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Manhole Shields Assist Wharton-Smith With Water Tap

Tue January 19, 2010 - Southeast Edition
James McRay

Wharton-Smith Construction Group recently completed a very critical water tap on a 24 in. force main, as part of the Western Regional Waste Water Treatment Plant Indian River Reclamation Facility Expansion. Wharton-Smith is the primary contractor overseeing the entire expansion project at the Vero Beach, Fla., facility.

Setting up the perpendicular 24 in. to 24 in. (61 cm) tap in the poor Florida soil posed a unique challenge as to how to keep the workers safe when they were in the excavation completing the work. Even though the force main was not particularly deep; a shoring, sloping, or shielding system was still required as part of the excavation.

Ed Sly, mechanical superintendent on the project, and 27 year heavy construction veteran, called Professional Shoring and Supply — Florida’s newest trench shoring equipment experts — for help in finding the right shoring system for the water tap.

“My original inclination was to rent a modular aluminum shoring system, Build-A-Box, and set up an elaborate t-configuration for the tap,” said Sly. “To his credit, Dan [Payne, Professional Shoring and Supply] could have rented us that system, but instead he recommended a simple set of manhole shields with cut-outs. The manhole shields worked out exactly as we needed them to, and it was a lot cheaper than Build-A-Box,” Sly concluded.

The two manhole shields were 8 by 12 ft. (2.4 by 3.6 m) “wrap-around” style shields, with 27 in. (68 cm) square cut-out or “dog houses,” that straddled the existing line. The new line ran perpendicular through the second adjacent shield, allowing protection for workers installing a series of elbows and valve to the tap line. Overseeing the installation for Wharton-Smith was Project Superintendent Jim Gramlich.

Wharton-Smith Inc. (WSI) was founded in Central Florida in 1984 by George Smith and Bill Wharton. WSI is headquartered in Central Florida, with additional offices in Tampa, Palm City, Atlanta and Charlotte. Construction market segments include Environmental, Commercial, Educational, International, Entertainment, Healthcare, and Green Building Construction. WSI is consistently ranked by Engineering News Record as a “Top 400 Contractor” and “Top 200 Environmental Contractor”

Professional Shoring and Supply is an official Efficiency Production Inc. trench shielding and shoring equipment distributor. Efficiency Production provides a wide selection of standard and custom trench shielding and shoring systems. Efficiency’s products are designed specifically for safe and cost effective installation of utility systems and infrastructure improvements. All products are P.E. certified to meet OSHA standards.

For more information, call Professional Shoring and Supply, 888/777- 8307.

James McRay is the director of Marketing & Media for Efficiency Production Inc. He can be reached at 800-552-8800; [email protected]

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