perform for the section, and sponsorships. HRG previously received this honor in 1995 and is only one of two firms to have received the award twice.

Ed Ellinger, HRG’s practice area leader for water and wastewater system engineering, accepted the award alongside HRG engineers, Staci Hartz, Justin Mendinsky, and Erin Threet.

Threet is CPWQA’s first vice president, and Mendinsky is chairman of the webinar committee. HRG has been a member of CPWQA for more than 20 years and has gladly sponsored many of its efforts, including the association newsletter, golf outing, and awards banquet.

“CPWQA plays a vital role in advancing the wastewater industry, and HRG is happy to be able to assist in that effort alongside so many talented and dedicated professionals,” Ellinger said.


Originally founded in 1962, HRG has grown to be a nationally ranked Top 500 Design Firm, providing civil engineering, surveying and environmental services to public and private sector clients. The 200-person employee-owned firm currently has office locations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. For more information, please visit our website at


The Central Pennsylvania Water Quality Association (CPWQA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing knowledge of the design, construction, operation and management of municipal and industrial wastewater treatment facilities.

The CPWQA is affiliated with the state organization: the Pennsylvania Water Environment Association.

HRG Professionals Headlining 9 Presentations at PENNTEC 2017

HRG professionals will be headlining nine presentations at the PENNTEC conference next week. The Pennsylvania Water Environment Association will be hosting this conference June 4 – 7 at the Kalahari Resort & Convention Center in Pocono Manor. 


Matthew Cichy

What to Know Before You Collect Asset Data for GIS (Monday June 5)
Matt Cichy will discuss who can complete the data collection and how it should be done. He will also present the lessons he has learned from many years of experience collecting sanitary and storm sewer system asset data for use in GIS.


Howard Hodder
Web-based Technologies for the Inventory, Operations and Maintenance of your Assets
(Monday June 5)
Howard Hodder will provide an overview of the latest web-based GIS technology (ArcGIS). He’ll also explain how its simplicity enables municipalities large and small to build and maintain robust databases in-house, making asset management a viable solution. His experience assisting Lower Swatara Township Municipal Authority with a successful implementation of the technology will serve as the basis of discussion.


Ben Burns
Big Hollow Diversion Pump Station Expands Capacity and Eliminates Stormwater Issues
(Monday June 5)
Ben Burns will describe the Big Hollow Diversion Pump Station he designed for the University Area Joint Authority. This 18.8 MGD facility provides capacity for the build-out projections presented in the authority’s most recent Act 537 plan.  It also removes a section of interceptor pipe that was installed at ground level and had been causing stormwater to backwater.  The pump station incorporates a diversion pumping system that uses a second forcemain to pump high flows around hydraulically limited segments of a gravity interceptor.


Justin Mendinsky
Belt Dryer Performance Evaluation: Is the Bang Worth the Buck?
(Monday June 5)
Justin Mendinsky will discuss his experience working with the Milton Regional Sewer Authority on the installation of a new belt dryer designed to produce Class A biosolids from the processing of dewatered, waste-activated and waste anaerobic sludge. The belt dryer will operate using direct exhaust from two 1-Megawatt generators as the primary source of drying.  Justin’s presentation will detail the dryer’s performance, the cost of operation, and the process variability (as impacted by sludge feedstock type, dewatering system equipment, and generator operations).


Adrienne M. Vicari
Selling, Leasing or Retaining Public Utility Systems
(Tuesday June 6)
Adrienne Vicari will offer insight into the strategies municipalities are using to ensure their utility systems are financially secure and operating efficiently.  She will specifically discuss the leasing or sale of public utilities to private companies or other public systems and will explain the ways the valuation process is impacted by Act 12 of 2016.  She and her co-presenters will present the pros and cons of using the new approach outlined in Act 12 versus the traditional approach for utility valuation.  They will also discuss the importance of conducting a cost-benefit analysis to determine if selling or leasing a public utility is the best option for the community.  Finally, she and her co-presenters will highlight best practices for ensuring financial and operational stability.  Funding agency representatives will discuss funding sources for capital improvements.


Replacing Failing OLDS with Low-Pressure Sewer Collection Facilities and a New Treatment Facility
(Tuesday June 6)
Jennifer Miller and Mark Deimler (of Strasburg Township) will discuss Strasburg’s experience installing a new low-pressure sewage collection system and a recirculating sand filter treatment facility. Their presentation will focus on public outreach and construction sequencing as crucial factors in the project’s success.


Chad Hanley
The Long-Road to Planning and Implementing a New Municipal Sanitary Sewage System in Greene Township
(Tuesday June 6)
Chad Hanley will discuss the challenges of implementing a new sewage collection system in rural areas. He will describe how public outreach efforts helped Greene Township overcome resistance from homeowners to the cost of connecting to the system.  He will also discuss how intergovernmental cooperation and an investigation of alternative technologies helped to lower project costs.

Cranberry Highlands Golf Course: A Look Back at 15 Years of Reuse (Wednesday June 7)
Chad Hanley will discuss the successes and lessons learned from using wastewater effluent for irrigation at the Cranberry Highlands Golf Course for the past 15 years.  This highly successful project serves as a model example of the benefits of water reuse. 


Josh Fox
Regional Wastewater Effluent Solutions for Irrigation Issues
(Wednesday June 7)
Josh Fox will be discussing the ramifications of using wastewater effluent for golf course irrigation.  Fox evaluated the use of wastewater effluent for irrigation at the Sunset Golf Course in Dauphin County, and his presentation will describe the obstacles he overcame to create a successful project.  It will also discuss the potential implications this project holds for the community in terms of water conservation and improved water quality.


We look forwarding to seeing you there!


