Sanitation Districts Unveil «Rachel,» the Tunneling Machine That Will Build LA County’s Second Longest Tunnel

CARSON, Calif., April 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts (Sanitation Districts) unveiled «Rachel,» a state-of-the-art tunnel…

CARSON, Calif., April 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts (Sanitation Districts) unveiled «Rachel,» a state-of-the-art tunnel boring machine (TBM) that will build a tunnel as part of the Clearwater Project.  This project will protect local waterways by addressing aging infrastructure. The event program featured several distinguished speakers and recognized finalists of TBM naming and art contests for LA County students.

The Clearwater Project was the result of a multi-year planning and environmental review effort to ensure the reliability of the Sanitation Districts’ main sewer system that serves over 5 million people. This system’s largest wastewater treatment plant uses two tunnels that are over 60 years old to convey cleaned water to the ocean. The planning effort identified the need for a new tunnel to ensure the reliability of this critical part of the sewer system. The new 18-foot diameter, 7-mile long tunnel will address concerns about the integrity of the existing tunnels, earthquake resilience and capacity. Tunneling will start this summer and finish about 4 years later.

«This is a once-in-a-generation project and we’re excited to be on the verge of tunneling,» said Sanitation Districts’ General Manager Robert C. Ferrante. «I want to thank all the people who helped get us to this point. There were years of planning and design work by our staff and many outside experts as well as support from Carson and the City of Los Angeles

«This project has been a long time in the making, but I think that staff has taken the right approach in carefully planning and designing such an important project,» said Sanitation Districts’ Board Chair and Whittier City Councilmember Cathy Warner. «As Californians, we enjoy a great standard of living in large part due to the quality of our infrastructure. This project is an investment to maintain that standard of living and preserve the environment for our grandkids.»

«Infrastructure investments such as the Clearwater Project also support local jobs by making it possible for businesses to locate here in LA, knowing that they will have good, reliable wastewater service and their workers will have a good quality of life,» said Los Angeles City Councilmember and Sanitation Districts Director Joe Buscaino.  

«I also commend the Sanitation Districts,» Buscaino added, «for planning this project so that there will be little to no disruption to the local community, as the bulk of the surface activity will be located at the shaft site next to the treatment plant.»

LA County students were invited to enter a contest to name the TBM and another contest to submit artwork illustrating the importance of protecting our waters.  At the event, finalists for these contests were recognized.  The winning name came from Hanna Hsu, a 5th grader at Highland Oaks Middle School in Arcadia. Hanna suggested the winning name Rachel, after Rachel Carson who helped spark the environmental movement. 

The TBM name and winning artwork were placed on the side of the TBM where they will accompany the TBM on its 4-year journey.  The artwork winners were: Dagny Tang, a second grader at Montemalaga Elementary School in Palos Verdes; Ashanti Perez, a seventh grader at Thomas Starr King Middle School in Los Angeles; and Emilie Tyler, a senior at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School. All contest submissions from finalists can be viewed at

The Sanitation Districts are a regional public agency that serves the wastewater and solid waste management needs of 78 cities and unincorporated areas in Los Angeles County. The agency protects public health and the environment and, in so doing, converts waste into resources like recycled water, green energy and recycled materials.

For more information on the Clearwater Project, visit:

CONTACT: Bryan Langpap


Note to editors: Photos of the event are available here.

Cision View original content to download multimedia:

SOURCE Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County