Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts Unveils Clearwater TBM

The Dragados team poses with Rachel, the TBM that will construct the Clearwater effluent tunnel.

The Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts (Sanitation Districts) on April 15 unveiled “Rachel,” a state-of-the-art tunnel boring machine (TBM) that will build a new effluent tunnel as part of the Clearwater Project. The unveiling event featured several distinguished speakers and recognized finalists of TBM naming and art contests for LA County students.

The Clearwater Project is the result of a multi-year planning and environmental review effort to ensure the reliability of the Sanitation Districts’ main sewer system that serves over 5 million people. This system’s largest wastewater treatment plant uses two tunnels that are over 60 years old to convey cleaned water to the ocean. The planning effort identified the need for a new tunnel to ensure the reliability of this critical part of the sewer system. The new 18-ft diameter, 7-mile long tunnel will address concerns about the integrity of the existing tunnels, earthquake resilience and capacity. Tunneling will start this summer and finish about 4 years later.

“This is a once-in-a-generation project and we’re excited to be on the verge of tunneling,” said Sanitation Districts’ General Manager Robert C. Ferrante.

LA County students were invited to enter a contest to name the TBM and another contest to submit artwork illustrating the importance of protecting our waters. At the event, finalists for these contests were recognized. The winning name came from Hanna Hsu, a 5th grader at Highland Oaks Middle School in Arcadia. Hanna suggested the winning name Rachel, after Rachel Carson who helped spark the environmental movement.

The TBM name and winning artwork were placed on the side of the TBM where they will accompany the TBM on its 4-year journey. The artwork winners were: Dagny Tang, a second grader at Montemalaga Elementary School in Palos Verdes; Ashanti Perez, a seventh grader at Thomas Starr King Middle School in Los Angeles; and Emilie Tyler, a senior at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School. All contest submissions from finalists can be viewed at www.clearwater.lacsd.org/schoolContestResults.asp.

The Sanitation Districts are a regional public agency that serves the wastewater and solid waste management needs of 78 cities and unincorporated areas in Los Angeles County. The agency protects public health and the environment and, in so doing, converts waste into resources like recycled water, green energy and recycled materials.

For more information on the Clearwater Project, visit: www.clearwater.lacsd.org.

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