After three years of construction, crews in Atlanta have completed the West Area Combined Sewer Overflow Tunnel, a deep sewer tunnel that can carry and store up to 177 million gal of rain and sewage, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The tunnel will allow the city’s combined sewage overflow facilities to fully treat the mixture of street wash and household waste before it goes back to the Chattahoochee River.
The $190 million tunnel has been the most controversial piece of the city’s $4 billion overhaul of its water and sewer system.
Although opponents wanted Atlanta to modernize its combined sewers by separating sewer pipes from storm drains, officials decided on the tunnel because it could be done faster and with less disruption, the newspaper reported.
The tunnel should reduce the number of spills from the combined system from about 300 a year down to 16, the city estimated. The tunnel, in two sections, runs about 200 ft below the surface. The city is working to update its sewer-only system by 2014.
Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution