2015 Archives


Geary Road Ribbon Cutting Ceremony December 2015

The cities of Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Geary Road Improvement Phase 3 Project. This critical project improves the only arterial connection between northwestern Walnut Creek and the Pleasant Hill BART station by increasing capacity and significantly improving pedestrian and bicycle safety. Improvements include new sidewalk, pavement, drainage and stormwater treatment facilities, landscaping, street lights, and traffic signals, as well as a continuous left turn lane and an exclusive bike lane. Phase 3 will provide connectivity with the earlier improvements on adjacent segments of Geary Road. WRECO was responsible for the drainage PS&E, Conceptual Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan, conceptual water pollution control plans, and hydromodification analysis. In addition, WRECO provided third-party review for C.3 and Construction General Permit stormwater compliance on behalf of the City of Walnut Creek.

WRECO Attends and Presents at the 11th Annual CASQA Event November 2015

WRECO staff attended and proudly displayed two posters at this year's annual California Stormwater Quality Association (CASQA) Conference held in Monterey, California. The theme for this year's event was "Stormwater - Are We Making a Difference," and the conference included sessions about whether stormwater programs are positively impacting the environment and the need for innovative approaches to urban area stormwater management. With more than 700 stormwater professionals in attendance and the success of the poster presentation session, WRECO is proud to have been chosen to display our project experience amongst our peers. The two posters that WRECO presented at the 11th annual event were: 1) Protecting Local Areas of Special Biological Significance with Innovative Best Management Practice Retrofit Designs Theme Track: Meeting ASBS Requirements - Implementation Case Studies In coordination with San Mateo County 2) 4% Rule For Treatment BMP Sizing: Is There An Alternative? Theme Track: Stormwater Treatment In coordination with Caltrans District 4 and Presidio Trust The 2016 CASQA Annual Conference will be held in San Diego, September 12-14, 2016.

Pier E3 of the Old Bay Bridge to be Imploded in November October 2015

Pier E3 of the old Bay Bridge, the largest of the underwater piers, will soon be imploded. Caltrans has recently received all the required environmental permits. The pier is the size equivalent of a five-story concrete building, and Caltrans has spent years determining the best method for demolition. Underwater controlled implosion is a more environmentally friendly option than other demolition methods. WRECO assisted Caltrans by performing a Water Quality Study to determine the project's impacts to the San Francisco Bay; the goal of the project is to avoid impacts from sediment and dissolved pollutants to the existing water quality of the Bay. The purpose of the study was to provide general guidelines to manage and minimize effects to the Bay waters. WRECO also recommended best management practices to preserve water quality. The implosion is scheduled for November 7, 2015. Watch the video animation here.

Bat Workshop Aids WRECO in Performing Bat Surveys for Projects August 2015

WRECO staff attended the Conservation and Ecology of Bats workshop, a biology course offered by San Francisco State University at their Sierra Nevada Field Campus near Yuba Pass in Sierra County. The course focused on conservation and management issues confronting California bats. Topics discussed included wind energy farms, timber harvest, snag (i.e., dead tree) retention, roost and foraging resources, and white nose syndrome, among others. In addition, the course covered survey methods with an emphasis on hands-on experience. For five nights, WRECO staff and other class participants set up mist nets and bioacoustic recording devices near creeks and drainages to intercept bats while foraging and record their echolocation signals. Biological and morphometric data, such as species, gender, age, weight, and forearm length, were documented for all captured bats, and recorded echolocation pulses were analyzed to verify the identification of taxonomically difficult species. Bat species intercepted by mist nets included hoary bat, California myotis, Yuma myotis, little brown bat, long-legged myotis, fringed myotis, big brown bat, Western red bat, pallid bat, and approximately 45 silver-haired bats. WRECO has used its knowledge of bat biology in projects throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. WRECO has deployed bioacoustic recording devices to passively document the bat species present at project sites for several projects in Alameda and Sonoma counties. WRECO's thermal imaging systems facilitate biological surveys and site inspections by detecting the body heat of bats roosting deep within structures, such as bridges, culverts, and outbuildings.

