City sewer projects don’t grab headlines very often but the Colorado Ocean Relief Sewer Project is important because its dedication marks the completion of an extensive repair program of Santa Monica’s sewers.The program began after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake caused a lot of damage to the City’s sewer infrastructure. The City entered into a partnership with Federal Emergency Management Agency in order to make the repairs and upgrades the City’s sewer system ended up needing.In the end, according to the remarks made at the March 28 dedication ceremony by the City’s Director of Public and Environmental Works, Lee Swain, FEMA helped the City repair 80 percent of its sewer system which is about 125 miles of sewer. They provided about $80 million to the City over the life of the program. The City began the construction of the Colorado Ocean Relief Sewer Project portion of the program in December of 2007 and it was completed in February 2007 ahead of schedule and within budget for a total cost of $11 million. FEMA contributed $7 million of the funding and the rest of the project was funded from City wastewater funds.Swain noted that one of the major purposes of FEMA is to help “mitigate issues before they become a major problem.” The project does this by upgrading the City’s sewer system so it “can mitigate a potential hazard from a future earthquake” or other disaster and it contains enough sewer capacity for City needs as it grows.The original 30-inch diameter sewer line that ran under Colorado Avenue was built in the 1950’s and handled more than two-thirds of the City’s wastewater output. The new relief system has a 108-inch diameter inverted siphon containing two 42-inch and one 18-inch high-density polyethylene (HDPE) carrier pipes, all which run under the Holiday Inn and the 10 Freeway. The original Colorado sewer line now serves as a back up for the new system. Wastewater from the sewer flows to the Hyperion Treatment Plant.City Council member Kevin McKeown discussed the future of the former RAND site directly west of City Hall where the dedication ceremony was held. With the sewer completed, is it now all downhill to the Hyperion treatment plant. This summer, we welcome Cirque du Soleil back to the Santa Monica Pier for their 25th anniversary and the Pier’s centennial celebration. This land where we stand will allow overflow parking and help assure the success of that event..“Next, we’re currently seeking funding to design and build the next piece of our Civic Center general plan, a new four to six acre park and natural area right here, to be enjoyed by residents and everyone in the region.”
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