Japan earthquake and tsunami disrupts materials production

According to Plastic News's Frank Esposito, we should expect production problems in Japan to drive PVC pricing very high for months.

For more see the article at Plastic News.

When Aging Pipes Means Big Business

Joseph Vellano likes to say sewers are in his blood. They course through his business’s top line, too.

Vellano runs Vellano Bros. Inc., which supplies pipes and valves for water and sewer systems. With those systems aging, Vellano sees opportunity.

Meanwhile, a fourth national supplier moved into the Capital Region market this month—the latest evidence that the Northeast’s rampant water and sewer problems have turned into a big, and unheralded, business.

“By 2020, I’d say 80 percent of upstate systems will be done with their design life. So it’s either pay me now, or pay me later,” said Vellano, third-generation CEO of his family’s business.

He has 105 employees spread over 14 locations in six states, as far south as Alabama and Georgia.

Vellano said he serves 425 municipalities just from Buffalo to Boston. Part of his business is tied to the real estate market. Those sales, for new construction, nose-dived as developers halted new subdivisions, Vellano said. No matter. Crumbling infrastructure in the Northeast helped push revenue to $60 million last year.

Even bigger companies have put their stake in the region.

Environment One Corp. sees greater demand for sewer consulting and products, including pumps that grind waste.

“It’s a trend we want to keep capitalizing on,” said George Vorsheim, spokesman for E/One. The Niskayuna business has 150 employees.

Repairs happen on an emergency basis. Some lines are so fragile, they’re not strong enough to handle new water mains, Vellano said.

“We sell Band-Aids now,” Vellano said.

“No one’s ever heard of us,” he mused later. “But we deal with everyone’s lives all day, every day.”

What Lurks Beneath

A crew for the city of Troy dug a six-foot-deep trench on a recent Saturday morning to reconnect gushing water pipes from 1885.

It’s a scene repeated more than 300 times every year with the city’s aging water and sewer pipes—emblematic of a costly crisis plaguing the Northeast.

Most of the water and sewer systems under our feet blew past retirement age many years ago, but they continue to shoulder more and more demand.

And here’s the kicker: Repairs will cost New Yorkers $63 billion over the next two decades, according to conservative government estimates. The bill for drinking-water work alone is four times the national average.

In a very literal way, this is the story of the trouble that lies beneath. A 21st-century economy is trying to subsist on a ticking time bomb of pipe systems that, in many cases, predate the Civil War.

Aging pipes create environmental issues, too. Six area municipalities spill 1.3 billion gallons of untreated sewage and stormwater into the Hudson River every year, thanks to the antiquated design of their sewer systems.

The cost of those repairs: At least $110 million.

Sewers, admittedly, aren’t sexy. Politicians prefer to cut ribbons at new parks or buildings, with little desire for major work that’s literally out of sight.

Roads and bridges dominate the debate about infrastructure. But for every bridge that needs to be replaced, hundreds of miles of water and sewer pipes are now well past their expiration date.

No wonder water and sewer rates will double or quadruple over the next 20 years, according to a U.S. Conference of Mayors study.

The problem is all too familiar for that crew in Troy, where 20 percent or more of the city’s water leaks out of pipes or is otherwise unaccounted for.

Workers stopped traffic both ways to fix the 126-year-old pipe, collecting eight hours of overtime on that recent Saturday. The broken pipe gushed almost a gallon every two seconds.

“It is perpetual triage,” said Neil Bonesteel, Troy’s water plant operator.

Troy needs to spend $33 million to replace seven miles of century-old pipes connected to its reservoir. It will cost at least $18 million to fix the 48 places where untreated sewage dumps into the Hudson.

Troy is far from alone. Albany also pollutes the Hudson, especially after heavy rains, and the city has had a record 50 breaks this year, just in primary water pipes. In Montgomery County, Amsterdam is eyeing a 17 percent hike in water rates. In New York City, tunnels feeding drinking water to the city are in dire need of repair, and the city has spent $6 billion (and four decades) building a new one.

