Learn from others' mistakes
Arizona publishes a newsletter like the one Alfred R. Pagan, P.E., L.S., described in his April column. The violations noted without a fine are most interesting. Contrary to Pagan's assumption, these violations may not be "minor," but rather a single incident, or an anomaly.
Arizona uses registrant volunteers in the investigative process, and I have participated on a number of these. In two cases, I could see how my current office practices could put me in the same place as the engineer being investigated. (This fact didn't change my opinion regarding a violation.)
I support the disciplinary function of the registration board completely and applaud the fulfillment of that primary function. I believe that the profession would be served well by using the violation information for education, since experience is the greatest learning tool. In the case of bad experiences, it is better to glean from someone else's than to have your own.
David M. Monihan, Jr., P.E., R.L.S.
Engineers are on the bench
In regard to Pagan's May column, he is correct that engineers do a poor job in promoting what we do and the issues that surround engineering. Many people believe that non-engineers can manage public works-related issues and projects better than engineers and that engineer expertise can be hired. It is sad that, as a profession, we have let others believe that engineering management can be accomplished better by non-engineers.
Other areas have slipped out of the engineering world, including code writing and building code enforcement, which now are done mostly by non-engineers. Code enforcers in my city are all tradesman who have worked their way up. These folks are reviewing and commenting on stamped engineering designs and inspecting plans in the field. From a constructability standpoint, [they] have invaluable experience, but not in reviewing design and interpreting code issues.
The real culprit
I read with great interest the "Manhole Makeover" article in the May 2004 issue and was delighted that microbiologically induced corrosion (MIC) was identified as "the most common corrosion in municipal sewerage." To this day—60 years after MIC corrosion was identified and complete explanations were published—many municipalities still think that they have a "gas problem" or an "H2S problem," when in reality they have a MIC problem. We applaud your publication for this clarifying article.
However, I was disappointed at the brief, generic mention of antibacterial additives, which, as the article states, have proven to "prevent the growth of bacteria" with "corresponding lower costs." Adding an antibacterial admixture, such as ConmicShield®, to a coating or to a concrete mix for a new manhole or pipe has proven to be effective and cost efficient for thousands of manhole rehabilitation projects all over the world for over 10 years.
Signal Mountain, Tenn.