Tacoma awarded $6M for wastewater treatment plant floodwall

A decision last week to award a $6 million grant to the City of Tacoma will help build a floodwall around Tacoma’s Central Wastewater Treatment Plant.

According to City of Tacoma officials, the plant, which is located in a low-lying area at 2201 East Portland Avenue, receives and treats more than 130 million gallons of wastewater per day during large storm events before it flows into Commencement Bay. Eighty per cent of the wastewater comes from Tacoma, but the plant also treats the wastewater from about 19,500 customers in Fife, Fircrest and unincorporated Pierce County.

“When it floods, this location can become a regional liability,” said Tacoma City Councilmember Ryan Mello. In the past, the City of Tacoma has had to pull emergency crews off of flood responses in other areas to secure the plant from rising waters. “Residents throughout the county have reasons to be thankful for the decision.”

On Oct. 9, the Flood Control Zone District Board announced it would provide the funding over a six-year period. The board noted project was selected primarily due to its high-risk ranking — namely, an overflow from the plant could introduce untreated wastewater into Puget Sound, impacting water-based businesses, recreation activities, and wildlife.

The City of Tacoma’s Environmental Services has funded the project’s $1.2 million design and will need to fund another $1.5 million in construction costs. The year-long construction project is expected to begin next spring.

Tacoma's Central Wastewater Treatment Plant. (PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF TACOMA)

Tacoma’s Central Wastewater Treatment Plant. (PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF TACOMA)