Landscape Construction (LCON) and Heavy Equipment (HEQ) work very closely with the Texas A&M University Utilities and Energy Services (UES) Department plumbers. There are many phases to coordinating depending on the various situations when the UES plumbers have an active leak needing repair.

Put back depends on the location of the leak. If there are brick pavers in the location, LCON is called in to assist. Any bricks on campus need to be removed so that they may be placed back once the repair has been completed. If there are no pavers to remove, the initial call would be to HEQ. HEQ will supply a dump truck to meet the plumbers onsite and be prepared to haul off spoils that are being dug out so that they may reach the leaking water line. They might, in rare occasions, require equipment, this can include a breaker and/or excavator.

Once the plumbers have repaired the leaks and tested the lines to ensure quality, they reach out to HEQ again to request material to back fill. The material used will vary based on the location of the repair. The first material used to cover the water line is wash sand/bank sand. Once that is covered, the next material used is select fill to help cover up to 6” to grade, the last 6” would be turf mix or bed mix that is designed to optimize the health of the grass or plant material. If it is a bed area, it will be installed by LCON. If the location is a sidewalk, it will begin with the wash sand/bank sand which would be followed by select fill until 4-6” to grade where the sidewalk will be installed. If the water line location is in a road, the backfill begins with wash sand/bank sand, followed by select fill and finished with 12-18” of stabilized sand leading to the concrete. An important factor with back filling, for every 8” of material placed, will need to be compressed using a plate compactor or similar piece of equipment.

Every work site will differ depending on the material. If the site is under a sidewalk or street, HEQ will have to verify the surrounding grades around the work site to ensure there is positive drainage. It is crucial to help lengthen the life of the concrete by ensuring water does not sit, but continues to flow towards an established gutter or drain. After grade has been set, HEQ will cut out any existing concrete to have an established joint to joint area. This helps create uniformity through the Texas A&M Campus with a better visual appearance when completed. HEQ will start creating forms if needed and finish by placing rebar inside the forms as is intended to strengthen the overall strength.

If the work site involves turf areas or bed areas, LCON will take over after HEQ has completed the back fill phase and sidewalk pours if there were any existing sidewalk have been. LCON will begin by testing and repairing irrigation lines, heads, and wire breaks that could be caused from the UES plumbers excavating their work site. LCON will ensure there is head to head coverage with the use of rotors, spray heads, drip line and bubblers, if they exist.

Once Irrigation has been reestablished, LCON will finish the last 6” to grade, by installing turf mix or bed mix depending on the area. Turf mix is a mixture we created in our materials yard with 1-part wash sand, 1-part top soil and 1-part compost. Bed mix consists of 1-part wash sand, 1-part top soil and 2-parts compost. This helps create a better soil biology and growth for the grass or plant material. LCON will also need to establish positive drainage towards drain boxes, gutters, or street curbs.

Sod installation would be the next phase after the completion of drainage. We install sand based Tiff Tuff Bermuda grass if possible due to its great performance with drought tolerance, growth and vigor in different scenarios/locations. To establish the sod, we would need to “cut in” to the existing sod. LCON would create an edge to establish a smooth transition between new and old sod once the new sod has been installed.

This overall process would not be achieved and completed without the constant communication between the UES plumbers, HEQ and LCON Teams to ensure quality work that would be accepted by Texas A&M University.

Submitted by Luis Guardado, LCON Supervisor

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