MSTB Experiencing Major Sewage Leaks

Fences have already been put into place in front of the Multipurpose Science and Technology Building (MSTB), where sewage construction will result in the closure of a portion of Parking Lot 12B. Additionally, the westbound lane of East Peltason Drive will be blocked off from Los Trancos Drive to Circle View from Nov. 23 to Dec. 12, Both the parking lot and the road reopen at that time.
This construction is prompted by rapid growth in the University Hills area, where residential sewage feeds into the campus sewage line and is eventually pumped to a treatment plant on University Drive.
The project is a preemptive measure to avoid sewage problems as the campus continues to expand.
‘It’s to help balance the flow in sewer pipes so that they don’t have overflows, backups and become deficient,’ said Fred Bockmiller, principal engineer at UC Irvine’s Facilities Management.
‘Because of campus growth, that particular sewer line is at capacity,’ said Don Gaw, the department’s manager. ‘So this is diverting some of the flow out of University Hills to another sewer line.’
Most of Lot 12B will remain open as usual, with the exception of the row of stalls directly in front of MSTB. These stalls will be closed as a construction crew unearths sewage pipes 14 feet underground.
The closure of these stalls is not expected to displace enough cars to fill the lot past its capacity.
‘At this time of year, our parking utilization surveys show that there are adequate parking stalls available in the nearby lots … to accommodate those displaced due to the construction,’ said Ron Fleming, associate director at Parking and Transportation Services.
The project is expected to cost approximately $200,000. This funding generally comes from various sources such as the state and departmental funding at UCI.
The contracting company in charge of this project is Albert W. Davies Inc., which is based in Rancho Cucamonga. The contractor is not expected to employ any more than 20 construction workers for this project. The Facilities Management has three licensed inspectors that have already begun the inspection process.
A study conducted by the Facilities Management a few years ago found that the expanding population at UCI will eventually cause the sewage lines to be used past their capacity. The department decided to divert some of the sewage flow to an alternate pipe that is less extensively used in order to balance the flow of sewage from the campus.
‘When we studied the sewer [we found that] the branch that comes down from University Hills was going to be overloaded as time goes by. So there is an existing sewer line that we are connecting to,’ Bockmiller said.
There are two branches of underground sewage lines that run around Aldrich Park. They connect near the humanities buildings and then travel to a main sewer at University Drive. From there, the sewage flows to a pump station near the 73 freeway, where it is then pumped back to a treatment plant at the corner of Harvard Avenue and University Drive.
Eventually, the Facilities Management would like to run a sewer line that will connect directly to the Irvine Ranch sewer flow.
The UCI Facilities Management usually handles projects such as interior tenant improvements, large maintenance projects and utility infrastructure.
A recent project undertaken by the department was the replacement of the heating/cooling units at Steinhaus Hall. During the holidays, it also plans to conduct major repairs on these same types of units at McGaugh Hall. At any given time, the department may be involved in over 200 tasks.
UCI is essentially its own city within Irvine, so projects undertaken on campus do not need the approval of city officials.
While the Facilities Management does not work directly with the city, it often communicates with the city regarding projects that are located where the campus ends. For example, when Facilities Management builds a footbridge that leads off of campus, it informs the city.
‘The university is its own reviewing authority,’ Gaw said. This means that the Facilities Management is responsible for the maintenance of various types of projects. It must repair roads, provide utilities, paint the campus buildings and do other projects that keep the campus running.