Metropolitan Water District Christens TBM

A tunnel boring machine that will help complete a water pipeline to serve growing western Riverside County communities is being named for 20th century environmentalist Rachel Carson, thanks to third-grade Moreno Valley student Jessica Wang whose submission was chosen in a recent contest held by Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Metropolitan launched the tunnel project and celebrated the winning name during an event held Jan. 25 at the March Field Air Museum. The new mile-long portion of the Perris Valley Pipeline is being built under the museum, starting with the tunnel excavation by the 13-ton, 16.5-ft-long machine newly named by Wang.

“I want to thank all the students for participating in the contest to name this tunnel boring machine and especially our winner, Ms. Wang, for putting so much thought and creativity into her submission,” said Metropolitan General Manager Adel Hagekhalil, adding that the competition was open to students in grades 3-12 at local schools.

“This student involvement reminds us that our future relies on the fresh ideas and innovation of our next generation. I applaud our youth for engaging with us and learning about the importance of their local water infrastructure,” Hagekhalil said. “Through our infrastructure investments, Metropolitan is ensuring safe and reliable water for all, with no one left behind, while uplifting our communities.”

In Wang’s submission, she wrote, “Rachel (Carson) was important because she was the woman who challenged the notion that humans could obtain mastery over nature by chemicals, bombs and space travel . . .Carson loved writing and nature.”

The Rachel Carson Tunnel Boring Machine will begin excavating the tunnel for the Perris Valley Pipeline extension next week, moving 30-40 feet per day. The pipeline currently delivers water to communities in western Riverside County. The new tunnel will expand the delivery of water to these communities.

“It is impressive to see the various ways Metropolitan is working to complete critical infrastructure projects within their system to support the communities its member agencies collectively serve,” said Jeff Armstrong, Metropolitan board director representing Eastern Municipal Water District, one of the agencies that will benefit from the project. “By investing in infrastructure projects Metropolitan will continue meeting the needs of residents throughout its service area.”

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