Joseph Vellano deals with these issues every day. He is the third-generation CEO of Vellano Bros. Inc., a pipe and valve supplier based in Latham. Vellano said a worst-case scenario could be just as crippling to a city as a natural disaster.

“We see little Katrinas every day,” Vellano said. “It’s like fixing Model Ts. So many of these systems are one catastrophic event from there being no water or sewage disposal for days or weeks.”

“All these politicians and municipalities are gambling,” he added. “But I don’t see what they can do. They have no money.”

The state is little help, having just erased a $10 billion deficit last month.

New York’s fund for drinking-water projects has had so little money that 95 percent of work remained unfunded before the federal stimulus chipped in. The modest aid has started to dry up.

“The signals from Washington and Albany are clear: We’re not going to subsidize your systems. You’re on your own,” said Cohoes Mayor John McDonald.

It’s not like municipalities are better off than the state. They’re now paying the highest pension rates in 30 years, and health care costs continue to soar. Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to limit how much they can raise taxes with his tax cap.

“It’s really the worst in an older city, where the infrastructure is extremely old and the tax base continues to erode. The numbers just become astronomical,” said Jeanine Rodgers Caruso, president of Fiscal Advisors & Marketing Inc. Her firm advises local governments from offices in Clifton Park and four other sites.

The water and sewer funds for Cohoes were flush when McDonald took office in 2000. The city cut rates by 25 percent over a few years.

Both funds ran $200,000 deficits as recently as 2009, especially after the cost of environmental regulations kicked in.

“I championed what I thought was the right thing to do for taxpayers. The reality is, it threw our fund out of balance,” McDonald said.

The funds now turn a small surplus, though at least $16 million of water and sewer work awaits. McDonald said he understands why most other politicians don’t focus on water and sewer issues.

“It admittedly took me awhile to get to this point,” he said. “I’ve never seen any state or local official with a ribbon-cutting for a pump station.”

Cohoes is one of six Capital Region municipalities spilling those 1.3 billion gallons of untreated sewage into the Hudson River every year. It represents a fraction of the water passing through this area, but it still means the localities violate federal pollution regulations.

Suburbs have newer, more sophisticated systems that don’t wash untreated sewage into rivers. Separate pipes carry sewage to treatment plants and stormwater to rivers.

But the region’s older cities have combined systems that take everything to the treatment plants. It’s not as if cities are dumping raw sewage into the Hudson at all times. Still, rainstorms often overwhelm the systems, which are set up to dump the sewage-rainwater soup into the Hudson—or else risk creating major backups into homes and businesses.

The river has become much healthier over the past couple of decades as more clean-up efforts took place. Solving the combined sewer overflow issue is one of the final waves of those efforts.

Environmental studies, the first step in trying to address the problem, started six years ago. The Capital District Regional Planning Commission organized the effort.

“We’ve come to realize that we have to turn these rivers around and make them assets,” said Rocco Ferraro, executive director of the commission.

Ferraro’s group has calculated that $110 million of work is needed to fix the problem. Even he isn’t certain yet how the six localities will pay for it.

“There are a lot of questions about affordability. You’re talking about many of the area’s poorest communities, and we are certainly already burdened with property taxes,” Ferraro said.

“Everyone’s trying to stop sprawl and trying to attract people into cities. But at what cost?” he asked. “Are you willing to relocate into a city and pay those sewer and water rates?”

It’s a prevalent question in Troy, where water and sewer rates are among the highest in the region, even though they haven’t changed in three years.

Well-built infrastructure could last up to 125 years, said William Bradley, superintendent of Troy’s water and sewer system. The city’s pipes are at least 30 years beyond that point, he said.

Bradley gave $500 million as a conservative price tag to replace Troy’s 310 miles of water and sewer lines. Spread over a century, that’s $5 million a year—or 10 times the city’s annual pipe repair budget today.

“In this current environment,” Bradley said, “we will never, ever catch up.”

The Business Review

Vellano Bros., Inc. founder passes away at 90

Anthony Vellano, 90, a prominent and successful area businessman and community leader, passed away recently in Costa Rica after a brief illness.

