News In Brief

UCI Researches Southern California Water Problems

Both Northern and Southern California natives scrunch their noses up in distaste at the prospect of drinking pre-Brita stage tap water from the Southern region of our state.

However, the taste of the water in Southern California is not the only problem with it.

According to Maria Feng, civil and environmental engineering professor here at UCI, thousands of miles of old water pipes underground are breaking down from years of wear and tear that have been restored on a very infrequent basis.

Feng claims some pipes are almost 100 years old, and that this poses a particularly sticky situation.

“The problem is very serious, especially in urban areas, where it’s difficult to access leaking and burst pipes,” Feng said.

As a remedy, Feng and her research team are creating a prototype robot that could go into the underground pipelines to repair and retrofit the particularly aged sections of pipe.

If this project is successful, the robot could lead to a commercialized robotic system that could inject approximately $245 billion into the U.S. economy, according to Feng – an amount that is well needed considering America’s current financial state.

Although in the early stages, more research and much work is still being poured into this project, and the forecast for results is unclear.

Sobriety Checkpoints Counter Underage Drinking

UC Irvine has launched its first campus wide intervention against binge and underage drinking.

UCI Health Education and UCI Police Department (UCIPD) are working together to implement a program to minimize alcohol consumption and keep students safe.

UCI is currently seeking a $34,000 grant to help cover the cost of four DUI checkpoints and six DUI saturation patrols. These checkpoints will take place over the course of the year.

Recently, UCIPD held its first sobriety checkpoint on campus. While no one was arrested, they hoped this would encourage students to be more responsible and instill UCI’s zero tolerance policy.

Additionally, UCIPD has started the Safe Onto Sober program where arrested individuals will be placed in holding cells at police departments in Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. Here they will remain in holding until they sober up.

Arrested individuals will also be required to attend the Health Education Center’s alcohol education program.

UCIPD encourages people to utilize this program if their friends or guests have had too much to drink. Officers will assess whether the individual needs medical attention or should be detained until he or she sobers up.

UCIPD reminds students this program is intended not to get students in trouble but rather to help and educate them.