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  • July 27, 2018 12:36 PM | Anonymous


    Irrigation System Renovation Training

    Thursday, September 6th - 8 am - 4 pm

    Rain Date: Friday, September 7th, 8 am - 4 pm

    Location: 69 Geraldine Road, Cotuit, MA

    Cost: $119 per company representative

    Click here for more information

    Irrigation Installation Training with Chris Pine

    Wednesday, September 12th

    (Rain Date is Thursday, September 13th)

    Location: 570 Lowell Street, Peabody, MA

    Cost: $119 per person (lunch included)

    Click here for more information

  • July 23, 2018 12:28 PM | Anonymous

    July 12, 2018

    The high level of legislative activity continues and today the Senate is debating an Environmental Bond bill (S.2591) and close to 300 amendments have been filed.  The majority of these seek funding for local projects but there were a few policy issues as well.  The bill has already been through the House so we expect this will join a growing number of conference committees that the Legislature hopes to resolve before the close of session on July 31, 2018.  Nothing we need to take action on but wanted to send around just so you are aware of what’s happening – list below and text attached.

    A#                 Title                                                Sponsor
    129    Commission to Protect Pollinators    Lewis
    176    High Efficiency Irrigation System - Gannon Golf Course    Crighton
    183    Pesticide Enforcement                             Gobi
    211    Pollinator Protection                             Eldridge
    274    Trees in the City                                  Collins

    We will keep you informed of the outcome of these amendments and next steps for this bill.

    DEP Stakeholder Meeting
    We just received word from the DEP that they are scheduling the next stakeholder meeting for Tuesday, September 11, 2018 at 10AM at their office at downtown crossing (One Winter Street, Boston).  We should regroup on this after July 31st to make sure we have done what they asked us to do.


  • June 29, 2018 12:06 PM | Anonymous

    Below please find a brief update of recent activity at the State House and insight into what it all means from the Green Industry Alliance/BCB Government Relations.

    Legislative Environment
    The Legislature will cease formal sessions for the 2017-2018 term at midnight (or around there) on Tuesday, July 31, 2018.  After this date, the House and Senate will continue to meet twice each week for informal sessions until the newly and re-elected legislators are sworn-in on the first Wednesday of January 2019.  During these sessions, only matters deemed non-controversial can advance and any single member may object to any matter, blocking it form moving forward.  So, anything that will be debated or that requires a roll call vote must be done prior to midnight on July 31st.

    With the deadline looming, the Legislature has kicked into high gear and the House and Senate have passed several matters that are now being negotiated in conference committee, including: the FY19 budget, short-term rentals (AirBnB), data breach, red flag/ERPO (gun ownership), veteran benefits, health care cost containment and civics education.  The next tier of issues includes another package on opioid abuse prevention and treatment, wage theft, raising the age to purchase tobacco and clean energy.  The hundreds of smaller issues still pending can fight to move ahead but not if there is even a moderate amount of disagreement.

    Plenty of votes here once the branches reach agreement and enough things to tout on the campaign trail from leadership’s perspective, so while the Senate may continue to pass a lot of crazy proposals, the House isn’t likely to budge and move off their list of priority issues.

    Click here for a legislative tracking report is attached for your information – lots of issues included to give context.

    Grand Bargain Passes
    Three ballot questions got rolled into one bill that was engrossed and enacted by the Legislature last week and Governor Baker is expected to sign the bill into law before July 2nd.  The package includes provisions to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour over the next 5 years while reducing the time-and-a-half premium Sunday pay over the same period, establishing a permanent sales tax holiday, and establishing a new paid family and medical leave program.  Proponents of the sales tax reduction and the paid leave questions have agreed to pull their questions but the Raise Up coalition is still discussing its plans on minimum wage and could still submit their signatures and appear on the November ballot.  That will, of course, carry a significant amount of political grief form the Legislature, but this group was very upset about the reduction on premium Sunday pay and they could go forward despite the recent actions.

    These two links below are documents that provide further details on the changes.

    Proposed Ballot Initiatives

    2018 Ballot Compromise Legislation


    GIA Priorities
    Proponents of legislation to restrict the use and require additional notifications related to the use of neonicotinoid-based pesticides (H.4041) continue to push aggressively for the advancement of the bill that remains pending before the House Committee on Ways and Means.  They have held events in and around the statehouse over the past few weeks and have activated their grassroots efforts – pushing information about retailers like Costco and Kroger that are taking steps on their own to limit the sale and use of these products.  And, of course they have a blog that shows some “studies” that paint a troubling picture about MA hives.  The Vice Chair of the Committee, Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington)  has been a strong advocate internally, pushing back against this legislation and given the timing, we are fialry well positioned but funny things can happen during these closing weeks of the session.  If you have a moment, please check to see if you State Representative is on the HWM Committee https://malegislature.gov/Committees/Detail/H34 and if you see them listed, send them a quick note expressing your concerns with this bill and suggesting it might be preferable to have DAR conduct an analysis before passing legislation.  If your Rep is not on the Committee, please send emails to the Chair and Vice Chair – emails available using same link.

  • June 26, 2018 12:06 PM | Anonymous

    “So What’s The Deal With WiFi Controllers?”