Mr. Vellano, along with with his brothers John and Pat and with the help of their father Paul Vellano founded Vellano Brothers, a still-operating waterworks supply industry leader based in Latham, N.Y. He retired from Vellano Bros. in 1991 and moved to Florida where he started a jewelry business that had five operating outlets around that state.

In 2000 he opened a real estate company specializing in Florida and Costa Rica locations, and moved to Costa Rica to oversee development there, remaining active in that business into his late 80's.

Mr. Vellano, born on July 30, 1921, attended Schenectady's St. Joseph's Academy, joined the Civilian Conservation Corps in the late 1930's and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in December, 1941 shortly after the attack at Pearl Harbor. He served in Naval Aviation at Henderson Field on Guadalcanal and at Munda Airfield in the Solomon and Russell islands as well as during the campaign against the Japanese base at Rabaul in Papua, New Guinea.

Mr. Vellano was also very active in local athletics, both as a participant and a leader. He was a member of the Jersey Aces all-star baseball team of Schenectady in his youth, was president of the Bellevue Pop Warner Football Club ,He also coached teams in the Bellevue Little League, and helped organize the Schenectady Looman Packers Football team.

He was also a member of Operating Engineers Local 106, a life member of Hildebrand-Davis VFW Post 1895 and was founder and president of the Clutchdog Society, a local charitable organization, and was an active member of the National Utility Contractors Association.

Tony's later years were enhanced by the companionship of his two dogs Heidi and Ceasar.

He is survived by his wife, Martha; brother Curtis (Nancy), sons Joseph (Penny), Anthony (Holly), Paul (Joney), nephews John (Lori), Vince (Sydney), a niece, Kristin(Tony), grandchildren Adam, Emily, Mike, Ashley, Angela, Ann Marie, Paul, Joseph and nine great-grandchildren.

Donations can be made to St. Joseph's Church, 600 State Street, Schenectady, N.Y.12305 A private memorial service is planned.

John A. Vellano, Founder, Passes Away

John Vellano, 82, veteran of the Normandy invasion

Date: September 8, 2001 Section: Obituaries
VOORHEESVILLE - World War II veteran John A. Vellano, 82, of Voorheesville and Boca Raton, Fla., died Wednesday at the Inn of Community Hospice.
Mr. Vellano was born and educated in Utica.
He served in the Civilian Conservation Corps for two years in his youth.
He was an Army veteran of World War II, serving as an infantryman with the Third Army. He participated in the invasion of Normandy and was awarded a Bronze Star.
After the war, Mr. Vellano joined his father and brothers to form Vellano Brothers, an underground pipeline installation firm.
The company incorporated in 1956 and 10 years later expanded to include wholesale distribution of underground pipeline products and related materials. The company split to become Anjo Construction Ltd. and A.J. Vel Ltd.
Mr. Vellano was the first president of the Albany chapter of the National Utility Contractors Association. He was a former member of the Troy Moose Lodge and Colonie Elks Lodge.
Survivors include his wife, Martha S. Vellano; two sons, John P. and James A. Vellano, both of Latham; a daughter, Mona Sheldone Dunne of Boise, Idaho; three stepsons, Raymond M. Groat of Daytona Beach, Fla., Gene Groat of Albany and Robert Groat of Rotterdam; two stepdaughters, Gail Pipito of Niskayuna and Dr. Carol Porter-Faber of Montclair, N.J.; a brother, Anthony Vellano of Palm Beach, Fla.; 15 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
A service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday at New Comer-Cannon Family Funeral Home, 343 New Karner Road, Colonie.
Calling hours are 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.
Entombment will be in Memory's Garden in Colonie.
Memorial contributions may be made to the David M. Wright Education Fund, care of Vellano Brothers, 7 Hemlock St., Latham, NY 12110; or the Salvation Army, P.O. Box 1787, Albany, NY 12201-1787.

Introducing the Vellano Corp.

Since our founding after World War II, Vellano Bros., Inc. has strived to adhere to the highest business practices and is proud to be an integral part of the United States water works industry for over sixty-five years.

