Latest News

UNH Engineering Researchers Publish Studies on Forever Chemicals

Date: June 9, 2021

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have conducted two of the first studies in New England to collectively show that PFAS end up in the environment differently after being processed through wastewater treatment facilities—making it more challenging to set acceptable screening levels, reports the NH Business Review. The researchers looked at the journey of 24 different PFAS through six New Hampshire wastewater treatment facilities.

The researchers found that short-chain PFAS ended up in effluent, while long-chain PFAS were more abundant in the sludge due to their higher affinity toward solids. They also found roughly 10% of the PFAS present in Great Bay could be traced back to the wastewater facilities. The second study found that 29 of the 39 biosolids reviewed in sludge waste had PFAS levels that exceeded screening levels set by the Maine DEP.

“State agencies across New England are all considering regulating PFAS in wastewater biosolids,” said an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at UNH, “but there is still more we need to know about how the treatment of wastewater sludge influences these forever chemicals.”


Renewable Natural Gas Facility Is a New Hampshire First

Date: June 9, 2021

Construction of a renewable natural gas processing facility is underway in Bethlehem—a first of its kind project in the state, according to Vermont Biz. Casella Waste Systems Inc., in partnership with Rudarpa Inc., broke ground on the facility on May 19 at its North Country Environmental Services disposal facility. The facility will capture the landfill gas, which is currently being flared, and separate it into marketable gases. Emphasis will be on methane and carbon dioxide. Once processed, the renewable natural gas will be transported by truck for injection into pipelines owned by Liberty Utilities. Converting the landfill gas into a transportation fuel will reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by about 78,000 tons, equivalent to taking more than 15,000 passenger cars off the road.

The number of RNG projects in the US increased by 42% from early 2019 through 2020, reports Natural Gas Intelligence. There are currently 157 RNG projects in operation in the US with 76 projects under construction and 79 in development. “I can tell you that we have identified 43,000 sites in the US and Canada where organic waste is aggregated today,” RNG Coalition CFO David Cox said. “So when we’re talking about around 300 RNG projects, we are just scratching the surface of potential.”

NHSPE Awards North Country Teacher for STEM Excellence

Date: May 14, 2021

Sandy Fitzmorris, technology teacher at the Milan Village School, was selected as the winner of the 2021 Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) award by the New Hampshire Society of Professional Engineers. The Milan resident works with the Lego League of the North Country and coordinates the After School STEM program with the White Mountain Science initiative, reports the Berlin Sun. “Sandy is a great representative of the North Country. She is truly the heart of STEM education and this award is well deserved,” said School Administrative Unit 20 Superintendent David Backler.


Water Treatment Facility Cleans Up PFAS

Date: May 14, 2021

A $13 million water treatment facility that will clean up contaminated water at Pease International Tradeport has been completed, according to the Union Leader. Portsmouth leaders, Air Force officials, and New Hampshire’s congressional delegation celebrated the plant’s completion, marking it as a major milestone in addressing PFAS in water at Pease and in other parts of the state and the country. The contamination at Pease, the article says, was linked to firefighting foam from the former US Air Force base. Seven years ago, Portsmouth’s deputy director of public works was notified by the state for the first time that the Haven Well, one of the wells serving the Pease drinking water system, had tested above the preliminary health advisory limit for PFAS.

Old Bridge Finds New Purpose in Keene

Date: April 21, 2021

To expand the local rail trails, the city of Keene has decided to buy a 1962 bridge from Londonderry, reports the Sentinel. The 216-foot Prowse bridge was removed from its original location to allow for highway widening, but due to its historical significance, NHDOT required efforts to preserve the bridge. Ultimately, NHDOT accepted Keene’s proposal to reconstruct the bridge over Route 101 as part of the city’s planned Transportation Heritage Trail. The steel rigid-frame structure with five parallel and nearly identical frames, according to the article, “reflects the post-World War II initiative for highway bridge designers to produce connections through welding rather than riveting technology.”


Buzz Builds Over Whitewater Park

Date: April 21, 2021

Construction of a 13-acre whitewater park billed as New England’s first, is scheduled to begin in July, reports the Boston Globe. The Mill City Park at Franklin Falls, where visitors can whitewater raft, surf, bike, and camp, plans to open in September. The free park is funded by $2.5 million in grant money and private donations. “People were a little bit nervous to embrace it in the beginning,” the city manager said. “Our last mills — we’re a mill town — closed in the early 70s and there’s been no real movement since then to reinvent ourselves.”

The project’s master plan was created by Resilience Planning & Design of Plymouth.

NHSPE Member Helps Manchester’s Millyard Prep for Makeover

Date: March 12, 2021

Matt Low, P.E.

