Balfour Beatty Joint Venture Contains the Rain at LAX APM’s MSF

Ashley Webb

We all know the disruption rain can cause to a project schedule – but the disruption and damage it can cause the environment is equally significant.

The LINXS Constructors team, a joint venture between Balfour Beatty, Dragados, Flatiron Construction, and Fluor, implemented stormwater mitigation measures for the Maintenance and Storage Facility (MSF) at Los Angeles World Airports’ Automated People Mover (APM) project.

“The MSF construction site has experienced persistent on-and-off showers, impacting the amount of rainwater on the jobsite,” explains Chad Olsen, Balfour Beatty senior project manager at MSF. “But, our sustainability team was prepared for the challenge. Our stormwater pollution prevention plan has been thoroughly executed to retain the required amount of rainwater on the site, avoiding the chance of polluting the environment in and around our jobsite.”

If stormwater mitigation efforts aren’t planned or implemented, rainwater can send muddy, dirty water down the storm drain and into the ocean. The LINXS Constructors team started their earthwork in 2019, excavating and recompacting the soil at the nine-acre construction site and setting up retention and detention ponds to keep rainwater on the site as much as possible.

“LINXS Constructors engaged LAWA, project designers and environmental professionals early in the construction process to embed our stormwater prevention plan at the beginning of the design stage,” says Tony Bale, Balfour Beatty environmental, health and safety manager. “This helped us to have a collaborative understanding of our sustainability efforts and how our company was going to successfully implement the mitigation of potential excess rainwater leaving the project site.”

The stormwater pollution prevention plan includes the process of directing rainwater into two onsite retention basins that will be part of the design. Accumulated rainwater onsite helps to keep designated work areas on the jobsite dry and storm drain inlets free of silt and debris. Keeping these areas dry after rainfall allows for the necessary construction work including excavating footings and placing concrete and pipe into the ground to deliver the MSF.

The design plan also includes the design and installation of four 80-foot deep drywells, an underground structure that disposes of unwanted water (most commonly surface runoff) stormwater and in some cases greywater. The covered, porous-walled chamber allows water to slowly soak into the ground, dissipating into the groundwater.

“Planning these efforts in advance worked to our advantage, especially whenever the construction site experiences rain,” says Kyle Frandsen, Balfour Beatty project executive. “All of our design efforts were executed effectively, further putting us in a position to seek LEED Gold certification for the MSF. We are proud of our efforts in keeping our sites sustainable and looking forward to executing more measures to meet the sustainability needs of LAWA.”

The LINXS joint venture is committed to achieving an Envision award with a goal of Platinum and LEED Gold for the MSF at the APM project.

Once complete, the APM and the MSF will be industry leading in their sustainability achievements and provide a new, sustainable gateway to Los Angeles – in all kinds of weather