By Tony Heath, Project Engineer

This post covers Wednesday, August 28th.

We started the day continuing with our work from yesterday. Facilities and Services’ Josh and Stephanie cleaned up the trench and laid a thin layer of bedding sand for the pipe to lay on, while I continued to place rip-rap stones to serve as outlet protection at each end of the pipe. Once the pipe was in place, we pushed it to the east edge of the trench and laid the conduit for the monitoring equipment alongside of it on the west side. Prof. Schmidt will be out on site Friday afternoon with his CEE 458 Water Resources Field Methods class to place the rest of the conduit, but since this portion needed to be coordinated with the sidewalk installation, we decided it would be best if we did it now. The conduit came in 10′ sections with male & female bell ends. We used PVC glue at these ends to create a watertight seal between sections. 

Once the pipes were in, I began hand backfilling the portions of the south cell we’d excavated with bioretention soil mix while Josh and Stephanie backfilled the remainder of the pipe section with sand. They spent the rest of the morning backfilling the pipe trench where the sidewalk will go and began preparing the sidewalk base for the concrete finishers. 

Our Filtrexx Siltsoxx delivery arrived on-site in time for us to install them in the high priority areas. The plan was for us to install it by hand and I needed assistance for this. My first choice was our former construction manager, Eric, who started his new job as SSC Coordinator. But, alas, he was too busy with new duties. Then, I reached out our landscape designer, Layne, to see if he could help, but he wasn’t in town. Finally, I asked Eliana and Kate to come out, thinking that the three of us would be able to handle it before lunch (SPOILER ALERT: we couldn’t).

Unlike other erosion eels that are filled with straw, Siltsoxx is filled with compost, which is much denser. The weight has a few benefits. First, the heavier sock is more stable and doesn’t need sand bags or staking to stay in place, unless it’s on a steeper slope or in a concentrated flow area. Secondly, once the site is stabilized, the sock can be sliced open and the compost raked out to provide organic enrichment for the soil. The one downside for me today is that since they are so heavy, it can be difficult to place by hand. Eliana, Kate, and I gave it our best effort. After a few attempts, Eliana muttered something about needing to go back to the gym. Kate had came to the site already down an arm due to a broken wrist so couldn’t provide much assistance. However, she was happy to notice that her cast matched the Siltsoxx. Gratefully, it didn’t take long for Stephanie to offer to call another operator out to the site with equipment to help with installation. Took five minutes tops — which is testament to her kindness and mercy.

After lunch, the operator arrived with a heavy duty forklift to pull the Siltsoxx while I placed it. We used the forklist’s strap to lift it while I held the end and pulled it along the edge. This worked well for a straight shot, but put a lot of stress on the sock and risked tearing it. So, for the next section, the operator lifted the pallet and drove it along our path while I pulled the Siltsoxx off the side and placed it. Success! 

For the north cell, we left a space between the sidewalk and the Siltsoxx to accommodate tomorrow’s granite base installation.

With the sidewalk base ready to go, the concrete finishers will be on-site tomorrow to pour the new sidewalk. Meanwhile, Josh and Stephanie will begin excavating the south edge of the north cell and installing the stone base to prepare for the decomposed granite. The decomposed granite should be delivered on Friday of this week and we’ll begin its installation next Tuesday.