Managing Water

Emco Waterworks
Written by Leon Bracey

With more than 40 locations across Canada, Emco Waterworks is the nation’s largest waterworks distributor. The company carries an exhaustive list of pipe, valves and fitting product lines and has become the go-to supplier for a range of specialized waterworks management projects.
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The business has enjoyed substantial growth in recent years, but the company is still committed to maintaining a personal relationship with every customer. “Emco Waterworks offers the power of dealing with a national company while still retaining the feel of dealing with a small, privately held company,” the company website states. “With a network of over 50 profit centres spread across Canada, the local managers of these profit centres are empowered to act like owners to partner with vendors of their choice to offer their customers the best solution for their local markets. At the same time, by leveraging our purchasing power and centralizing transactions, we can operate more efficiently than our smaller regional competitors.”

People make the difference, and Emco is committed to recruiting “highly motivated, intelligent and entrepreneurial minded people who are excited about the prospect of building a business within the exciting, and ever expanding, waterworks wholesale distribution market,” according to the company website. Emco rewards success and helps determined, talented people advance if they are willing to make the effort. The company’s Manager Development Program (MDP) trains employees over a three to four year period, arming them with the knowledge and experience they need to become a Profit Center Manager upon graduation. “At Emco, it’s not about your degree but rather your enthusiasm and your eagerness to put your hand up and get involved,” the company website explains. “Our Manager Development Program will bring out your entrepreneurial spirit in just three to four years.”

Water Management Solutions
Emco’s knowledgeable workforce delivers a variety of Water Management Solutions. “Our products provide unique and simple solutions to old problems,” explains the company website. To deliver the best solution for the job, the team works closely with customers – from municipalities, developers, and contractors, to engineers, and consultants – from the earliest concept studies and design phase all the way through to completion.

Erosion and sediment control is one area in which Emco offers a water management solution. Rapid urban growth can strain the current storm water infrastructure and construction sites often have large, exposed surfaces vulnerable to erosion, making an effective solution a priority for both municipalities and contractors. Without intervention, sediment will become suspended in runoff, overloading natural drainage systems or carrying pollutants into surrounding bodies of water. Emco’s environmental protection products are specially engineered to lower the negative impacts of these large, sediment filled flows.

Rainwater is a valuable resource, and Emco’s rainwater harvesting solution allows water to be collected and reused. The solution involves a collection system, storage tank, and pump system, as well as an optional pollutant removal method. These systems can be particularly valuable to a project seeking LEED certification, and the company has experience with large-scale industrial and commercial projects that need to lessen their environmental impact.

Emco’s Rain Tank storm water management solution takes care of storm water runoff, lowering the amount of pollutants flowing into surface waters and reducing the burden placed on existing storm water systems. Because the Rain Tank is underground, it does not take up valuable real estate, allowing the ground above it to be used for a practical purpose, such as a parking lot. And, unlike open retention ponds, the Emco Rain Tank System does not attract mosquitoes, require frequent maintenance, or create potential liability issues.

Properly managing the flow created by heavy rains or snowmelt is essential. Uncontrolled flows can overload drainage systems, flood infrastructure, and overwhelm wastewater treatment centers, which can lead to reduced treatment efficiency. Emco offers several products that can control excessive flow at its point of origin for a simple and effective solution.

Irrigation is another Emco specialty. The company acquired Van-Kel Irrigation in 2006, and then bought the residential and commercial irrigation company Oak Creek Golf & Turf Inc. the following year. These acquisitions gave Emco the ability to create a network of branches throughout Western Canada to service the Res-Com Irrigation contractor market.

Waste water treatment plants, sewage lagoons, aquaculture operations, ports, harbours, lakes, ponds – virtually any body of water where dissolved oxygen levels are low – may require hi-efficiency aeration. Emco is the exclusive provider of DO2E’s floating aerators mixers, and “EMCO and DO2E are at the forefront of new water treatment technologies using their exclusive ‘Venturi Air Manifold’ technology or VAM!” says its website. These VAM aerators can slash power consumption by as much as 80 percent and “are simply the most efficient aerators on the market today,” according to Emco’s website.

In addition, the construction, landscaping, forestry, and oil and gas industries can all benefit from Emco’s geosynthetic solutions, since they minimize the use of non-renewable resources and often lower project costs.

Emco distributes a range of products with specialty linings and coatings, which are supplied by Fast Fabricators Inc. To create a glass lining, a special process is used to form a permanent bond with the metal surface. Once bonded, the pipe surface is remarkably smooth, has a hardness of five to six on the Mohs scale, and is resistant to heat, thermal shock, and a large pH range. Glass-lined pipe is ideal for transferring fluids containing solids or chemicals that are likely to adhere to a metal surface. One of the most common uses for glass-lined pipe is in sewage treatment plants, where the buildup of struvite and vivianite can pose a problem within scum and sludge lines.

Ceramic-Epoxy lined pipes are also used to transfer fluids in the sewage and wastewater industry. The lining, which makes these pipes resistant to hydrocarbons, corrosive soils, chemicals, and saltwater, is applied as a dry powder that melts and cures to become an insulating corrosion barrier.

Emco’s solutions are used in a wide variety of projects. One recent success involved the construction of Oxford Business Park in Calgary, where the storm water management component of the project presented a substantial challenge. A large portion of the 600-acre business park had to be paved, creating a significant water runoff issue. If a site is left undeveloped, water spreads across the ground evenly and is able to drain through the soil naturally. But, when the soil is covered in concrete and pavement, the storm water can no longer soak through the earth and must be redirected into the local storm water system using catch basins and pipes.

With such a big area being paved, the storm water run-off from the business park had the potential to overwhelm Calgary’s system. Savvy to the risk, the City of Calgary insisted that 75 percent of annual rainfall had to be retained on site and allowed to flow back into the earth, instead of the local storm water system. Emco met the challenge by supplying the Stormtech system, which allowed contractor Blue-Con Excavating and engineering firm Idea Group to meet Calgary’s strict requirements.

With a range of high quality, specially engineered products – and a resume that includes participation in a long list of successful projects – Emco has earned its place as one of Canada’s top waterworks solution suppliers.

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