Storm Water Solutions is pleased to introduce its newest editorial advisory board members: Stormwater Equipment Manufacturers Assn. frontmen John Moll of CrystalStream Technologies and Craig Beatty of KriStar Enterprises. In the spirit of a new year and new beginnings, these well known industry advocates shared their storm water predictions for 2010.
Caitlin Cunningham: What was the most significant development in the 2009 storm water industry?
John Moll: The results of the general economic downturn dominated the changes in our markets. Not only did the size of the overall market shrink; the types of projects changed with a move away from commercial developments and toward more governmental and institutional developments.
Craig Beatty: The surge in interest for low-impact development (LID) solutions to storm water management was one of the most defining drivers for our industry this past year. As the regulatory and environmental interests continue grappling to determine what end result will best serve public interests, the demands on storm water industry manufacturing and design professionals to match targets seemingly in perpetual motion have fostered the growth of proven innovative devices and techniques and created new market opportunities for the participants to consider.
Cunningham: How would you describe the general mood as we move into 2010?
Moll: We are upbeat because there is a new emphasis on environmental issues in general, and on water quality in particular. There is a clear movement toward the services our industry is able to provide and increased oversight by the U.S. EPA and state agencies.
Beatty: The best description is one of guarded optimism. With respect to the available opportunities for the storm water industry, the potential market is overwhelming. Generally, most manufacturers have seen significant increases in project inquiries across the country. Hopefully, as America gradually gets back to work in 2010, we will start to see an increase in projects moving off the drawing boards and into construction.
Cunningham: What are your predictions for the coming year?
Moll: First, there are definite stirrings in the private sector. Because we tend to see projects before they are submitted for permitting and become a part of public record, this may portend well for mid-2010 going forward.
Secondly, there is a new awareness that “gray” can be “green.” In LID, land-based best management practices (BMPs) and other public domain solutions are generally favored, but they cannot be subjected to the stresses of dealing with gross pollutants that emanate from intensive commercial uses. Small-footprint manufactured solutions can protect these types of BMPs, and we foresee an increase in our products for sustainable LID projects.
Beatty: I do not anticipate an increase in storm water-related construction projects through the first half of the year over current levels, and then only a gradual strengthening as we close the year. It appears we are at least that far from seeing any significant shift in the private sector funding dilemma that is delaying much of the potential work today, and the decline we have all seen is too large for public sector initiatives to fill.
With respect to the storm water management industry direction, I expect to see an increased dialogue and focus on the true meaning of sustainable BMP solutions.
John Moll is chief executive officer of CrystalStream Technologies. Moll can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]. Craig Beatty is president of KriStar Enterprises Inc. Beatty can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].