Pawtucket tunnel project begins | The valley breeze

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06/22/21

Officials unveiled the new Pawtucket tunnel project last Friday.

PAWTUCKET – Last Friday, the Narragansett Bay Commission inaugurated its Pawtucket Tunnel project, an important milestone that saw a lot of groundwork culminating in it.

The tunnel is the centerpiece of Phase III of NBC’s Combined Sewer Overflow Reduction Program. The project, known as RestoredWaters RI, consists of a 2.2 mile long, 125 foot deep tunnel, which will store and transport storm-related wastewater to the wastewater treatment facility. from NBC’s Bucklin Point for a full treatment.

NBC built a similar tunnel for phase I of the CSO project. Since coming online in 2008, the Phase I tunnel has captured 12.5 billion gallons of water and transported that water to the Field’s Point wastewater treatment facility. Without the project, sewage overflows from storms would end up in untreated water, officials said.

RestoredWaters RI is the largest public works project in Rhode Island history; the construction of the tunnel is estimated at 836 million dollars. The project will create 1,700 direct or indirect jobs, improve fishing and swimming beaches and create green spaces accessible to the public, those present said last week.

The Valley Breeze reported last November that NBC had purchased 10 properties on or near the edge of the Pawtucket River to help facilitate construction of the massive new stormwater tunnel. The Former Masonic Temple at 50 Pleasant Street was one of 10 properties, including several homes, purchased for a combined $ 6.85 million. This total was only a fraction of the estimated cost of $ 548 million for the tunnel works.

NBC’s Combined Sewer Overflow System Phase 3 upgrades will help store and treat up to 58.5 million gallons of storm and wastewater from Central Falls and Pawtucket before they reach the river.

The 2.2-mile, 30-foot-wide collection tunnel will run from Pawtucket to the Bucklin Point wastewater treatment facility in East Providence. The tunnel will be dug to a depth of 150 to 200 feet along the east side of the river.

This project is the first of four segments planned for phase 3. Additional connections and segments will be completed until 2041.

“We know the Rhode Islanders value a clean, healthy bay,” said NBC President Vincent Mesolella. “We are very proud of the infrastructure investments that the Narragansett Bay Commission taxpayers have made over the past two decades to alleviate the century-old problem of CSOs and we are confident that this final phase of the CSO project will result in a bay that will continue to be a beloved resource for our children and grandchildren. We call this project RestoredWaters RI because it will literally return these waters to our community.

Due to the success of Phases I and II of the NBC CSO program, 3,711 acres of shellfish fishing areas were reclassified from “conditional” to “open” and parts of the Providence River that were closed to fishing. shellfish for 75 years have now reopened. Continued expansion of shellfish fishing and recreational areas is expected as the project continues.

“Our state’s greatest environmental achievement is our progress in cleaning up Narragansett Bay and our rivers,” said Janet Coit, director of DEM. “This is happening because of the implementation of strong laws by the DEM and major investments and actions by NBC and others. I can’t say enough about the hard work of DEM and NBC. This project will continue these advances, resulting in cleaner rivers and continuing to improve water quality in the upper bay. “

“The water quality in Narragansett Bay has come a long way over the past decades, and RestoredWaters RI will build on these advances,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “This project is an investment in ensuring that the next generation of Rhode Islanders can grow up in a safe environment with clean beaches, a thriving ocean, and healthy fisheries.”

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