Underground Sewer Project Completes Excavation Work
The acronym-laden Olentangy Scioto Interceptor Sewer (OSIS) Augmentation Relief Sewer (OARS) tunnel project is quite a mouthful, which is appropriate seeing as it’s the largest capital project in the history of the City of Columbus. And after five years of ongoing work, the tunnel excavation is officially complete. Local leaders gathered today to celebrate the milestone at the tunnel’s north entrance at the edge of the Arena District.
“This project means better quality water and a better quality city,” stated Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman. “Plus, I’ve always wanted a light rail system in Columbus, and now we have it! The problem is that it’s 20 stories underground and now we have to remove it.”
While the excavation work is finished, the tunnel’s capacities won’t be in use until Summer 2017 when the excess equipment is removed, final connections are completed, and the pumping station is constructed. The tunnel was created to divert sewer overflow that previously dumped into the Scioto River Downtown. The finished product should help to eliminated sewage odors that occur after heavy rains, and will keep the river flowing cleaner.
“This is a big win for our environment and our river,” stated City Councilmember Zach Kline. “It’s amazing to think about the size and scope of this project — the nerd in me gets excited about the science behind this.”
The tunnel measures 20 feet in diameter, runs 4.5 miles to the Jackson Pike Wastewater Treatment Plant on the city’s South Side, and sits as deep as 190 feet under ground. The total cost of the project is $371 million.
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All photos by Walker Evans.