    Remotely accessible, or as many today call “wifi” controllers, are the buzz of the industry.  Never has there been such a quick change to our control industry and at least initially, is being driven by the demand of end users of irrigation controllers.  Let’s look at some of the myths, facts, challenges and realities of this trend.

    All of these controllers need “wifi”.  This is not true.  The vast majority of all of the irrigation controllers that are out there are for residential systems and most of the accessible residential controllers tend use wifi to access the controller, either directly through a receiver that is integrated into the controller or through a module that is plugged into the controller.  There are many reasons why this might be the best method of communication for that application. Other types of communication include cellular, which basically uses a sim card inserted in the controller or module for communication, a hard wired / ethernet type connection (which is rare and usually only an option on older traditional central control systems).  Another option is a bridge type communication technology that will have a transmitter / receiver that plugs into the router and a similar device that plugs into the controller and uses some other method to send info between those 2 points, possibly some type of RF, or Bluetooth or other format.  There are advantages and disadvantages of all of these types of communication technologies, but the important thing to understand is there are alternatives to making communication happen remotely and it doesn’t necessarily require there to be wifi available at the irrigation controller.

    The end user wants these controllers.  This is true, and interestingly, even though it may not seem apparent to us, the end user or site manager usually has a reason why they want the access to the controller.  They may want this this technology to be able to micromanage the irrigation schedule even though we know, the most efficient irrigation usually occurs when irrigation controllers are allowed to water only when needed based on their information from sensors about the weather or the amount of moisture that is present in the soil. Yes, the end user may not really “need” to control these things from their phones, but it may mean that they don’t have to meet a contractor (and miss work) to service the system, or that the system will notify the contactor of a problem before it shows itself in the landscape or if they have flow sensing, the system can react to a leak and notify the service provider or they may be able to realize huge water savings with the controller receiving weather input from a weather station nearby.  In most markets, the residential and commercial end users and site managers have been very vocal and clear in requesting these types of controllers. Also interesting is that especially with a lot of the residential wifi enabled controllers, many of the manufacturers that developed these products had not been involved in our industry before.  This has been changing quickly but it is important for the contractor to understand and and accept this reality as they make decisions on which products to use and how they will work in their businesses.

    “I will just hang the controller and let the end user deal with it from there.”  Initially, many contractors were installing these products and leaving it up to the end user to take it from there.  Sometimes, it worked out just fine, but many times when there were problems (and many times they were communication problems), if the contractor walked away, the end user would find a contractor that was capable of servicing these types of products.  In fact, many contractors are taking advantage of training opportunities on this technology from manufacturers, industry associations and providers of professional irrigation training in our industry to quickly get up to speed.

    There is no benefit to the contractor.  The general perception for most contractors is that this is something the end user wants to be able to turn their irrigation systems on with their phones and there is no real benefit for the contractor.  There are actually a whole bunch of benefits to the contractor and their business, such as:

    • Profitable upgrades and system renovations.
    • Seasonal agreements to monitor and inspect systems.
    • Cost reductions from avoiding “truck rolls” or running trucks to sites when you could do whatever adjustments or monitoring remotely.
    • Heck, your cell phone may now be a remote control for every controller.
    • Additional revenue from realizing needed repairs and from the “maintenance mindset” these types of programs create.
    • Additional “bonding” to end user and system for more loyalty and protection of the service account as an asset for the contractor.

    As time goes on, the contractor will realize that this technology will absolutely turn out to be a game changer for their businesses and will only find more and more ways to benefit from these types of products.  The technology is totally new for us and there are many of us who came into this industry with our shovels and wrenches that have had to learn many new skills in dealing with the new equipment we are using.  Also, the speed that these changes have hit the industry have caught many off guard and scrambling to adapt, but we are seeing many forward- thinking contractors embrace this technology and also embrace what this can mean for how their business operates, its profitability and its value.

    Chris Pine, CLWM, CID, CIC, CLIA, CIT, MCLP is a principal of www.BluGreenSolutions.com ,  a manufacturers’ rep group and www.IrriTechTraining.com , a professional online and in-person training resource for the irrigation industry.

  • May 25, 2018 3:11 PM | Anonymous
    We would like to ask for your help by sending a letter of your support regarding Bill S.413, An Act Sustainable Water Conservation Standards. Below is a link to a template that you can use to send the letter to your local legislator.

    Click here for sample letter

    If you do not know who your local legislator is you can search by clicking on this link  https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator

  • May 07, 2018 12:14 PM | Anonymous

    The IANE Legislative Committee thought this might be of interest to our members.  This information was sent to us by the Massachusetts Water Works Association.

    MassDEP updates Guidance documents:

    Model Outdoor Water Use Bylaws: MassDEP will be updating the 2009 model outdoor bylaw with two new examples. These will be posted to DEP's next week, but are also attached for your convenience:

    • The "basic" version includes the elements that a town needs in order to comply with the outdoor water use requirements in a Water Management Permit.

    Click here to view document

    •  The version "with drought and private well options" includes language that towns can choose to incorporate into their outdoor water use by-law if they want the ability to regulate outdoor water use from private wells, or if they want to clearly specify a means to increase outdoor water use restrictions during times of drought.

    Click here to view document



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