On The Beach: Laguna Beach Completes Lift Station Replacement

June 2013, Vol. 68, No. 6

It’s hard to imagine a more sensitive site for a lift station reconstruction: 25 feet under the sands of a popular five-star southern California beach in the heart of a famous artist colony. The Laguna Beach Lift Station reconstruction site shares the beach with a crowded boardwalk, volleyball and basketball courts, a playground and a historic lifeguard tower. A coveted marine preserve sits offshore.

“It was like building a ship-in-the-bottle,” said David Shissler, Laguna Beach director of water quality, who is in charge of the lift station reconstruction. “To begin with, we’re 14-feet under sea level. We had to deal with ground water intrusion on one side and the sea water on the other in the most prominent location in the city -- so we had to have dependability and flexibility to do it right the first time. That’s one of the reasons we chose HDPE for the job. The HDPE lifespan on a project like this puts it in a different world -- we won’t have to replace this thing again any time in the near future.”

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The 120 inch-diameter HDPE Spirolite structures used on the site were manufactured by Industrial Pipe Fittings (IPF), Houston, to ASTMF 1759 standards to withstand all the forces acting on the structures, including down-drag, buoyancy, compressive strength and buckling. The structures were made of a 3.9 inch-thick solid wall HDPE to resist the design forces, including their installation 14-feet below sea level. Recently, IPF manufactured a similar product for a tar sands project in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Those 120-inch structures were 9-inches thick and buried 90-feet deep.

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“We have seen tremendous success with Spirolite HDPE manholes and structures being specified in lieu of concrete because the material is impervious to the corrosive effects of the sewer gas in sanitary sewers,” said Hank Jones, Western Flow marketing partner, who consulted on the design. “HDPE manholes and structures are welded together making them bottle tight, which prevents ground water intrusion or sewage contamination of the environment. Spirolite manholes and structures have been manufactured in the United States for more than 35 years.”

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