Pierce County residents are invited to celebrate the start of construction on the Chambers Creek Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion with a groundbreaking ceremony at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15, at the plant, located at 10311 Chambers Creek Road W in University Place. The public is also invited to take a tour of the site at 10 a.m.
The $353 million expansion will increase sewer capacity and enable the county to repair and replace aging infrastructure at the plant, which serves a large area. The project is expected to be completed in fall 2016.
"Building this project now, while interest rates are at an all-time low, benefits our existing customers and supports future economic development," said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy. "The project also introduces new technologies that help protect the environment and builds the foundation for meeting increasingly stringent environmental regulations."
The expansion project is funded primarily through a series of three bond sales. Each bond has a 30-year payback period. Additional funding comes from a $13 million Public Works Trust Fund loan, connection charges for new developments, state grants and monthly rates collected from sewer customers.
So far, work has focused on the project design and site preparation. The expansion project will nearly double the footprint of the current treatment plant from 49 acres to 89 acres and will increase treatment capacity from 28.7 million gallons per day to 43 million gallons per day.
"We are building for the future now, which will save money in the long run," said Brian Ziegler, Pierce County Public Works and Utilities director. "Our design decisions have factored in short- and long-term costs over the life of the facility, including initial cost, maintenance, repair, operations, and energy savings."
Infrastructure improvements consist of upgrades to the laboratory, rehabilitation of existing buildings, and expansion of many of the treatment facilities such as the digesters, aeration basins and secondary clarifiers.
During the work, drivers can expect to see an increase in construction-related traffic around the site. An open house will be held in early 2013 to discuss anticipated traffic and project details with the public.
Visit www.piercecountywa.org/sewerexpansion for more information on the project.
Those interested in taking the 45-minute tour should meet at Building A at 10 a.m. on Nov. 15. The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. in Building A. Following the ceremony, officials will break ground outside on the plant grounds.
Speakers include McCarthy and Ziegler, as well as Councilmembers Tim Farrell (District 4), Dick Muri (District 6) and Stan Flemming (District 7), Public Work and Utilities Wastewater Utility Manager Tim Ramsaur.
Attendees are encouraged to wear sturdy shoes during the tour and ceremony, as the plant has uneven terrain. When attendees arrive at the plant, they should follow the signs to the reserved parking lot. Carpooling is encouraged.