Longtime NHSPE member Matt Low, P.E., was recently featured in an Ink Link article about Manchester’s plans to redesign the area around the famous Mill Girl statue in the city’s millyard. Low, senior vice president at Hoyle, Tanner & Associates, worked with architects from Lavallee Brensinger and others on a proposed redesign of the area that would relocate the statue, build an ADA-compliant ramp, install colored light fixtures in a new set of stairs, and expand a seating area. Low said, “we really wanted to make it a destination rather than just a conveyance.” Final designs could be completed this spring, with construction starting in the summer or fall.


Tiny House Designed for Regular-Size Engineering Students, Ecologists

Date: March 12, 2021

Six Dartmouth engineering students are finishing work on an ultra-sustainable, tiny research station on wheels for ecologists working in a 27,000-acre township close to the Canadian border, reports the Dartmouth. When the station isn’t being used by ecologists in the winter, engineering students will use it as a living lab to perform experiments and test structural engineering theories.

The idea came from Vicki May, a professor at the Thayer School of Engineering. “I’ve always believed in experiential learning,” May said. “If you’re going to be an engineer, you might as well be an engineer and do the whole process, as opposed to learning different little pieces.”


Paul Schmidt Named Engineer of the Year

Date: February 16, 2021

Paul Schmidt, P.E., F.NSPE, vice-president and principal of CMA Engineers, Inc. of Portsmouth has been selected by a jury of his peers from New Hampshire’s engineering societies as the 2021 New Hampshire Engineer of the Year. The New Hampshire Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE-NH) nominated Paul based on his record of professional accomplishments, service to his profession, record of contributions to his community, and dedication to his family. Paul is an environmental engineer, managing water, wastewater and solid waste projects.

Paul has been an active member of the New Hampshire engineering community for over 25 years and is a previous NH Young Engineer of the Year Award recipient and Fellow of the National Society of Professional Engineers. He received a BSCE from Clarkson University and an MS in Environmental Engineering from the University of Massachusetts. He is a licensed professional engineer in New Hampshire and Maine.

Paul provides project development for CMA Engineers, Inc., managing high-level projects and mentoring younger staff. In addition to significant project work state-wide, Paul managed the implementation of an innovative solid waste/wastewater project in Berlin that was selected as the NH Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award in 2014. The project was described as “the essence of good engineering” by the president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, as the project was accorded one of two annual national project awards by ASCE.

Paul masterfully balances his drive and passion for engineering while giving back to his profession and community. He has been actively involved in multiple New Hampshire engineering organizations including the New Hampshire Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE-NH) where he has held national and state positions and the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) – Northern New England, where he currently serves as Treasurer.

Paul and his wife Cathy reside in Stratham, NH with their daughter, Andrea and son, Adam. They are active in their community and volunteer their time to a number of local, state, and national charities.

COVID-19 concerns have delayed the award presentation. Paul will be officially honored at the 2022 Engineers Week Awards Banquet & Exhibition.

New Hampshire’s engineering societies also named Harrison Roakes, P.E., as the 2021 Young Engineer of the Year. Harrison is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire environmental engineering program (’12, ’14G) and joined Sanborn Head in 2014. Over the past six years, he has steadily advanced in his career and is currently a project manager responsible for numerous projects for private and public-sector clients. He was nominated for the award by the American Council of Engineering Companies of New Hampshire.

Within the local environmental engineering community, Harrison is well-respected and was the recipient of the Environmental Business Council of New England’s Ascending Leader award in 2019. In addition, he has been instrumental in building Sanborn Head’s visibility and reputation within the environmental profession nationwide by becoming one of the firm’s leading experts in per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) fate and transport, among other emerging topics.


Hampton Beach Seeks Expert Input On Coastal Resilience Master Plan

Date: February 16, 2021

As Hampton Beach officials work on a new town master plan, they are turning to climate change scientists for help with coastal resilience, reports New Hampshire Public Radio. The village is experiencing more frequent low-level flooding on the streets, and scientists say it will get worse in the coming years. A 2019 state report estimated that sea levels off New Hampshire could rise a foot or more in the next thirty years, even with action on climate change.


Opinion: NH Needs the R&D Tax Credit

Date: February 16, 2021

A bill to roll back the state’s R&D tax credit would be a blow to New Hampshire’s manufacturing sector, says the past chair of the Business and Industry Association. Val Zanchuk’s commentary in NH Business Review explains that use of the tax credit has grown every year since it began in 2008. “Some legislators are opposed to targeted tax credits. I disagree,” writes Zanchuk. “Promoting manufacturing by investing in the state R&D tax credit program encourages new products and innovations, job growth (and job protection), and helps boost New Hampshire’s economy in ways no other sector can match.”


