Residents can tour Pierce County’s wastewater treatment plant Thursday, Nov. 15, before officials break ground on its $353 million expansion.
The tours will leave at 10 a.m. from Building A at the plant, located at 10311 Chambers
Creek Road West in University Place. Visitors are asked to wear sturdy shoes because the terrain is uneven.
The ceremony begins at 11 a.m.
The plant treats sewage for more than 30 percent of Pierce County’s residents, including those living in University Place, Lakewood, DuPont, Steilacoom, portions of the city of Tacoma, and areas of unincorporated Pierce County, including Parkland, Spanaway, Frederickson, and Graham.
The plant began operating in 1984 and has undergone several expansions — the last significant one was finished in 1999 — to increase its capacity to treat sewage to up to 28.7 million gallons a day.
The plant’s service is expected to more than double to 464,000 residents by 2040. Demand is projected to exceed the plant’s current maximum capacity by 2014. The expansion project will increase the plant’s capacity to 56 million gallons per day to meet future demand, according to the plant expansion’s environmental study.
Customers have been paying for the expansion since 2010, when the first of four yearly rate increases took effect. With the final hike next January, the monthly sewer rate for single-family residences will have increased from $25.72 to $41.86.
The county has approved selling $271 million in bonds so far to finance the project, and will issue the remaining $79 million in debt after 2014.
The expansion project is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2016. Workers will take a break in June of 2015 for the U.S. Open to be played at the Chambers Bay golf course. The plant is located next to the golf course.
The expansion project represents a bit of financial boon for the city of University Place. The city will reap more than $2 million in sales-tax revenue from the plant’s construction.
Follow Christian Hill on Twitter @TNTchill