A lot of planning has kept the mammoth Main Beach sewer lift station project on time and within budget to date.
The project included digging a hole wide enough, stable enough and deep enough to safely bury a new sewer lift station. It will replace the aged and stinky facility under the Lifeguard Headquarters on one of the most visible sites in Laguna.
"It is certainly the most prominent project I have been involved with in Laguna, although the Nyes Place rehab in 2005 was more difficult," said Water Quality Director David Shissler. "Even the weather has cooperated on this one."
If all continues to go well, the station is expected to be operational in September, Shissler said.
"It really helped to pre-qualify the contractor," he said. "The superintendent on the site really knows the project like the back of his hand."
J.R. Filanc Construction Co. Inc. was selected as contractor.
Shissler described the Main Beach project as a "thumb puzzle," where one thing has to be moved in order to do another thing.
Eighty truckloads of sticky clay were excavated to make way for the new lift station. The hole is 14 feet below sea level, a rough rectangle of 40-by-60 feet, project director Wade Brown said.
Seventy-six holes on 3-foot centers were dug down at least 29 feet to form the shoring wall around the main hole.
"We had to penetrate bedrock to a certain depth," Shissler said. "The amount of equipment is extraordinary. It is like Tonka toys times 10."
The drilling rig for the holes was transported on a 60-wheel flatbed truck, Shissler said.
He observed that the rig was really big, but was informed that it was actually one of the company's smaller ones.
Boring is underway to allow the old lift station pipes to be connected to the new facility, Brown said.
"The new facility will be five or six feet deeper than the existing lift station," he said.
It will be more or less at the same location as the existing station, which will be demolished and replaced with a prefabricated lift station.
The 65,000-pound station base is currently stored at ACT V, carted there from the Fontana fabricator Old Castle.
It will be lifted onto a flatbed by a huge crane at ACT V for transportation to Main Beach, where another crane will move it on to the beach, probably in late March.
"We have to do a lot of preparation," Shissler said. "We have to anchor the base with a lot of concrete so it won't float."
Once that is completed and piping installed for water, electricity and air ducts, the base will be topped with four sections of the pre-fabricated lift station, which will be stacked one on top of the other.
Testing with recirculated potable water will begin this summer and continue for at least 30 days, Shissler said.
And there's good news for beach hoopsters, Brown said. The half-courts will be resurfaced and should be open by the summer.
By The Numbers
80 truckloads of dirt removed
76 holes, at least 29 feet deep, dug for shoring wall
60-wheel truck transported drilling rig
40-by-60-foot main hole is 14 feet below sea level
65,000-pound base for lift station
4 prefabricated sections make up the lift station
11 months estimated construction time
$4 million budgeted cost