The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded a $433,700 grant to the city of Eureka for improvements for the city's wastewater conveyance system to help reduce sewage spills.
The city has an outdated wastewater collection system with more than 16 pump stations routing wastewater through a long, inefficient path to the treatment plant. During major rainstorms in past years the city has reported overflows from the wastewater collection system into the environment, which in some cases reached Humboldt Bay.
The Martin Slough Interceptor project will construct a major interceptor sewer and pump station to convey wastewater more efficiently to the City's Elk River Wastewater Treatment Plant. The project will also reduce odors from the wastewater system by providing a shorter path to the treatment plant and by eliminating the routing of wastewater through multiple sewer lift stations.
"The project will improve the conveyance capacity of the current wastewater conveyance system," explained David Tyson, Eureka City Manager.
"This project should reduce sewage spills, and protect both human health and the Humboldt Bay ecosystem. This will also translate into energy savings for the city, as many of the old pumping stations will be taken off line," said Alexis Strauss, director of the EPA's water division in San Francisco. "We are pleased to help fund this much needed project."
The EPA grant will supplement local funding provided by wastewater revenue reserves and bonds. The current estimated cost of the total project is $22 million.
Eureka's wastewater conveyance system has evolved slowly without a master plan as the city has developed over the past 100 years. A large portion of the wastewater, especially from the unincorporated area south of the city, flows to the site of the former treatment plant now located in an opposite corner of the city. Wastewater therefore needs to be pumped all the way across the city to the new treatment plant location.