Site Visit Conducted and Summary Prepared By Andy Slack, NCA National Irrigation Engineer
MSN V Director: Diana Ohman
Cemetery Director: Paul LaGrange
Foreman: Joe Wheeler
Site Visit Date: July 9th, 2015
Site Contacts: Paul LaGrange – Cemetery Director
After being in St. Louis to teach the Director Interns on July 8th-9th, I took the time to run up to Camp Butler National Cemetery to check in on the irrigation installation since I was in relatively close proximity to the site.
I attended the initial irrigation pre-construction meeting for the irrigation installation in April and was very impressed with the knowledge and personnel of the irrigation subcontractor for the job – Commercial Irrigation & Turf (CIT) out of Peoria, Illinois. Both the company, and the Irrigation Manager, Jim Cassidy, have a lot of experience in large turf/golf course type irrigation installation based on their web site and on references from the irrigation industry I checked with throughout the Midwest. The pictures and descriptions of the work being performed by CIT that have been sent each week from Jacobs Engineering have been evidence of good quality work.
Pictures of vibratory plow being used to install lateral piping. Notice the minimal surface disturbance with this method and the seam in the soil where the plow sliced through.
For my site visit on July 10th, my primary goal was to take a look around the cemetery at the installation work completed thus far to insure it was as good as I have seen in the reports. I am glad to say that I was very happy with what I saw of the work done so far by CIT. The controllers, valve boxes, and sprinklers installed thus far that I was able to observe while on site all seem to be more in line with my expectations as to quality of installation than I have seen out of any other irrigation contractor since I’ve been with the NCA.
These pictures show how two separate pieces of pipe were plowed in and will then be joined using solvent weld cement for a “glue” joint.
CIT chose to attempt to do a lot of their pipe installation using a vibratory plow instead of a trencher. Initially I was concerned with the potential for this methodology to cause the headstones to become miss-aligned. We discussed this concern during the pre-construction meeting and CIT said they would see how it went and if necessary would go to using the trencher if the vibratory plow caused issues. Thus far the use of the vibratory plow seems to be working well, and has allowed CIT to make steady progress on a daily basis with the installation. There have been some locations where they have had to either use a trencher, mini excavator, or hand dig trenches due to the circumstances, but for the most part they have been able to install a majority of the smaller irrigation piping using the vibratory plow.
As an organization, we should strive to hire more irrigation sub-contractors like CIT so that we can get better quality irrigation installations. They have the experience, equipment, and personnel to do large turf irrigation jobs.
I have been very happy with the progress and overall quality of the irrigation installation at Camp Butler NC. The team of Paul LaGrange and his staff, as well as the general contractor (US Diversified) and their irrigation sub-contractor (CIT), are all working together to make this a successful project.