June 11, 2020
From the Manager
By Teresa Herrera
June is National Safety Month, which focuses on saving lives and preventing injuries, from the workplace to anyplace.

For SVCW, every month is Safety Month and every day is safety day, hence our motto: “Day by Day, Safety is the Way.” This month, we celebrate our successes and share what we’ve learned and implemented in order to step up our efforts. You’ll see an article written by David Lee, our Health and Safety Director, and Vishwa Ram, chairperson of the Safety Committee, which includes front-line staff volunteers and at least one person from each of our eight divisions. These folks are the ones who face the highest levels of challenges in their day-to-day work and are key to enabling SVCW to have the best possible safety record.

In this issue you’ll also see an interesting article from Tunneling Journal, which lauded the methods used by our Gravity Pipeline tunneling design-build partner to address COVID-19. The article notes how the San Mateo County Health Officer continues to tackle the ever-changing conditions of COVID-19, and highlights how our design-builders adjusted construction to meet the latest safety requirements. 

As I noted in last month’s newsletter, the environment of, and responses to, the pandemic are consistently and necessarily changing. At SVCW, we continue to meet the challenges placed upon us by the pandemic and we remain flexible and responsive. SVCW is proud of our staff, essential workers who show up 24/7 to ensure our community’s sewage is conveyed, treated, and disposed or reused in a way that protects public health and the environment to optimum levels.

I hope we all remember to recognize and applaud our Essential Workers, such as first responders, health care personnel, grocery providers, and utility workers. Be well, stay healthy, and remember, “Day by Day, Safety is the Way!”
June is National Safety Month
By Health and Safety Director David Lee and Safety Committee Chairperson Vishwa Ram
In honor of National Safety Month, SVCW would like to thank the Safety Committee for their comprehensive efforts to keep our team out of harm's way.

These efforts are directed by SVCW’s comprehensive health and safety plan, which includes conducting ongoing workplace inspections to help prevent injuries and illnesses.

Every month, SVCW’s Safety Committee sets out to identify and rectify hazards. These workplace safety inspections allow the Safety Committee to:

  • Listen to the concerns of workers and supervisors;
  • Gain further understanding of jobs and tasks;
  • Identify existing and potential hazards;
  • Determine underlying causes of hazards;
  • Recommend corrective action; and
  • Monitor steps taken to eliminate hazards or control risks.

The team identified the metal studs pictured above during a safety inspection.

For more information on SVCW's safety program, go here.
SVCW Stands in Solidarity
Against Racism
People throughout the country are struggling with hurt, pain, and anger over the chronic injustices against Black Americans. Too many lives have been unjustly taken; unacceptable numbers of lives. This comes in the middle of a devastating health crisis which, in just a few months’ time, has taken over 100,000 lives, seen millions unemployed, and caused people to shelter in place. This is a time of self-reflection and outward expression, and is a time to stand in solidarity with all who call for justice in our society.

SVCW is dedicated to benefiting our member agency’s community members, protecting the health of our public and our environments. We prohibit workplace discrimination and we serve everyone regardless of racial identity. We also acknowledge that the world around us does not operate in the same manner. We must challenge ourselves to dig deeper internally, ask difficult questions, initiate uncomfortable conversations, educate ourselves, and find the courage to oppose the harsh conditions that Black Americans experience every day. We must confront the disturbing realities that specifically Black lives are not valued, and therefore are being denied the basic human right to life.

We support having these difficult conversations about injustice, violence, and inequality, and further encourage everyone to stand in antiracism solidarity with us. Together, we can expose the injustices and together we can prevent them from continuing.
Ingenuity And Determination in the
US: Tunnelling* vs Coronavirus
Article by Tris Thomas, which first appeared May 27 in the U.K.'s Tunnelling Journal
Three major US tunnelling projects shared stories about adapting to the challenges raised by Coronavirus in an online seminar held on 22 May. The Underground Construction Association (UCA) of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) organised the event, Underground Construction in the COVID-19 Age, reports Kristina Smith.

