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June Construction Update

The installation of infrastructure at North River Road by the City of West Lafayette is advancing, aiming to protect the Wabash River from pollution caused by stormwater and wastewater overflow.

During the month of May, more than 3,490 cubic yards of dirt was excavated, putting the project total at 29,010 total cubic yards; and 852 cubic yards of concrete was poured, pushing the project total to 5,182 cubic yards.

Some fun facts about those numbers:

  • Each of our sheets are 42’ long. So, to date if we laid the sheets end to end that line would be over 7.5 miles long….. Mt Everest is 29,032’.
  • Over 545 concrete trucks full of concrete, which if parked end to end the line of trucks would be over 3.5 miles long.
  • The tunnel itself can hold 1.7 million gallons, which could fill over 2 and a half Olympic swimming pools.

This construction is part of a three-phase project called River Road CSO. Currently, West Lafayette’s sewer system transports stormwater and wastewater through one system to the wastewater treatment plant. During normal rain events with 1⁄4-inch of rainfall or more, the combined system capacity can become overwhelmed, resulting in stormwater and wastewater overflowing into the Wabash River. This is referred to as a combined sewer overflow, or CSO.

In an effort to reduce CSO events and improve the health of the Wabash River, the City of West Lafayette began the first phase of River Road CSO in 2016. Since that phase’s completion, the area has seen a reduction from 150 overflows in a five-year period to less than five since 2017.

Once this second phase is completed in Fall 2023, the area impacted by closures will see a similar reduction in CSO events. By Spring 2026, the third phase of River Road CSO will be underway, expanding and updating the West Lafayette Water Resource Recovery Facility in order to process a higher volume of stormwater and wastewater.

In all, River Road CSO will help the City of West Lafayette protect the Wabash while meeting standards set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Indiana Department of Environmental Management.