Granite State Job Opportunity

Date: February 16, 2021

Civil Site Project Manager
Greenman-Pedersen, Inc.

See other engineering job opportunities on the NSPE Job Board.

Londonderry Takes Action on Water Contamination

Date: January 27, 2021

The town of Londonderry is forming a task force to respond to the problem of drinking water contaminated by PFAF, reports the Eagle Tribune. The task force will partner with New Hampshire's Department of Environmental Services. Residents have spoken out about their water concerns and the potential dangers, but the town council chairman was unsatisfied with the state’s response. The task force will three residents who have occupations or training in the environmental or chemical engineering, environmental sciences, toxicology or hydrogeology, or similar, and three at-large resident members, preferably with backgrounds in engineering, science, or public health.


Keene Begins Pursuit of All-Renewable Energy

Date: January 27, 2021

The Keene City Council has committed to achieving 100% renewable energy in the coming decades, according to the Keene Sentinel. A committee began working on the plan in 2019, after the city council set goals of using renewables to generate all electricity used in the city by 2030, and switching transportation and heating and cooling systems to renewable power by 2050. “The plan combines several broad approaches, including reducing energy demand, generating more clean energy locally and meeting additional demand by buying energy from renewable sources on the grid,” the article says. “Under each, it identifies a range of specific actions the city could take.”

UNH Joins Manufacturing Cybersecurity Group

Date: December 14, 2020

The University of New Hampshire has joined a public-private partnership aimed at improving cybersecurity in manufacturing, according to the Union Leader. The Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute is led by the University of Texas at San Antonio and is a five-year cooperative agreement with the US Department of Energy. The institute, known as CyManII (pronounced sī-man-ē), will focus on three priorities where collaborative R&D can help US manufacturers: securing automation, securing the supply chain network, and building a national program for education and workforce development.


Wind Farm Illustrates Tension Over Renewables

Date: December 14, 2020

A commercial-scale wind farm on a ridgeline in Antrim continues to generate tensions nearly a year after it began operating, reports Energy News. Opponents say the nine wind turbines are noisy and ruin the area’s natural beauty; proponents believe they are an acceptable tradeoff to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. The Antrim Wind Energy project is the state’s fourth largest. The town receives an annual $324,000 payment in lieu of taxes.

Skilled Workforce Critical for New Hampshire Manufacturing

Date: November 18, 2020

Building a skilled workforce for advanced manufacturing opportunities in New Hampshire is crucial, considering that manufacturing accounts for one of every eight jobs in the state, reports the Union Leader. At the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute in Manchester, efforts are underway to manufacture human tissue and whole organs. Founded by inventor Dean Kamen, ARMI has more than 150 partners, with more than $300 million in government and private investment committed. On a recent ARMI webinar, a former director of regenerative medicine research at the Texas Heart Institute said, “My world view is that if we’re going to build a truly competitive workforce for tomorrow, we have to meet people where they are, and during my 20 years in this field, what I’ve learned is that people learn what interests them, they learn what excites them and they learn 24/7/365, so we have to meet people where they are.”


NH Shows Strength in Science, Tech

Date: November 18, 2020

Once again, a California think tank has listed New Hampshire as one of the most innovative states in the US, reports NH Business Review. The Granite State moved up two spots from 2018, to No. 7, in the Milken Institute’s State Technology and Science Index. The ranking provides a benchmark for evaluating the knowledge economies of all 50 US states. The index compares each state’s capacity for achieving prosperity through scientific discovery and technological innovation. According to the article, New Hampshire performed well in technology and science workforce metric, which measures intensity of computer and information science experts, engineers and life and physical scientists in the overall workforce.


Article Infrastructure History: Can Concord’s Gasholder Be Saved?

Date: October 28, 2020

The historic round brick gasholder in south Concord faces demolition, but hope remains for its preservation, reports the Concord Monitor. The structure, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1888 to store gas made from coal brought to the site in rail cars. The gas was used for lighting and heat downtown Concord before natural gas arrived in 1952. City council is re-examining the issue to determine if the gasholder can be saved. The article quotes a city council member: “We are seeking another engineering review of the building using an engineer who specializes in historic buildings. Modern engineering firms … who are not familiar with older buildings, they tend not to attribute any value to some of the older architectural techniques.”


Major Solar Project Moves Ahead

Date: October 28, 2020

State regulators have approved a utility-scale solar project for the first time, according to New Hampshire Public Radio. The 30-megawatt array will cover about 100 acres of private land in the town of Fitzwilliam. The developer, Florida-based NextEra, is aiming to complete the project by the end of 2021. Energy from the array will “will feed into the New England-wide power grid, but its emissions benefits will count toward Southern New England’s climate change goals, under a tristate effort to fund renewable energy development, NHPR reports.


