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HYDRA History: Over 30 Years in Commercial Software

The Genesis of Hydra
Allen Peyser got his start in sewers in the mid-1960's as an employee at the City of Seattle Engineering Department. One of his tasks was to perform physical inspections by wading knee deep through miles of 54-inch sewer pipe, protected only by rubber hip boots! (Those were the "good ol' days" before safety regulations...) Pipeline collapses, line blockages, he saw it all -- up close and personal. This intimate knowledge of sewers -- inside and out -- helped him develop his practical approach to computer modeling, which has resulted in the unique technology of the HYDRA® program. He began his first work with computer modeling during this period.

He got serious about computer modeling -- and began to write the HYDRA® program -- a couple of years later as a consultant at CH2M Engineers. He was assigned as project manager for his first comprehensive sewer plan for the City of Aurora, Colorado. The project involved calculating current and future flows for over 2000 existing pipes. Slide rules and tables were the normal approach in those days. Considering how many calculations would be required, he felt this project would be a good application for a computer program, as time-share computers were just becoming available.

Allen Peyser about 1967, as a young engineer working at the City of Seattle Engineering Department, where he first began to write HYDRA®
And Now...

Allen Peyser in 2003, after 35 years experience as a sewer modeling expert. He continues to work on HYDRA® today.
At the time, CH2M had neither the budget nor the desire to develop a computer program to analyze existing sewer systems. But they agreed that if an engineer developed a computer program for the project on his own time and paid for the computer time himself, the program would belong to him. So the HYDRA® program was born using a Teletype with paper tape punch to transmit the source code to a remote mainframe computer.

The project was so sucessful, he began using the HYDRA® program on other projects at CH2M, and word began to spread about the program. Soon he had requests directly from other municipalities and consultants to be able to use it on timeshare, too. Soon, just adding requested features and maintaining the code became a full-time job.

Thus the HYDRA® program was born as a commercial product. One man with innovative ideas, working long hours on his own time in evenings and weekends at his own cost. A true example of entrepreneurial spirit.

The Next Generation
Today, Allen Peyser continues to work on improving the hydraulic analysis engine, developing new hydraulic modeling methods, and discussing sewer modeling projects with customers. His son, Dale Peyser, one of the "New Generation" of programmers, has taken over the graphical user interface and the challenges of newer Windows environments and tools. His daughter, Cindy Safronoff, has taken over business management of the company. In the 21st century, there will continue to be the pioneering improvements to the HYDRA® sewer modeling program that there have been over the last 30 years - a proud tradition for what has turned out to be one of the world's most popular programs for storm, sanitary and combined sewer analysis and design. The release of HYDRA version 7 marks the first major release created completely by this next generation team.

Hydra Timeline

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