Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Community Non-Profit Takes Steps to Produce Power From Waste

Linden Hills, Minneapolis, Minnesota:

In southwest Minneapolis, organizers from Linden Hills Power and Light hope that non-recyclable paper, food scraps and an "anaerobic digester" will add up to electricity for their neighborhood.

Regardless of your position on climate change, what these people are exploring makes perfect sense to me as I'm sure it does to you. Our waste has considerable unused energy potential and Trinity has spent and are spending alot of time and effort learning and developing ways to add value to materials that would otherwise end up in a waste stream. We're speaking with public policy-makers to educate them on these products and possible projects. A huge, virtually untapped, potential for agricultural, business, and community self-reliance lies waiting to be utilized. The bi-product? - a cleaner environment, waste transformed into valuable co-products, reduction of green-house gases, reduction of energy dollars flowing out of Michigan, added jobs, and a model for sustainability that even Bill McKibben could endorse.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pond Number 1

After almost two decades of surveying, I thought that I'd been asked to do the very worst of what the Midwest could throw at me. From clearing fence rows choked with prickly ash and osage orange, to wading hip-deep in a cattail marsh, to out-witting and avoiding biting dogs - the worst I'd been through (or so I thought). Never did I imagine such a task as I was asked to complete in the summer of 2005.

I'd just read something, an article or web page, that discussed the plight of the 'untouchables' or Dalit of India. I thought of their struggle in the stifling heat of the Ganges valley as I felt my own sweat form on the bridge of my nose moments after getting out of the cool interior of my vehicle. The temperature was already at 85 degrees when I got into the office at 7:00 a.m. The sky was clear beyond the pink flames of a brilliant sunrise and the air still and thick with humidity. It was going to be hot. I had scheduled myself indoors for the day to do some paperwork while my partner Vince cleaned up the truck, organized and serviced equipment, and would call it an early day since the temperature was forecasted into the high 90's. Little did I know that the wheels of progress had been turning after I'd left for home the day before. When I got into the office I was asked to come in and look over a bid that we'd given a few days before. We got the job and they wanted it done as soon as possible.

There on the conference table were some old plans, an aerial photo, and a piece of paper with some benchmark information on it. Next to the paper was a few keys on a split-ring and a camera. "Take pictures, this key opens the monitor wells, this one the gate. There is a boat inside the fence next to the pump station. You might want to stop and pick up some rubber gloves...." and the voice kind of trailed into background noise as I measured myself against what was ahead. I was thinking to myself, "A guy does not get licensed and get twenty plus years of experience to be asked to do a job such as this". I'd been around pond number 1. Its the first pond in a series of ponds used to treat sewage. The effluent in pond number 1 is raw sewage and they wanted Vince and I to float it like it was a farm pond! Complete with virus, bacterial, and all manners of pathogens ready to be splashed onto your skin or in your eyes! I was already deciding it was my day to run the instrument while Vince did the float trip when the story of the untouchables haunted my imagination. It was my decision right there that this was just the job that I needed.

I'd be lieing if I said it was a great job. The flies were aweful, I wretched from the stench and filth, and I was happy for the day to come to a close so I could get cleaned up. But as I worked I remembered Christ himself, the maker of that sunrise, touched the untouchable, hung out with the reprobates, and suffered indignities beyond comprehension, ultimately dieing a horrible death on a cross that now, for his sake, is the symbol of peace, love, life and hope for many throughout the world. What could Pond No. 1 offer me but a chance to be truly humbled and become the untouchable for just one day.

Our first Blog post

We just finished reading "Meatball Sundae" by Seth Godin and thought it might be fun and helpful to get a blog going. I thought that this would be a great way to let people know a little about us in an informal way, network with people that may need our services, and provide some transparency into the business that we've dedicated our careers to.First I'd like to start with an introduction. Trinity is located in St. Johns, Michigan. We're right downtown at 107 N Clinton Ave. We've been at that location since 2004. Trinity has been in business since 2003 providing civil engineering and land surveying services to a wide range of clients and projects ranging from mortgage reports to large commercial establishments, houses of worship, and educational facilities. We like to take a project from planning and surveying, through design, permitting, construction and to the ribbon-cutting. We have a wide range of professional experience no matter what your project might need.Currently we are working on a condominium project in Okemos, a Subdivision in Mt. Pleasant, a few boundary surveys, a brand new dairy operation, a municipal sanitary sewer project, three assessor's plats (DeWitt, MI and Williamston, MI), an agricultural waste storage facility in West Branch, MI, and a pre-feasability study on a regional Anaerobic Digester in Montcalm County, Michigan. We enjoy serving Clinton County, Gratiot County, and Montcalm County but our low overhead, leading-edge technology, and efficiency gained from many years in the industry allows us to travel to wherever our services may be requested. We have assisted on projects in Indiana and Illinois and even Jamaica!