Late on Friday, August 12th, Ahtna Design-Build, Inc. (ADB) Project Manager Bill Lowe received a panicked call from the Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR) at Fort Hunter Liggett. ADB has a 5-year job order contract for construction at the U.S. Army base. The COR explained that an onsite government employee caused an incident that required the primary water main for the entire base to be shut down. Early Saturday morning, Bill, Josh Petrick and Toby McAllister, the ADB site superintendent, met with the COR, Base Dept. of Public Works’ (DPW) civil engineering team, and General Davis, the Base Commander, to evaluate the situation.
The government-created issue resulted from their attempt to replace a 12” waterline and add 3 new valves to an existing valve assembly within a 6’ x 12’ vault. The existing valves did not have thrust blocks or valve restraints strapped to the 12” line. The existing 3 valves and piping only had a 12” pipe slip into a bell hub on the main supply line. When the government isolated the waterline, the 3 valves were stressed with about 1,200 lbs. of back pressure. This caused the line to blow out of the slip fittings/bell housing and water discharged without control. Because there was no working shut-off downstream of the damaged pipe, the entire base water supply had to be shut down for the evening.
With Bill’s assistance, the onsite crew was able to utilize the base’s backhoe, secure chains around the valves’ flange, lube the pipe sufficiently and slide the pipe back into position within the bell housing. They also elevated and leveled the valve and secured it in place by chain to a 4”X12” header. Additional 4”X12” braces were installed between the valves and the vault wall to serve as temporary thrust blocks to hold the repaired system in place until a permanent fix could be implemented.
The system was then reenergized and water service to Fort Hunter Liggett was restored. Bill regrouped with the COR, DPW team, and Base Commander, and Ahtna received recognition, accolades, and praise for responding quickly to the emergency and restoring water service to the base.
Directly following the incident, Bill was able to complete a scope of work and cost estimate and negotiate a new task order for $174,000 to complete a permanent replacement. General Davis was very impressed with our team’s skill and responsiveness and discussed a second phase of additional work to have Ahtna inspect the entire base-wide water supply system and complete upgrades or repairs to replace all main and secondary valves.
While Bill and his team are no strangers to long hours and hard work, their responsiveness to this weekend emergency incident that was impacting the entire base demonstrates their commitment to Ahtna and the top-notch and reliable service we provide to our clients.