Navajo Gallup Water Supply Project San Juan Lateral Block 4C-8
Award of Merit, Water/Environment and EXCELLENCE IN SAFETY AWARD
Submitted By: Southland Holdings
Owner/Lead Design Firm: Bureau of Reclamation
Contractor: Oscar Renda Contracting (Southland Holdings)
Drilling Subcontractors: ECI Drilling; HDW Construction & Drilling
Consisting of 28 miles of 48-in.-dia and 42-in.-dia steel pipe between the communities of Tohatchi and Little Water, N.M., this project brings a much needed water source to the Navajo and Jicarilla Apache reservations. Crews installed steel pipe open cut, jack and bore, and horizontal directional drilling. They also installed 48-in. and 42-in. butterfly valves, air releases and blow-offs and a cathodic protection system.
The project’s remote location made it hard to find trained and experienced labor. Also, a clause in the contract required the project to carry a 75% Navajo Nation local labor force, so the contractor moved several top-tier managers to the project. The project ranged between 90% and 96% Navajo employment, and half of these employees continued on with the contractor. To beat winter weather conditions, the contractor implemented a cold weather batching and placing plan for the CLSM (controlled low-strength material). An onsite batch plant with hot water heater kept the CLSM warm from batching to placement, while a proprietary trench ventilation system would blow hot air along sections of the open ditch, which were covered with insulation blankets. Once the CLSM was placed, the hot air system ran for 24 hours to keep material intact. Superintendents and foremen held OSHA 30 Certification. Safety checklists helped foremen perform daily inspections. Scrambling to meet deadlines, a common cause of accidents, was avoided by communicating production milestones.