You are on page 1of 3

The University of Texas System

Office of Facilities Planning and Construction

Engineering Education and Research Center
OFPC Project No. 102-556
ECJ Stage 1 Package B Storm Water / Sanitary Line Cross Connect RCA
November 10, 2016

The initial design for ECJ Level 1 renovation (Stage 1Package B) included a Men's and Women's
Restroom, a janitor closet with a mop sink, and a drinking fountain within the existing building footprint.
The new sanitary connections for these assemblies were designed to connect to an existing waste line
as identified by record documents provided by UT Austin. After construction began, it was discovered
that the existing waste line was constructed of glass pipe previously used for lab waste. UT Austin
building maintenance representatives expressed concern that connecting to the existing glass piping
system was not in the universitys best interest due to future maintenance concerns. In order to address
the concern for long term maintenance, UT System OFPC requested that the project team find an
alternate connection point.
Due to a lack of complete record documents, HPCC directed its sub-contractor, Hidalgo, to survey the
basement and find alternate points of connection for the new sanitary sewer. Upon completion of
surveyed routes, field walks were conducted with the rest of the project team to confirm the alternate
piping route options proposed were feasible, because the revised scope was beyond the original limits
of construction. Hensel Phelps issued RFI #80 identifying the final proposed piping connection
location as previously determined by Hidalgo, to which the design team and owner did not take
Hensel Phelps and its sub-contractor Hidalgo proceeded with the scope identified in RFI #80.
Prior to commencing work, it appears Hidalgo did not confirm with any type of pre-testing
plan or apparatus that the existing connection point was, in fact, a sanitary sewer line.
After completing the installation, Hidalgo did not conduct additional testing to completely
commission the connection of the new sanitary sewer line to the existing line, thus ensuring no cross
connection existed.
On May 19, 2016, installation of drilled piers for the EERC Stage 2 generator pad commenced. D u r i n g
d r i l l i n g the northwest pier of the generator pad, the drill rig operator unknowingly struck an existing
below grade concrete storm water drain line. The damaged storm water line was not discovered at
the time due to lack of any fluid flowing in the line. The pier work was subsequently completed the
following day and backfilled accordingly.

On September 29, 2016, a sub-contractor was excavating earthwork for the generator pad grade beams.
A s excavation proceeded and spoils were removed around the previously drilled pier and storm
water line, raw sewage flooded the grade beam trench. Hensel Phelps notified OFPC of the unforeseen
condition and initiated make safe operations. Upon receiving notification from Hensel Phelps of a potential
environmental issue, OFPC notified UT Austin Environmental Health and Safety as well as Utilities and
Energy Management to assist in the mitigation and resolution of the unforeseen condition. Instruction
was provided by UT Austin Environmental Health and Safety to remove the liquid using an approved
licensed waste hauler, and to repair the damaged line. As the Hensel Phelps make safe operations
continued, it was determined by reviewing previously university provided record drawings that a
sanitary line should not exist in this location and only a storm water line should be the general
At this point all parities determined additional investigation of previously installed work by Hensel Phelps
and its sub-contractors as well as existing utility systems was warranted to determine the source of
contamination. Hensel Phelps initiated a dye testing plan inside of ECJ and determined that a high
probability existed that restrooms added during Stage 1 under its contract with the UT System were cross
connected to the existing storm water line that was hit by generator pad pier drilling activities. Upon the
initial dye testing findings the suspected assemblies were permanently shut off and areas secured until
such time that all corrective work was put in place and retested.

Process I Procedures that Failed

1) Hensel Phelps and its plumbing sub-contractor Hidalgo mistakenly identified a storm line as a sanitary line.
2) The plumbing sub-contractor, Hidalgo, did not conduct an adequate investigation to ensure
the previously identified connection point was, in fact, a sanitary sewer line
3) Hensel Phelps did not provide adequate oversight of Hidalgo's operations.
4) HP did not reconfirm existence of additional record drawings for ECJ.
5) The design team did not challenge the proposed solution in RFI #80.
6) Dye testing was not performed to initially confirm the line discovered below grade was a
sanitary line and dye testing was not performed as part of the commissioning process.

Corrective Actions

1) RFI #1910 in EERC Stage 2 was issued to determine a new location to connect the sanitary drains
added on ECJ Level 1in Stage 1. This was reviewed by Jacobs, AEI, Datum, OFPC, and UT Austin.
2) Porter Services completed the sanitary line reroute work. Dye testing was completed with UEM
and EH&S prior to final connections to ensure no cross connections exist.
3) The black water which entered the grade beam trench was removed by a licensed sanitary
waste hauling company, Superior Septic. Manifests have been transmitted to EH&S. The trench
was allowed to dry and lime was spread over the affected soil.
4) Contaminated spoils will be hauled to an approved landfill. EH&S has provided a waste profile.
The approved landfill will provide a manifest. Once the material is properly delivered to the
landfill, the manifest will be submitted to OFPC and EH&S.
S) The damaged storm line was properly repaired by Porter Services following RFI #1910 and
confirmed via EERC's inspection process.
6) The contaminated storm line was sanitized by Matt-Chlor, a TCEQ Certified Class D Water
Operator, following procedures acceptable to EH&S.

New Recommendations


Dye testing will be performed prior to connecting to any existing sanitary line inside campus
buildings and dye testing will be performed during the commissioning process to ensure cross
connections do not exist.