Ship Canal Water Storage TBM named for Seattle rock band

April 13, 2021

The tunnel boring machine (TBM) that will begin boring the Ship Canal Water Storage tunnel in Seattle, WA has been named after Seattle-based grunge rock band, MudHoney.

Seattle Public Utilities announced that the band that achieved fame in the 1980s and 90s received more than 35,000 votes. The other finalists included Daphne, Molly the Mole, Boris the Plunger and Sir Digs-A-Lot.

“Since the late ’80s, Mudhoney, the Seattle-based foursome whose muck-crusted version of rock, shot through with caustic wit and battened down by a ferocious low end, has taken a stand against overflows into our waterways,” SPU officials wrote in a pun-laden news release announcing the winning vote getter.

The Seattle Times reported that the boring machine will begin digging a 4.3-km (2.7-mile) long, 5.4-m (18-ft) diameter storage tunnel to reduce Seattle's sewer overflows by 2025, SPU officials said. The project aims to prevent an average of 75 million gallons of polluted storm water and sewage from reaching Seattle’s waterways each year.

The tunnel-boring machine is part of a $570 million, 11-year mega-project. Funding comes from the city (65 percent) and the county (35 percent) and ultimately, largely from your utility bills.

The machine arrived in pieces from its German manufacturer and will be lowered by crane, still in five pieces, into a 24-m (80-ft) wide, 21-m (70-ft) deep hole.

Currently, drainage basins in Queen Anne, Ballard, Fremont and Wallingford overflow an average of about 144 times a year — basically any time there’s heavy or prolonged rain, the city said. Once the project — which is mandated by a federal consent decree that requires the county to reduce storm and wastewater pollution — is completed in 2025 (hopefully), overflows should drop to fewer than six per year, the city said.



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