By Richard Earnest
Mayor, Del Mar
The City Council and residents broke ground on March 4 at 10 a.m. next to the city's tennis courts for the construction of a replacement sewer pump station. The new sewer pump station's design offers improved energy efficiency and new storage for emergencies.
This new station pumps the majority of the city's and the Del Mar Fairgrounds sewage to the city of San Diego for treatment and to be reclaimed for irrigation use. This project has been in the works for a number of years and is finally in the construction stage.
The city worked with the Parks and Recreation Committee, the Energy Issues Advisory Committee and the Design Review Board to craft a plan to replace the aging 21st Street sewer pump station with the new state-of-the-art station which will have a public restroom for the park (finally, we can get rid of the portable toilet), a new basketball court to replace the existing court, improved ADA accessibility, and finally, a station not subject to flood water failure.
The project will take a couple of years to complete. Once the new station is operational, it will be tested in parallel for a few months before the old station can be demolished and the rest of the park improvements completed. Access from 21st Street will be available for the existing tennis courts. Parking will be restricted to 21st Street. The parking lot and basketball court will be out of service until the project is completed. Basketball hoops are available at the Shores Park next to the baseball field as an alternative.
The station will pump on an average day about 650,000 gallons, but on peak days, it can deliver over 2 million gallons a day. This sewage is pumped uphill to the south almost 20 stories to clear the elevation difference before flowing by gravity to San Diego. It replaces a 40-year-old (tin can) station that is buried about 25 feet below the surface and the other equipment located in the fenced area by the tennis courts.
Public Works has spent many sleepless nights nurturing along the old station and cannot wait for the new station to become operational. Your City Council is anxious as well. The new station will provide years of reliability and improved operational capability. The prospect of failure of the old station and the potential of a disastrous sewage spill is not an acceptable alternative to our city.