2014 Archives

WRECO Opens Roseville Office and Soil Laboratory November 2014

WRECO celebrated the grand opening of our Roseville office on November 5, 2014. Our Roseville office houses our expanded geotechnical team, which includes Robert Lawrence, P.E., G.E., office manager, and Michael Wilson, P.G., CEG, soil laboratory manager, as well as new staff Rollina Katako, EIT and Elizabeth Martinez, EIT. WRECO will be able to perform soils analysis in our laboratory, which is on track to be certified before Christmas. Our geotechnical department is adept with preparing foundation reports, preliminary geotechnical reports, materials reports, and performing geologic hazards studies, and geotechnical design. Our geotechnical staff in Roseville and Walnut Creek are supported by our engineers and environmental scientists who assist in performing geologic and geotechnical analyses and collecting rock and soil samples at project sites.

WRECO's Engineering Geologist Presents Talk on Sustainable Watershed October 2014

Grant Wilcox P.E., E.G., QSD/P and Analette Ochoa, P.E., QSD/P, ToR, of WRECO, and Shin-Roei Lee P.E., QSD/P (San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board), presented Belmont Creek Watershed Study: Alternatives for a Sustainable Watershed at the 10th Annual California Stormwater Quality Association (CASQA) Conference in southern California on September 16. Grant's talk discussed how WRECO, in cooperation with a major pharmaceutical company, performed a watershed study and developed an original hydrologic and hydraulic model that will help the various stakeholders in the Belmont Creek watershed with flooding and stormwater management. This effort is an example not only of using modeling to describe a complete watershed, but of broad collaboration between industry, municipalities, and regulatory agencies. Also, it is one of the few times that an entire watershed has been studied as opposed to just a portion of the watershed. The presentation focused on four alternatives studied for watershed improvement and peak runoff reduction chosen by the stakeholders, including dredging operational improvement at Water Dog Lake that will decrease erosion potential downstream; floodplain improvements at Twin Pines Park that will decrease sedimentation downstream, restore creek habitats, provide overland storage, and increase infiltration for nuisance flows; culvert improvements and bypasses downstream that will create underground storage and increased conveyance with the potential for long-term LID measures for land use planning; and tidal gates downstream that will provide flood storage for the tidal prism during storm events and negate the effects of tidal backwater to the creek. For more detail on the presentation or WRECO's services in this area, please contact us. WRECO has been an ongoing participant in and supporter of the CASQA conference, which is a key training event for stormwater professionals responding to municipal, industrial, and construction NPDES stormwater permit requirements. For more information on the annual conference, visit www.casqa.org.

WRECO Staff Take to the Iron Horse Trail September 2014

On September 6, WRECO staff held their first ride along the Iron Horse Trail in Walnut Creek. The event had a great turnout, with almost 20 riders of all ages in attendance. Highlights along the route included stops at Larkey Park and Heather Farms Park. Keep an eye out for our riders on future events!

WRECO prepares Winning Prop 84 Grant Application! August 2014

WRECO assisted the City of Albany in preparing a winning Proposition 84 Stormwater Treatment Phase 2 Grant application for $296,000. The award will help the City finance a demonstration project to add bulb-outs with biofiltration planters at intersections along Brighton Avenue in order to enhance water quality and pedestrian safety. Pedestrian safety is a particular concern in the vicinity of Albany Middle School and MacGregor High School. Other issues of concern for the project include a mature tree located within the limits of the proposed bulb-out and loss of parking. WRECO is working with the City to identify mitigation measures for these issues. The biofiltration planters will filter stormwater runoff, slow peak flow rates, and reduce peak volumes, protecting receiving water bodies from the effects of urbanization. The bulb-outs will increase safety by reducing travel time across the intersection, increasing pedestrian visibility, and providing a traffic calming measure. This is the third grant application that WRECO has successfully prepared.

