Orange County Branch Newsletter

December 2017

ASCE OC Programs and Utility Engineering And Surveying Institute

Newport Force Main Project

By Joe Gonzalez, P.E.

ASCE Orange County Programs committee and Utility Engineering and Surveying Institute (UESI) held its September lunch event at the Center Club in Costa Mesa with a presentation by Rob Thompson, PE, Director of Engineering for Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD). OCSD is a public agency that provides wastewater collection, treatment, and disposal services for approximately 2.6 million people in central and northwest Orange County.  OCSD is a special district that is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of 25 board members appointed from 20 cities, two sanitary districts, two water districts and one representative from the Orange County Board of Supervisors.  OCSD has two operating facilities that treat wastewater from residential, commercial and industrial sources. OCSD treats as much as 1.5 gallons of wastewater per day.

Rob presented on the Newport Force Main Project in the City of Newport Beach.  The project involved the replacing and rehabilitating over 5 miles of existing sewer force main in Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).  

Newport Force Main Projcet

Rob covered lessons learned from the construction of this much needed project.  Rob noted that in certain instances such as this project, more engineering is needed to be done before construction. 

The sewer pipe diameters ranged from 20” to 36” and required four methods of pipe installation, cured-in-place (CIP), jack and bore, open trench, and microtunnel.  Due to some unforeseen conditions the trenchless methods were not feasible. Such obstacles included a 1910 sewer treatment tank, 18” casing with a 10” HP gas line, and 40-foot deep telephone poles.  Some of these conflicts were in the section that was going to be trenchless installation and it was determined to move forward with open trench construction at these locations.

Existing Sewer Treatment Tank and 18" Sewer Casing

Initially, the existing poles were going to be extracted.  Through several attempts, including using different type of equipment and consulting with other agencies that experienced similar challenges, it was later determined that the poles would be cut.

Existing 40' Power Poles

A key component for this project was Community Outreach.  There is strong a community presence within the project limits and there are several events that take place, including the Boat Parade in the holiday season.  Coordination with the following associations was done for community events,  

  • City Council Study Sessions
  • Mariner’s Mile Business Association
  • Speak Up Newport
  • Newport Harbor Yacht Club
  • Newport Beach Expo

In addition to numerous meetings with the above associations and community meetings and presentations, neighborhood bulletins were posted to keep the community up to date on the progress of the project.

This projected experienced several challenges including pipe installation, community impacts, and meeting project schedule and budget.  In summary the lessons learned were:

  • Know your audience, explain why
  • Know your alignment and obstacles
  • Know your impacts
  • Educate stakeholders early
  • Find the right balance between impacted parties (resident, business, traffic)
  • Establish and maintain community relations
  • Understanding restrictions

Rob noted that OCSD has developed a Capital Improvement Program Spending projection for the next 20 years.  It is projected that spending over 10 years will be $2.5 billion and spending over 20 years will be $5 billion.  Rob mentioned that OCSD is looking for partners and invites the consulting and construction community to apply for projects at

Related Groups/Committees