WRECO Celebrating 20 Years of Excellent Service July 2015

On Thursday, July 16, WRECO hosted an open house event at our Walnut Creek office to celebrate 20 years of excellent service. The event had a great turnout, with staff from our Walnut Creek, Roseville, and Oakland offices, as well as friends and colleagues in attendance. The night ended with a champagne toast given by Han-Bin Liang, WRECO's President, where he talked about how WRECO started and how WRECO has been able to thrive in the past 20 years. Dr. Liang even shared the inspiration behind WRECO's logo and told us about his past rock star days. Congratulations to WRECO!

I-280 Cross-Culvert Inspection July 2015

At the request of Caltrans District 4, WRECO investigated an existing 60-inch corrugated metal cross-culvert (culvert) at the site of an apparent sinkhole. The culvert is located underneath Interstate 280 near the Alpine Road interchange in unincorporated Santa Clara County near the City of Palo Alto. WRECO staff performed a field visit where they inspected the condition of the existing culvert and provided Caltrans District 4 with an assessment and preliminary repair recommendations. During the field visit, they discovered that perforations of the pipe and uplifiting of the invert have allowed undermining of the base material in some locations. This, combined with the movement of soils from the exposed fill at the various joint separations, has led to a structural failure where the pipe segments appear to be folding in on themselves (out of round and uplifting of the weakened invert). This is expanding the joint separations, which is allowing accelerated sediment influx, likely contributing to the sinkhole. WRECO staff were able to see first hand how a sinkhole develops from long-term sediment loss caused by pipe joint separation. The sediment loss typically starts slow, but growing joint separation coupled with growing sediment loss can result in an accelerated loss that quickly increases the risk of a sinkhole and the various risks associated with sinkholes.

WRECO Offers Free Industrial General Permit Informational Workshop on June 26, 2015 June 2015

WRECO is offering a free informational workshop on the Industrial General Permit (IGP) that will become effective July 1, 2015. Please see attached flyer for details. Space is limited. Register today. About the IGP: The Industrial Storm Water General Permit Order 97-03-DWQ (IGP) is an NPDES permit that regulates discharges associated with 10 broad categories of industrial activities. The IGP requires the implementation of management measures that will achieve the performance standard of best available technology economically achievable (BAT) and best conventional pollutant control technology (BCT). The IGP also requires the development of a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) and a monitoring plan. Through the SWPPP, sources of pollutants are to be identified and the means to manage the sources to reduce stormwater pollution are to be described. The IGP was adopted on April 1, 2014 and will become effective July 1, 2015.

WRECO Staff Conducts Environmental Awareness Training May 2015

For the Panoramic Way Project, WRECO staff conducted Worker Environmental Awareness Program training for all project-related personnel in order to comply with the project's California Department of Fish and Wildlife 1602 Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreement Permit. The project involves replacing approximately 20 linear feet of sewer pipe that crosses Derby Creek in the City of Berkeley. Potential impacts to fish or wildlife due to excavation include temporary impacts to the stream bank and injury or death of amphibians or reptiles.

WRECO's Soil Lab Receives AASHTO Accreditation March 2015

As part of our geotechnical engineering services, WRECO performs in-house materials testing and field inspection services. WRECO's soil laboratory, located in our Roseville, CA office, has recently been accredited by the American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and participates in the biannual AASHTO Materials Reference Library (AMRL) proficiency sample program and Caltrans Reference Sample Program. Through our lab, we are able to perform soil classification and index testing, moisture density relationship tests, and soil and aggregate compliance testing. In addition, we are able to provide field inspection support for a variety of foundation types including spread footings, driven piles, cast-in-drilled-hole piles, and auger-cast piles. Our staff holds International Code Council certifications for masonry and structural concrete.

WRECO's Oakland Office is Recertified as Green Business February 2015

WRECO's Oakland office has recently been recertified through Alameda County as a Bay Area Green Business. Recertification required coming up with creative solutions to more stringent standards. Green Business certifications involve meeting the requirements in several different categories including waste, energy, pollution, water, and wastewater. Requirements include reducing waste, recycling, reusing scrap paper, having low-flow sink faucets, having Energy Star appliances and electronic equipment, encouraging the use of public transportation, and having a green purchasing policy with cleaning and paper products that meet certain standards. The age of the building that our Oakland office is located in makes it impractical to implement low-flow toilets. One of our creative solutions, which was approved by the East Bay Municipal Utility District, was to install a low-flow toilet at a staff member's home.

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