Berkeley's LID Projects Slated for Construction June 2014

The City of Berkeley is implementing low impact development (LID) projects to promote infiltration and improve treatment of stormwater runoff. LID projects take a natural approach to treating stormwater close to the source, using features like bioretention areas, tree well filters, and permeable pavements. These projects reduce the environmental impact of built areas, allow more natural movement of groundwater in the ecosystem, and promote improved water quality. Two such projects are slated to go to construction in July - Allston Way and Milvia Street. For these locations, WRECO assisted the design team in providing drainage and stormwater treatment PS&E designs for bioretention swales and tree well filters to treat street runoff. Designs also include the use of porous pavement (permeable joint pavers). The design team is working to balance the needs of the community with environmental concerns, and has taken an innovative approach to preserve existing trees and parking.

25th Annual CTF Transportation Awards Winners and Finalists Announced March 2014

WRECO was excited to participate in multiple projects recognized this year by the California Transportation Foundation in their Transportation Awards. For the Project of the Year, the Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Bore, WRECO provided treatment best management practice (BMP) consideration, ATS conceptual design, risk level assessment, construction support, Construction General Permit compliance, and a water quality study. In addition, WRECO's Senior Geologist, Mr. Grant Wilcox, P.E., CEG, QSD/P, supervised support staff for the initial geotechnical investigation, paleontological consult, and paleontological investigations while at Caltrans. In addition, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge East Span Replacement was awarded Special Recognition. For this project, WRECO provided water quality studies, technical support on non-standard specifications, and cost estimates for the dismantling of the existing span. Congratulations to the project teams!

WRECO Team Gets Hands Dirty with Presidio's Mountain Lake Environmental Cleanup February 2014

Members of the WRECO team recently pulled an all-nighter to inspect and clean drainage inlet filter inserts on Highway 1 along the west side of the Presidio's Mountain Lake in the City of San Francisco. To improve the water quality and habitat surrounding the lake, the inlets collect stormwater runoff from Highway 1, and the inserts remove pollutants including sediment and hydrocarbons, such as gasoline, diesel, and motor oil. The WRECO team identified debris sources, estimated accumulated sediment volumes, assessed hydrocarbon boom conditions, evaluated insert conditions, cleaned and replaced filters as needed, disposed of materials, and made recommendations regarding system improvements. These tasks are part of a larger remediation and enhancement project sponsored by Caltrans and the Presidio Trust of San Francisco for the environmental cleanup of Mountain Lake. The WRECO team previously developed the maintenance and monitoring plan for the inlet inserts in order to prolong the service life of the inlet filter inserts, collect data, and ensure proper disposal of the waste.

Performance Monitoring to Commence for BASMAA's Pilot Urban Runoff Treatment Retrofit Project in San Carlos, CA January 2014

WRECO is starting performance monitoring for the Bay Area Stormwater Management Association's (BASMAA) Bransten Road Urban Runoff Treatment Retrofit project in San Carlos, CA. The project is included in BASMAA's pilot program to implement stormwater treatment retrofit projects that can be used to evaluate potential polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) load reductions in urban stormwater runoff to the San Francisco Bay, and it was constructed in late 2013. The scheduled monitoring will analyze PCB concentrations within stormwater at the upstream and downstream end of the Bransten Road project's bioretention areas, plus take samples from perforated cleanouts to analyze stormwater that filters through the bioretention areas. Monitoring is important because urban runoff contributes to water pollution, lowering of the water table, and urban flooding as impervious areas (pavement, roads, and sidewalks) prevent polluted water from filtering back into the ground. Water remains above the surface, accumulates, and runs off in large amounts, transporting increased levels of pollutants to receiving waters. Depending on the results of this monitoring, this project could be used as an example for the design of future stormwater treatment projects. WRECO developed the design for the stormwater treatment best management practices (BMPs) for the recently completed project, consisting of seven bioretention areas along Bransten Road, which promote infiltration and treat runoff. The bioretention areas located on the north side of Bransten Road were designed to have an 8-foot wide footprint, while the bioretention areas on the south side of Bransten Road were designed to have a 6-foot wide footprint to minimize utility conflicts. WRECO coordinated with the City, CalWater, and PG&E to develop a design that would minimize utility impacts and determine utilities that needed to be relocated or protected in place.


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