Vellano Bros., Inc. is a third generation family owned business now poised to begin the process to pass the torch to the fourth generation of the Vellano family. Towards that end, a new corporation has been formed to operate our water works supply business. Effective July 1, 2013, Vellano Bros., Inc. will no longer be functioning as our primary operational corporation. Vellano Bros., Inc. will however continue to honor all of its current obligations to our customers.

Our new corporation, known as The Vellano Corporation, will act as our primary operating company. There will be no change to the current business operations, ownership, officers, locations or employees. The Vellano Corporation will continue to offer the same superior service to its customers while it continues to grow and foster its business relationships throughout the industry.

By now, our credit department has sent a new credit application or municipal account information form to be completed so that we can update our records with your most current information. If you have not already returned these documents, please do so at your earliest possible convenience. This will provide the most seamless transition as we move to the new operating entity. If you have not yet received a new credit application, one may be downloaded from www.vellano.com or by contacting Lori Lake at 800-342-9855. The municipal account information sheet can be obtained by contacting Denise Folino at 800-342-9855.

If you have any questions with the credit application you may also contact Robert F. McCarthy at 518-785-5537. I thank you for your cooperation in this matter and look forward to our continued business relationship.

Very Truly Yours,
Joseph M. Vellano

US Pipe


Much like the Vellano family and The Vellano Corporation, US Pipe has been around for generations, serving customers, the community and the industry. The successful vendor relationship between The Vellano Corporation and US Pipe is due, in part, to the same shared history, depth of industry knowledge and provider of quality products.

U.S. Pipe reports on their website, that United States Cast Iron* Pipe and Foundry Company was originally incorporated in 1899. (The “Cast Iron” was dropped in 1929.) The incorporation consolidated 12 companies located in eight states. At the time of its incorporation, it is estimated that U.S. Pipe produced approximately 75% of the production capacity in the United States. Of the 14 plants that composed the original corporation, two continue in operation today under new names. These plants are U.S. Pipe's Bessemer, AL, and Burlington, NJ facilities. From 1899 to 1921 the nation's population and economy grew rapidly, and so did its demand for pipe. U.S. Pipe realized that only through mass production and mechanization would it be able to meet the ever- increasing demand for pipe.


In 1921, Dimitri Sensaud deLavaud introduced centrifugal casting, a new pipe production process that would revolutionize the industry. That same year, US Pipe purchased deLavaud's rights for the manufacture of cast iron pipe by the centrifugal casting method. DeLavaud's process consisted of introducing molten iron into a rapidly rotating steel mold. The centrifugal force of the rotating mold distributed the molten iron uniformly around the inner surface of the mold, which, upon cooling, resulted in a high-quality pipe. The Company now had the technology to mass produce a superior quality pipe. The North Birmingham Plant was the first of the company's facilities to be equipped for this new process.


Each of the company's original plants manufactured pipe by the pit cast method. With this method, molten iron was poured in vertical molds lined with sand. This method produced satisfactory pipe, but costs were high and production was slow.

Technological Advancement From 1899 to 1921 the nation's population and economy grew rapidly, and so did its demand for pipe. U.S. Pipe realized that only through mass production and mechanization would it be able to meet our nation's ever- increasing demand for pipe.

Due to a growing population west of the Rocky Mountains, the company decided to construct its fifth plant in California. The plant was located a few miles southeast of Oakland in Union City. It began operations in 1951 and produced pipe in sizes 4 inch through 12 inch. Later the capability was expanded to include 16 inch and then 18 inch, 20 inch, and 24 inch pipe.

On April 2, 2012 Mueller Water Products completed the sale of U.S. Pipe and Foundry to USP Holdings, Inc., an affiliate of Wynnchurch Capital, LTD. Today U.S. Pipe is the largest domestic producer of Ductile Iron pipe in sizes 4 inch through 64 inch. U.S. Pipe perfected the production of Ductile Iron pipe, which is superior in strength to cast iron, and was the first in the industry to use Ductile Iron exclusively for all its pressure pipe and fittings. Today, U.S. Pipe recycles waste material (ferrous scrap) into Ductile Iron pipe for use in water and wastewater systems throughout the world, which improves the living conditions for millions of people.

