Progress continues to be made at North River Road as the City of West Lafayette installs infrastructure that will prevent stormwater and wastewater overflow from polluting the Wabash River.
During the month of February, 442 feet of the underground storage tunnel was completed. To accomplish this, more than 4,110 cubic yards of dirt was excavated, putting the project total at 19,110 total cubic yards; and 702 cubic yards of concrete was poured, pushing the project total to 2,928 cubic yards.
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.