Sustaining Communities with Wastewater Management Tunnel Solutions

Tunnel construction workers standing in front of a tunnel boring machine that broke through.
Doan Valley Tunnel team standing in front of breakthrough

Weeks Marine and its subsidiaries are building on a legacy of delivering mission-critical infrastructure, marine construction and resilient waterways through its ongoing projects. Many of these projects, like freshwater and wastewater tunnels, are in line with the company’s sustainability goals and help sustain communities to improve lives and protect the environment.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s Project Clean Lake – a 25-year program to reduce the amount of pollution entering local waterways by four billion gallons per year – is one of these projects.

McNally Tunneling Corporation (McNally), a division within McNally International, Inc. – a Weeks Marine company – is among the companies supporting Project Clean Lake.

Project Clean Lake includes a combination of seven large tunnels, treatment plant improvements and expansion and green infrastructure to ultimately reducing the volume of combined sewer overflow (CSO) discharging into Lake Erie.

CSO happens when heavy rains dramatically increase water flowing through combined sewers. When this happens, control devices may allow wastewater and storm water to overflow into waterways and ultimately these can end up in the lake.

McNally, along with joint-venture partner Kiewit, has completed two of the aforementioned tunnels and are currently working on a third tunnel to help manage wastewater and realize the goals of Project Clean Lake.

The Euclid Creek and Doan Valley Tunnels have been completed and the Euclid Creek Tunnel has marked some “firsts” for the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and tunneling industry as a whole. The

“Euclid Creek Tunnel was the first tunnel in the North America that used a one-pass tunnel excavation/lining process in rock with a two-part grouting approach through the tail shield, while maintaining full annulus encapsulation, said Tom Szaraz, U.S. General Manager of McNally Tunneling Corporation. “It was also the first in the world to utilize plastic fibers for concrete reinforcement. The Euclid Creek Tunnel construction also used the deepest secant piles with excavation extended beyond the tip in the United States.”

The third tunnel is the Shoreline Storage Tunnel for which a massive, 26 foot diameter, 385 foot long earth pressure balance tunnel boring machine was built specifically for the project.

Lake Erie is one of the five Great Lakes in North America. Its shoreline passes through New York State, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan as well as Ontario. The coast is packed with destinations from beaches to fishing towns and marinas.

Among all of the recreation Lake Erie provides, it may be best known for being a world class fishery. With about 130 species of fish, people come from around the country and world to catch sturgeon, walleye, bass and more. The delicate plant and algae life in the lake are crucial to supporting our ecosystem and maintaining a healthy lake.

The land around the lake – the Lake Erie watershed – is the most populated of all Great Lakes basins. About one third of the total population of the Great Lakes basin resides within the Lake Erie watershed. This dense population makes Lake Erie vulnerable to the stress of urbanization, industry and agriculture. Of all the Great Lakes, Lake Erie receives the most wastewater from sewage treatment plants.

Lake Erie also provides fresh drinking water for 17 metropolitan areas and to more than 11 million people in total, so managing pollution and ensuring the lake stays clean is of the utmost importance.

McNally is well positioned to provide the Clean Lake Project with the level of expertise needed to construct the tunnels. McNally is recognized as a leading North American Tunnel Contractor, with experience building tunnels with a wide range of tunneling methods, for end uses including utilities (water, sewer, steam, power transmission,) and transportation (subways, traffic pedestrians walkways).

In the 1980’s, McNally Tunneling Corporation was started for operations in the United States. Based in Cleveland, OH, McNally Tunneling has completed over 25 tunnel projects throughout the US including  Birmingham, Cleveland, Houston, Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis and Columbus.

In addition to completing challenging tunnel construction projects throughout the company history, McNally has also undertaken manufacturing of precast concrete segmental liners.

To learn more about McNally, click here.

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