Happy Holidays


Buy USA requirements for State Revolving Loan and Drinking Water State Revolving Loans changing Jan 2015


The EPA has more information regarding the new buy USA requirements for State Revolving Loan and Drinking Water State Revolving Loans…  This requirement does not apply to USDA Rural Development Projects or Federal DOT projects, just EPA-SRF loan projects for each state. All SRF projects designed last year, but bidding this year and all current/ongoing SRF projects ARE grandfathered and will not be required to adhere to the new requirement.

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MUNICIPEX is produced in SDR 9 copper tube sizes (CTS) meaning that it connects to standard compression-joint brass valves and fittings using stainless steel inserts (required) that slide into pipe by hand before pipe is placed into valve or fitting end. MUNICIPEX PROTECT insulated water service line is REHAU MUNICIPEX carrier pipe fitted with a blue, removable closed-cell insulation foam layer to provide thermal insulation, improved frost resistance and protection against moisture.

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Introducing Vellano Shoring and Supply.


The Vellano Corporation is a fourth-generation, family-owned company and proudly embraces ever-changing technology while retaining that "old school" customer service. Vellano is one of the largest U.S. single sources for pipe equipment and supplies for underground water, sewer, drain line and industrial systems. They have a distinguished history in the supply industry by continually providing customers with high-quality products and distinctly-personalized service. This is an exciting new chapter in the company’s history with the grand opening of Vellano Shoring and Supply. Vellano Shoring and Supply was created to better serve customers with any shoring needs and a necessary step in creating that “one-stop shop” as the only shoring company with a waterworks supply house.

Vellano Shoring and Supply features a full line of Efficiency Production’s shoring products including the Build-a-Box Modular Trench Shield System, the versatile and lightweight alternative in trench protection; Steel Trench Shields, standard and advanced Slide Rail Systems, Slide Rail steel component system and A36 DOT Road Plates.

Join us at our newest location, the Riverside, Rhode Island office. (150 Amaral Street, Riverside RI 02915 401-262-5000) At our open house, customers will be able to check out the inventory, have lunch, enter giveaways and meet the surprise, special guest.

For more information, Contact Paul Vellano, Jr., 518-470-6572.

Buffalo Branch


It is an exciting time for the economy and culture of Buffalo. Downtown Buffalo is buzzing with life and new business as Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills’ new owner, Terry Pegula’s HarborCenter hockey-themed complex opens and brings with it more development in the area! Brian and the team in Lancaster have been hard at work and report that the phones are ringing steadily at the Lancaster branch with the cooler weather bringing customers in for all of their seasonal water and municipal needs.

26 Brian Whitford wears quite a few hats for Vellano Corporation but that’s just another day at the office. Brian heads up the Buffalo/Lancaster office and is also the acting Vellano Corporation Western NY Regional Manager, responsible for all Vellano Corporation and Vellano activities in the Lancaster and Rochester branch areas. Brian shares his time between Lancaster and Rochester, heading down to the Rochester branch often, working closely with the newly promoted Branch Manager, Marge Wilson. Brian has two sons, ages 13 and 18. The Oldest is at Villa Maria College in Buffalo.

The Lancaster branch has many more dedicated faces in the building including Outside Municipal Sales Representative, Patrick Cafolla, who started with Vellano in June 2013. Patrick brings 30 yrs. of experience in the municipal, water and sewer industry. Laurie Mislin handled administration and training for the branch. There are also two Inside Sales Representatives, holding down the fort and holding court for the branch, Greg Holmes and Ron Newman. Mark Moore is the Delivery Driver and Yard person. Marcus Anten is the Outside Sales Representative. Marcus also started in June 2013 and rounds out a very dedicated bunch of knowledgeable staff who are standing by to serve customers with their valuable experience, industry knowledge and dedication to getting the job done right, the first time.

26 Ron Newman     26 Greg Holmes

AWWA Boston


Did you stop by the Vellano Companies Booth, If not you missed the Patriots cheerleaders! Catch us next year!

Joe Vellano, New England Patriot


"Hey Kid…."