We Want to Hear from You!

Date: October 28, 2020

Do you know of engineering news in New Hampshire that would be great for this newsletter? Maybe it’s a project you or your firm is working on, or perhaps you read some interesting engineering news in your local newspaper. Or maybe you know of a fellow PE or student who deserves a little recognition. If so, we want to hear from you. Email your ideas to pemagazine@nspe.org.

Milford Teacher Honored for STEM Excellence in Teaching

The New Hampshire Society of Professional Engineers has joined forces with the NH Joint Committee of Engineering Societies and the University of New Hampshire to recognize deserving teachers at the elementary, middle, and high school levels who are promoting STEM curriculum in the classroom.

This year marked the 14th consecutive year of this exciting program, and we have had the pleasure of honoring many outstanding teachers throughout New Hampshire. These great teachers are the motivators and educators for our next generations of engineers, inventors, mathematicians, and scientists.

Mr. Frank Xydias

This year’s winner, from the high school level, was Mr. Frank Xydias, of the Milford Applied Technology Center in Milford. Mr. Xydias received a plaque honoring his achievement along with a stipend check. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, we were not able to honor Mr. Xydias at a formal ceremony prior to the end of the school year. We extend our extreme appreciation to Frank and to the work he does with youth in the Milford area.

Submitted by Robert Rotier, NHSPE Teachers Awards Chair, rdmrotier@gmail.com.

Learn more about the awards and view winners.


2019 NSPE-NH John Alger Memorial Scholarship Winner Announced

Jared Fortier

NSPE-NH is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2019 NSPE-NH John Alger Memorial Scholarship is Jared Fortier of Newbury, NH. Jared is currently attending the University of New Hampshire in Durham majoring in Computer Engineering and expects to graduate in May 2023. Jared plans to get a job here in New Hampshire as a computer hardware engineer once he earns his degree. At UNH, Jared is involved with the UNH Hamel Scholars Program and the UNH Honors Program.

Thank you to all that donate to the scholarship fund to make this program possible.

DONATE HERE.


New Hampshire Society Celebrates STEM Teachers

Robert Rotier (left) presents Robert Lalancette, a teacher at Nashua North High School, with a STEM Excellence in Teaching Award in 2018.

ROBERT ROTIER (LEFT) PRESENTS ROBERT LALANCETTE, A TEACHER AT NASHUA NORTH HIGH SCHOOL, WITH A STEM EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING AWARD IN 2018.

Elementary school teacher Suzanne Schedin created an Innovation Lab, a MakerSpace full of supplies and activities that any group in the school can use for STEM activities. High school teacher Robert Lalancette developed a Marine Robotics program, in which students build remotely operated vehicles and learn ocean engineering, marine biology, computer engineering, and manufacturing.

These are just a couple examples of the activities and individuals who have garnered STEM Excellence in Teaching Awards over the last 13 years. The awards are given to elementary, middle, and high school teachers by the New Hampshire Society of Professional Engineers in collaboration with the Joint Committee of New Hampshire Engineering Societies and other partners, such as the state licensing board.

According to Matthew Low, P.E., an NSPE member who oversaw the awards from 2010–2017, they began as a way to recognize educators who were “energizing and inspiring the potential engineers of tomorrow.” The New Hampshire Society knew from NSPE and others that students decide in the middle school years whether they may pursue a technical path. Says Low, “We wanted to recognize the teachers at all levels who were helping to keep scientific or engineering fields as options for students as long as possible.”

Nominated teachers are evaluated on their creativity, innovation, integration of programs, and learning effectiveness. Nominations may be made by parent teacher organizations, fellow teachers, school administrators, or others. The winners receive about $250.

According to Robert Rotier, a retired chemical engineer and teacher who has chaired the awards committee for the last two years, a growing number of nominations are in the technology and engineering areas. More schools are building engineering programs into curricula, he says.

Key to winning the awards is what he calls “STEM leadership.” Are the teachers getting grants, modifying the curriculum, “changing the world of how kids learn”?

Learn more about the awards and view winners.


February 19, 2020 SAVE THE DATE - eWeek Banquet

National Engineers Week (E-Week) is celebrated around the country every year in February to commemorate the birth of engineering, beginning with the first US engineer and President, George Washington. This year our Annual Awards Banquet will be held at the Grappone Conference Center – 70 Constitution Avenue in Concord, NH. On behalf of the New Hampshire Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE-NH) and the New Hampshire Joint Engineering Societies, we invite you to join us for casual evening with friends and colleagues to honor scholarship recipients, Engineer of the Year and Young Engineer of the Year.


Now accepting applications for the NSPE-NH State Scholarship

Application deadline is April 30. To read more, go to our Scholarship page.