The 2015 Bridge Award and Public Officials Night
This year’s Public Officials Night will have a special presentation to (arguably) one of the top one or two influential projects in Sonoma County history ever build with public/private collaboration.
If you were one of the over seven hundred construction workers, or one of the many engineers or consultants that had a role or interest in the design or construction of this monumental undertaking, you will want to attend the ECA Public Officials Night on April 7 (please review the attached flyer). At that event, the ECA has commissioned a production firm to produce a short, 15-20 minute documentary video depicting the need, the vision, the design, and the construction of this enormous project that takes treated wastewater and pumps it up into the hills between Sonoma and Lake Counties to re-inject the effluent into the steam fields for power generation. It is a one of a kind solution to a common pollution problem that is uniquely ours. I hope you read the following and it helps you remember how unique this project is and how impactful it has become to our local communities, businesses, and agencies.
After an unsuccessful 13-year search for a weather-independent solution to the area’s wastewater disposal challenges, the environmental process for the Geysers Recharge Project began in 1993. It took another seven years of project planning and design, environmental studies, legal wrangling, and contracting with construction companies before the first piece of pipe was laid into the ground in the summer of 2000.
The pipeline project runs along public roadways as much as possible to minimize impacts to the environment and private properties. Nevertheless, once construction began, it continued to encounter political and legal challenges mostly from businesses, residents, property owners and farmers affected by construction activities.
Undaunted, city and project leaders stood by their convictions and the pipeline continued along its 41-mile course through Santa Rosa, the neighboring communities of Windsor and Healdsburg and up to its terminal tank overlooking the Geysers steamfields high in the Mayacamas Mountains.
On its way to completion, the pipeline burrowed beneath the Russian River in two locations – requiring tunnels up to 90 feet deep and 600 feet long; climbed over 3,000 vertical feet up the steep, narrow and winding Pine Flat Road; and tip-toed (as much as a large construction project can) through the environmentally sensitive Mayacamas Mountain Audubon Sanctuary. Pump stations along the route were designed to visually blend into the surroundings and operate almost noiselessly.
Nine construction companies and over 700 people were involved in building the Geysers Recharge Project, which took three years to complete.
That’s all folks-
Presidents Message 3-21-16
ECA Public Officials Night
This year we will be honoring over 700 workers who helped build the Geysers Pipeline Project completed in 2003.
This year’s Public Officials Night will start a new tradition and I want to make certain all that see the benefit in fostering and honoring relationships between the public and private sectors have ample chance to attend, invite those public officials you work with, and perhaps even reach out to some clients to have them attend and let them see for themselves a little about this great organization, our own Engineering Contractors Association.
If you remember back in the 1990’s, our wastewater had spilled into the Russian River, and the “Moratorium” word was prevalent. A solution was needed to final disposal of our treated wastewater from Cotati, Rohnert Park, Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, and Windsor. Possible solutions included a giant reservoir our on Lakeville Highway, and a unique concept of deep root watering of redwood trees with effluent, as well as an ocean outfall near Salmon Creek into the Pacific. There was tremendous environmental pressure exerted on the City of Santa Rosa to come up with a solution. Around the same time, the geysers geothermal steam fields were suffering from a reduction in steam used to generate power. Bechtel was commissioned to write a report on recharging the steam fields with Clearlake water, and the “lightbulb went off” in some of our more influential minds around here. Why not combine lake water with effluent disposal and pump it back into the steam fields? Lake County was the first to do it, and once the City of Santa Rosa saw the solution was able to work, the other side of the mountain got busy and the geysers pipeline project was designed and built.
Please come out in force to honor this project and to invite and eat with public officials from all over. This night will be the first time we have held the Public Officials Night at Rohnert Park Community Center (it was always held in Petaluma at the Fairgrounds). Help us support the ECA and sponsor seats or the event itself. Please contact Mary for further information!