It’s been an amazing road so far for our very own Joe Vellano as he nears completion of his second season as a New England Patriot. Joe may seem like a Cinderella story and in this case, this story does include “magic”, the magic of hard work and heart. It’s a story about one man who relies on what he learned as a little boy, that hard work as a student of the sport, solid family values, a humble nature and a strength that can persevere above all, to follow a dream.

Nowadays, most news reports you hear from the media on professional players include paychecks or problems. That’s not the case with Joe. Even while following a grueling season schedule, Joe managed not only fit time in for the kids, as in the case of this photo, but on a bi-week traveled home to Colonie, N.Y. to support his alma mater. Joe visited his ‘boys’, the CBA varsity football team, where he gave a pep talk to the football team before the Section II Class AA Super Bowl championship. They went on to win, all the while with Joe cheering in the stands.

"I was in their shoes not too long ago," Vellano, 25, said this past week. "I wasn't the biggest, fastest, strongest – even in high school. I talked about the importance of learning the game, getting better every day. It doesn't matter where you're from, your background. You just don't give up."

CBA coach Joe Burke: "He's got so much on his plate in terms of his own preparation, that he takes time to talk to the team ... "It's real easy sometimes way down the road to remember where you came from. But for him to be thinking about it now, in the short term, it's a tribute to him, the time he gives back to his family and his program." You wonder where time went when athletes were heroes, harken back to the time when commercials with Mean Joe Green and that spirit, that magic that made you truly love the game and its players. We know the magic lives on, in at least once case where we have the privilege to watch first hand.

The Troy Record recently printed an article about our very own New England Patriot, Joe Vellano. Reporter Steve Amedio made the analogy that, “Vellano speaks in a virtual whisper with an economy of words. He is the Derek Jeter of professional football for having the ability to carry on a conversation without saying much about what he does. It’s the same football field job he did when he was a dominant two-way lineman at Christian Brothers Academy, the same job he did so well as an All-American at Maryland where, as a junior, he led the nation in tackles by a defensive lineman… Just on-field actions. So far, those have spoken volumes.” We know the heroes are out there. We know that the kids of today can be the Joe’s of tomorrow, with a little perseverance, a little hope and a little bit of Patriots No. 72 magic.

Way to go kid.

Photo Courtesy of the New England Patriots/David Silverman

John A. Vellano Best Vendor Representative Award

The Vellano Corporation, a leading waterworks and contractor supply company for over 65 years, announces the first annual John A. Vellano Best Vendor Representative Award.

As one of the largest, single U.S. sources for pipe equipment and supplies for underground water, sewer, drain line and industrial systems, The Vellano Corporation has a distinguished history in the industry by continually providing customers with high-quality products and distinctly-personalized service. The Vellano Corporation is a fourth-generation, family-owned company and proudly embraces ever-changing technology while retaining that "old school" customer service.

The Vellano Corporation has always been committed to offering superior customer service using family values and “old-school” customer service in their dealings with customers and vendors alike. We value these traits and wish to acknowledge those who share in our values and work ethic. We have created the John A. Vellano Best Vendor Representative Award as a way to recognize vendors with outstanding, positive contributions.

Vellano Corporation believes in acknowledging the efforts of those who work hard every day and share the same end goal of helping customers solve their problems. The Vellano Corporation values the working relationship, integrity, trust, responsibility, and mutual respect that our first annual recipient, Jim Gilbeault, has shown in all dealings with Vellano Corporation. We appreciate and value Jim Gilbeault’s contributions to our successful partnership. The Best Vendor Representative Award will be presented at the February 2015 sales meeting.

The Vellano Corporation is dedicated to retaining its small-business personality while creating solutions for their customers using the best products and value in the industry. They began as a small contracting business in the 1920’s and have evolved into a recognizable name, employing more than 100 individuals.

For more information, contact The Vellano Corporation at 877-VELLANO.

Buy USA requirements for State Revolving Loan and Drinking Water State Revolving Loans changing Jan 2015
Happy Holidays
Joe Vellano, New England Patriot
US Pipe
Featured Product - Municipex Pipe