Some common themes emerged from the presentations by three speakers: Grant Milliner of Kiewit, Mike Smithson of Skanska and Dan Schall of Barnard. Engineering ingenuity, strong safety cultures, and adaptability all featured in the talks, which were moderated by Mike Roach, chief estimator at Traylor and Erika Moonin, president of Moonin Associates.

Millener, who is project manager on New York City’s Rondout Bypass Tunnel Project with JV contractor Kiewit-Shea, outlined some of the new procedures they had introduced to make the site as safe as possible for the people working there. Measures include temperature checks for every person coming onto site, aggressive cleaning regimes including sanitising the personnel hoist, Mantrip, tools and equipment, and keeping crews separate by using video links rather than in-person meetings between supervisors. Kiewit-Shea also set up a COVID-19 Response Team – now dubbed the ‘Social Distance Cops’ – to police behaviours on site.

In March, when disinfectant and hand sanitiser was like gold dust, the project team responded by making its own. “We got too much lavender oil the first time, but we perfected that,” recalled Millener on early batches of sanitiser.

One of the most important things is monitoring absences, explained Milliner, and carrying out a risk assessment when they return to work, considering exposure and symptoms. The project has had 12 tests taken for COVID-19, none of which came back positive.

Read entire article here .

* Please note that this is a U.K. publication, so some words are spelled differently than in the U.S.
We're on track and continuing to make progress on the Regional Environmental Sewer Conveyance Upgrade (RESCU), the rehabilitation and replacement of SVCW's conveyance system. When complete, it will ensure that for many decades to come, SVCW can efficiently, reliably, and safely convey and treat wastewater from its four member agencies. Those include Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City, and the West Bay Sanitary District (which serves the cities of Menlo Park, Portola Valley, and portions of Atherton, Woodside, East Palo Alto, and unincorporated areas of San Mateo County).
Gravity Pipeline
In May, SVCW's contractor partner, Barnard-Bessac Joint Venture (BBJV), continued cross-checking their COVID-19 safety measures to ensure crew safety and compliance with San Mateo County Health requirements.

BBJV removed all components of Salus, the Tunnel Boring Machine, from Inner Bair Island and transported them back to the launch shaft, located at Shoreway Road and Holly Street. Crews are carrying out inspection of all the components and performing necessary cleaning.

The second, and final, batch of Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) pipes, manufactured in Jakarta, Indonesia, recently arrived and are in the process of being inspected. Pipes that were damaged during transportation will be assessed and repaired, while the rest of the pipe sections will stored. These sections will form the carrier pipe that will be installed within the completed tunnel and will carry the raw wastewater to the SVCW treatment plant by gravity.

Read more about the gravity pipeline project here.
Front of Plant
Hydrotesting of channels
Shea-Parson Joint Venture (SPJV) is currently hydrotesting the Headworks screening channels, which will transport raw wastewater to the automated screening systems. The screens remove larger debris, like rags, before entering the existing treatment plant. Hydrotesting helps the team find any leaks within the concrete channels so they can be repaired before a protective coating is applied and the facility is commissioned.

Work continues on the second pass wall in the Receiving Lift Station (RLS) vertical shaft, including reinforcing steel bars, placing the concrete, and setting the lift panels to extend the walls vertically upward. A total of four 25-foot lifts will be placed to complete the construction of the second pass walls.

Read more about the Front of Plant project here.
Progress on building the second wall pass 
Pump Station Improvements
At its May meeting, the SVCW Commission authorized SVCW staff to enroll the Pump Station Improvement (PSI) project in the RESCU Owner Controlled Insurance Program (OCIP). This is an important step for the PSI project as the team gears up for construction in the coming months.
To kickstart the building phase, the PSI team is conducting surveys for the anticipated work at the Belmont Gravity Pipeline, and the Redwood City and Menlo Park Pump Stations. The first section of the existing force main that currently carries flow from the Menlo Park Pump Station to the Redwood City Pump Station will be inspected at various locations.

The PSI team is also preparing for initial outreach to the businesses in the nearby vicinity that may be impacted by the construction work associated with the Belmont Gravity Pipe portion of the project. SVCW will make every effort to ensure that construction activities will have minimal impact on these companies, and will keep them informed of relevant activities during and after construction for helpful feedback.

To read more about the pump station improvement projects, go here.