Carlisle Borough Uses Infiltration/Inflow Data to Devise Long-Term Plan for Infrastructure Repair and Replacement

Like many municipalities, Carlisle Borough is grappling with the challenge of aging infrastructure. Its sewer system features infrastructure that is more than 100 years old.  Since replacing it all at once is not possible from a financial perspective, borough officials needed to a way to narrow down exactly where investment should occur.  Which projects would provide the most value to Carlisle residents and business owners?  Infiltration and inflow data provided the answer.

Why infiltration and inflow data?

In the words of Carlisle Borough staff, “Inflow and infiltration is really just a symptom of failing infrastructure.” By figuring out where extraneous flow is entering the system, we get a hint as to where cracks or defects in the infrastructure may be located.

Josh Fox recently authored an article in the April/May/June issue of Keystone Water Quality Manager magazine on this project with the borough’s director of public works Mark Malarich, P.E.

The article discusses how HRG’s engineers evaluated infiltration and inflow data to determine what infrastructure needed repairs or replacement the most. First, the borough implemented a 16-week metering program to identify dry weather flow for comparison to wet weather data for the borough’s 21 sewer basins.

We then used the data to calculate peaking factor and total infiltration volume for each of the basins and ranked the basins accordingly. After analyzing the data, we determined that some basins had high peaking factors but infiltration dropped off quickly once the wet weather dissipated (like Area 1C in the figure below).  Other basins saw high infiltration volumes for several days after a wet weather event (like area 4 in the figure below).  This suggested that a high groundwater table was contributing a sustained flow via defects in the manholes, sewer mains and sewer laterals.  Therefore, total infiltration volume provided the best data for assessing the overall condition of the infrastructure.



Taking our analysis one step further, we prioritized the basins with the highest total infiltration volume for further investigation and compared the total volume of infiltration/inflow in a basin to its size. By calculating the total infiltration per foot of pipe, we were able to more accurately estimate the severity of damage in each basin.  (For instance, two basins may have had similarly high total infiltration volumes, but one was significantly smaller than the other.  This suggests a higher severity of defects in the smaller basin for that much water to infiltrate in a smaller space, during the same time period, after the same wet weather event.)

Prioritized Basins by each factor

Using this data as a guide, HRG worked with the borough to devise a 20-year capital improvement plan for addressing the highest priority needs in the system.  HRG also helped the borough create a financial strategy for addressing these needs.

Rehabilitation of the highest priority basin is being completed in the spring of 2017 and is expected to come in almost $1 million under budget.

Read more about this project in the April/May/June 2017 issue of Keystone Water Quality Manager magazine.

HRG has written a great deal of advice on asset management and long-term infrastructure planning for water and wastewater systems. Read similar articles below:



Josh Fox, P.E.Josh Fox, is the regional manager of water and wastewater system services in HRG’s Harrisburg office.  He has extensive experience in the planning and design of wastewater collection and conveyance facilities, water supply and distribution systems, and stormwater facilities.


Premier Projects: Dauphin County Honors Middletown Sewer & Cal Ripken Field

Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. (HRG) is pleased to announce that two of our projects have been selected by Dauphin County in its annual Premier Projects award program.

Since its inception five years ago, the Dauphin County Premier Projects program has honored 23 projects that promote smart growth and spark revitalization throughout the region.  Among this year’s six honorees, HRG provided engineering services for two of them: the replacement of sanitary sewer facilities in Middletown’s downtown business district and the construction of a state-of-the-art youth baseball field at the Harrisburg Boys and Girls Club.


Middletown Sewer Replacement

Premier Project 2017: Middletown Sewer Replacement

(Left to right) County Commissioners Mike Pries and George Hartwick,III, HRG Staff Professional Staci Hartz, Middletown Public Works Superintendant Ken Klinepeter, and Tri-County Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Tim Reardon


The replacement of Middletown’s sanitary sewer lines played a crucial role in promoting renewed economic development along South Union Street, which is the heart of the borough’s business district.  Some of the sewer mains in this area were close to 100 years old and had deteriorated enough that community and business leaders feared a collapse could endanger streetscape improvements in the area.  This project successfully replaced aging infrastructure and eliminated a cross-connection between the borough’s sanitary and stormwater systems that had caused several sewage overflows near Hoffer Park as well as sanitary sewer back-ups in businesses along South Union Street. Without excess water entering the system during wet weather events, the sewer authority has additional capacity available and is able to extend service to nearby growing communities in Londonderry Township and Lower Swatara Township (which, in turn, can promote further economic development in those areas, as well.)


Cal Ripken Senior Youth Development Park

Premier Project; Cal Ripken Field

(Left to right) County Commissioners Mike Pries and George Hartwick,III, HRG Eastern Region Vice President Andrew Kenworthy, Harrisburg Boys and Girls Club Director of Development Blake Lynch, and Tri-County Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Tim Reardon

The Cal Ripken Senior Youth Development Park at the Harrisburg Boys and Girls Club provides recreation and character development opportunities for disadvantaged youth.  The park was funded through the Cal Ripken Senior Foundation, which supports the development of baseball and softball programs in distressed communities.  This initial donation inspired other businesses and community organizations to pledge their own financial support for the athletic facility and its programs, which include Little League, a summer soccer program, speed and agility camps, flag football, and lacrosse.

The facility is located in an economically disadvantaged section of the city and is the only active athletic field available for youth in that area.  As such, it offers kids a safe space for recreation to keep kids busy and engaged in healthy pursuits.



Originally founded in 1962, Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. (HRG) has grown to be a nationally ranked Top 500 Design Firm, providing civil engineering, surveying and environmental services to public and private sector clients. The 200-person employee-owned firm currently has office locations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. For more information, please visit the website at