Chafee to inspect sewer project, now halfway through Phase II
GOV. LINCOLN D. CHAFEE will inspect the Narragansett Bay Commission’s $1 billion Combined Sewer Overflow Project on Tuesday. Above, a photo of the microtunneling machine used in Phase II of the project for the construction of two pipes along the Seekonk and Woonasquatucket rivers.
COURTESY NARRAGANSETT BAY COMMISSION/PETER GOLDBERG
A MAP OF PHASE II construction of the Narragansett Bay Commission's Combined Sewer Overflow Project shows an overlay of the Woonasquatucket River tunnel currently under construction.
PROVIDENCE – Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee is scheduled to go underground in a small cage elevator Tuesday to get a close-up view of progress on the Narragansett Bay Commission’s $1 billion Combined Sewer Overflow Project.
The three-phase project began in 2008 and is now at the halfway point of Phase II, said Narragansett Bay Commission spokeswoman Jamie Samons.
The federally mandated project is a result of the Clean Water Act passed in 1972 to establish fishable and swimmable standards for all navigable waters. Rhode Island’s system of combined sewage and stormwater discharge, built in the 1800s, had to be upgraded to meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act.
“The discharges now drop into the tunnel and then the water in the tunnel is conveyed to a wastewater treatment facility,” said Samons.
The Combined Sewer Overflow Project has captured and treated 5.5 billion gallons of combined sewage and rainwater since 2008, which has led to significant water quality improvements in Narragansett Bay, said Samons.
Phase II of the project will build two smaller pipes, one along the Seekonk River and one along the Woonasquatucket River, that will be used to transport more overflow sewage into the big tunnel and the storage tanks. Its cost is estimated at about $250 million.