IBJNews

Work on city's 8-mile sewage tunnel gets underway

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Work is starting on an 8-mile-long tunnel under the south side of Indianapolis that is the first major part of a $1.6 billion project aimed at reducing the release of raw sewage into the city's rivers.

The plan calls for crews to bore the 18-foot diameter tunnel about 250 feet underground between a sewage treatment plant on the city's far south side to a location near the White River near downtown. The work is expected to take five years and be followed by four shorter tunnels that will contain water from the city's combined storm and sanitary sewers after storms until it can be treated.

"Any time any significant rainfall occurs, even a quarter of an inch, we're putting raw sewage in the White River and Fall Creek — conditions that we can't tolerate," Carey Lykins, president and CEO of Citizens Energy Group, parent company of the city water utility, told WISH-TV.

Crews have started prep work on digging the shaft for the tunnel and drilling work is expected to begin by late fall after gargantuan boring equipment arrives on 40 semitrailers for assembly, officials announced Wednesday.

The project is required under a 2006 agreement between the city and federal and state environmental agencies to reduce sewage releases into the waterways by 2025.

Los Angeles-based Aecom Technology Corp. was chosen last September for a $25 million contract to manage construction of the sewage overflow tunnel and pump.

When complete, city officials say, the 25 miles of tunnels will be able to store 250 million gallons during and after rainstorms and reduce untreated sewage overflow by at least 95 percent.

Kevin Hardie, executive director of the Friends of the White River preservation group, called the project a significant step.

Money for the project is coming from recent annual hikes in city sewer rates, including a 10.8-percent increase this year and a similar increase planned for 2013.

The drilling work deep underground isn't expected to draw much attention as officials say slight vibrations lasting a few hours or a day are the only thing residents might notice immediately above any work area.

Mayor Greg Ballard said he believed the completed project would make the city's rivers much cleaner and more attractive for recreation and development.

"It's going to put a lot more activities at or near the waterways," Ballard said. "That's the intent so that we can really use it as an economic development asset."

ADVERTISEMENT

  • What are the risks to underground water?
    What safeguards ensure raw sewage from this eight mile long tunnel doesn't leach into the aquifer? Might this be a case of "out of sight, out of mind," for the immediate future?

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Aaron is my fav!

  2. Let's see... $25M construction cost, they get $7.5M back from federal taxpayers, they're exempt from business property tax and use tax so that's about $2.5M PER YEAR they don't have to pay, permitting fees are cut in half for such projects, IPL will give them $4K under an incentive program, and under IPL's VFIT they'll be selling the power to IPL at 20 cents / kwh, nearly triple what a gas plant gets, about $6M / year for the 150-acre combined farms, and all of which is passed on to IPL customers. No jobs will be created either other than an handful of installers for a few weeks. Now here's the fun part...the panels (from CHINA) only cost about $5M on Alibaba, so where's the rest of the $25M going? Are they marking up the price to drive up the federal rebate? Indy Airport Solar Partners II LLC is owned by local firms Johnson-Melloh Solutions and Telemon Corp. They'll gross $6M / year in triple-rate power revenue, get another $12M next year from taxpayers for this new farm, on top of the $12M they got from taxpayers this year for the first farm, and have only laid out about $10-12M in materials plus installation labor for both farms combined, and $500K / year in annual land lease for both farms (est.). Over 15 years, that's over $70M net profit on a $12M investment, all from our wallets. What a boondoggle. It's time to wise up and give Thorium Energy your serious consideration. See http://energyfromthorium.com to learn more.

  3. Markus, I don't think a $2 Billion dollar surplus qualifies as saying we are out of money. Privatization does work. The government should only do what private industry can't or won't. What is proven is that any time the government tries to do something it costs more, comes in late and usually is lower quality.

  4. Some of the licenses that were added during Daniels' administration, such as requiring waiter/waitresses to be licensed to serve alcohol, are simply a way to generate revenue. At $35/server every 3 years, the state is generating millions of dollars on the backs of people who really need/want to work.

  5. I always giggle when I read comments from people complaining that a market is "too saturated" with one thing or another. What does that even mean? If someone is able to open and sustain a new business, whether you think there is room enough for them or not, more power to them. Personally, I love visiting as many of the new local breweries as possible. You do realize that most of these establishments include a dining component and therefore are pretty similar to restaurants, right? When was the last time I heard someone say "You know, I think we have too many locally owned restaurants"? Um, never...

ADVERTISEMENT