On October 14, CE112 students went to the Center for Smart Infrastructure at Richmond Field Station to observe a pipeline failure test in a lecture by Professor Kenichi Soga and East Bay Municipal Utility District staff. Soga adds that as part of the test, students observed the failure of the pipeline to understand the mechanism behind how the pipeline works and get to know the details. He noted that “failure doesn’t often happen, so it is important to understand for students to see it fail in field testing as models are often simplified in a lab environment.”
Students also observed a robot dog and drone equipped with LiDAR sensors. The LiDAR sensors provide a clear view of the excavation site to scan the trenching to see what is in the ground so that it becomes a database for future generations to use to help prevent them from experiencing similar infrastructure challenges. Soga says that where the LiDAR sensors shine is “when we excavate a pipeline as it would be good to record what’s going on during construction since what we find in the ground in a field environment is very different compared to a clean lab environment.”
CE112, “Water & Wastewater Systems Design and Operation,” is a new undergraduate course created this year by Soga, Wonjun, Shih-hung, and EBMUD subject-matter experts. The course covers several topics, including the design of a wastewater system, a pipeline system, the history of the water industry, and new challenges involved with climate change, with students learning from EBMUD experts every week on a new topic.