The city’s $342 million sewer-tunnel project pocketed a lot more money last night when Columbus City Council unanimously decided to spend an additional $29.5 million on the project. The extra cost will be paid for by increased rates for Columbus water and sewer users.
The project was started after a mandate from the Ohio EPA stated that Columbus needed to clean up wastewater runoff. The original plan was expected to cost around $2.5 billion, but construction problems and changes in construction standards have increased the total cost to more than $3 billion. The four and a half mile pipeline in the tunnel was designed to mitigate water and sewage overflows (into the Scioto River), but construction hit a snag after hitting bedrock and water about 200 feet below ground.
According to the original plans, the tunnel would have been operational this month, but after the construction problems it looks like the date has been pushed to Aug. 2017.