Sewer pump nearing completion
System flowing along
In everyday life, there are some very complex but overlooked processes we just don’t think about until they go wrong.
Some examples can be a car engine refusing to start or water not flowing out of a kitchen faucet. But thanks to the upcoming completion of a nearly decade-long project to upgrade the city’s most-used sewer pump, Solana Beach residents should never have to worry about system failure after they flush the toilet. It may have been just in time, as the current machine is 50 years old and reaching its service limit.
“We don’t want to wait until it fails because failure in this area is not acceptable,” City Engineer Mo Sammack said. “It turns into a catastrophe.”
The station will service the half of Solana Beach that needs force to get its sewage to the San Elijo treatment facility north of the city. Because of the area’s incline, the pump must push the waste far enough uphill to reach declining gravity slopes on the other side.
Essentially, sewage is pushed west on Via de la Valle, then north on Cedros, ultimately to a place where strength is no longer needed. At that point, gravity takes over to move it the rest of the way before it reaches the plant. The liquid waste is processed so that it is safe enough to be released into the ocean, while the solid waste will either be sold or discarded.
“It is basically a complete reconstruction of the Eden Garden pump station,” Sammack said, adding that people will not notice any difference despite the upgraded machinery.
Solana Beach originally adopted this sewer master plan in 2000, but construction did not begin until June 2008. The city retained a design-engineering firm to plan the project in 2003, but it was not until May 2008 that a builder was hired to break ground. The total cost was roughly $4.7 million.
Plans also include aesthetics for the area surrounding the pump, which will be just off the busy intersection of Via de la Valle and Valley Avenue. A brick building with a tile roof, surrounded by a wrought-iron fence and landscaping, will encapsulate the machinery. There are about five mature trees in the area, which builders were asked to maintain and work around.
Sammack said the older pump would be operational until February. At that point, a surge tank, the final component of the new machine, should be delivered and installed. Parts of the older pump will continue as a backup in case the new pump fails, but just in case, the equipment does come with a one-year warranty.
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