You asked for it and here it is. An opportunity to see the Big Dig in Indianapolis. Here is a little history followed by lots of rules. Please pay attention.
The DigIndy Tunnel System is a 28-mile long network of 18-foot diameter deep rock tunnels being built 250-feet beneath the city. Along with other projects in the combined sewer system and at Citizens two advanced wastewater treatment plants, the $2 billion program is Indy’s solution to reducing combined sewer overflows into area waterways by up to 97% and keeping the utility in compliance with a Consent Decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Combined sewers convey both storm water and wastewater (sewage) in one piping system. Historically, more than 800 communities across the United States built combined sewers once indoor plumbing became commonplace in the late 1800s.
During normal rain events with ¼-inch of rainfall or more, the combined system capacity can become overwhelmed, resulting in a mixture of stormwater and wastewater overflowing into area waterways. This is referred to as a combined sewer overflow (CSO) event, which causes a threat to public health and the environment.
At 250-feet below ground, the DigIndy Tunnel System will store more than 250 million gallons of combined sewage during and after wet weather, and then slowly release the sewage to the Southport Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant, which will discharge clean water back to our waterways. When the project is complete, combined sewage overflows into Indiana waterways will nearly be eliminated, and water quality will be greatly improved. The DigIndy tunnel system is 225’ to 250’ below grade. The drop shaft allows the flow to drop to the depth of the tunnel.
This tour is limited to the first 15 members that respond to Joel with an RSVP. Please wear solid shoes, long pants and shirts, steel-toed boots and hard hats if you have them.
There will be a safety briefing (pay attention) and presentation followed by the ride in a cage into the shaft, stopping at various levels with explanations of the construction.
Here is my take on it: You will be dropped into an abyss with minimal light. In the event of a failure of the lighting system it will be pitch dark and everyone knows that is when the monsters come out! So, if you are claustrophobic, afraid of the dark, dream about being buried underground, worry about monsters this is not the tour for you.
Michael Miller, PE
Manager – Manager – Construction Underground Engineering and Construction at Citizens Energy Group and in charge of the DigIndy project will lead the tour. Mr. Miller has been with Citizens Energy for over 5 years. He has a BSCE and a MSCE from Michigan University with a specialty of Geotechnical Engineering. Prior to working at Citizens Mike worked at NTH as a Vice President and Senior Associate.
2 PDHs - $40 for Members. Voluntary donation of $5 will be accepted for our scholarship donations. This is closed to non-members. There are only 15 spots and they will be on a first come basis.
Please note that this higher than our typical charge for PDHs but this will be a very special tour that has taken over a year to set up. We will never get this opportunity again.