Truckloads of dirt are leaving the plant in Sacramento as construction crews prepare the ground for a new pump station and new drying basins for the sediment that comes into the system with the river water.
The city’s project manager Ian Pietz says the existing pumps are inadequate and the sediment basins are deteriorating.
“That is at the end of its life cycle. We’ve got, underneath there, exposed columns where you can see the rebar," he says. "It’s actually to the point of near failure and that is why we need to get this done.”
When it’s completed in 2016, the project will replace the pumps and part of the filtration system that was built in the 1940’s.
City Manager John Shirey says a combination of the $170 million plant renovation project and more conservation will help the city meet the goal of using less water from the American River.
“We’re also installing water meters to encourage people to conserve water and to charge people who use too much water," he says. "And along with putting in the meters, we’re replacing some of the basic water lines in neighborhoods throughout our city.”
Bond sales and utility rate increases are funding the construction, which also includes a centrifuge for drying solids.