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Should Sacramento Install Sewage Holding Tank Under Mckinley Park?

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - The City of Sacramento has big challenges when it comes to flooding, especially in low-lying areas of the city. So much so, that the state is now putting pressure on the city to resolve the issues.

Several plans are in place. But one of those plans may prove unpopular as it impacts the very popular McKinley Park. It a proposal that has to do with costs and smell.

"It's a lot of water. Bike gets stuck in the mud. And you can't move, and keep falling over," said Paige, an energetic 8-year-old, who comes to play, swim and ride her bike with her twin sister, Jordyn.

They may just be 8 years old, but they're old enough to understand that flooding is big issue at McKinley Park.

"This area floods, every year! The sewer systems can't handle the back up," explained their father, Bill Limpus, who has lived in the area since the 1990s.

The city has working on the problem for the past decade. They now may be closer to a solution.

Sacramento uses a combined sewer and storm drain system, which can't handle the massive amounts of water during massive storms, like from this past winter. Sewage backs up and then spills onto the street. It creates a huge mess, especially in low-lying areas like McKinley Park.

The city is proposing the McKinley Water Vault project. A massive storage tank would be placed underneath the baseball field at the park to hold rain and sewage water during heavy downpours. It's designed to help prevent flooding and to control the flow of water into the system.

"Believe me, the neighbors have real issues. The sewer water has gotten into basements of neighbor's homes. It's been pretty unpleasant," says Councilman Jeff Harris, who represents District 3 where the park is located.

But the plan is getting some push back.

"Personally I don't think this is the best location for that. But I haven't done all the research, which I hope the city has," says Limpus.

The $30 million project would mean closing the park for at least a year. It would also cause construction-related traffic issues. The water vault, or cistern, could be several stories deep.

But one of the biggest issues has to do with residents' concerns over odor coming from the trapped sewer water. The city says, that can be fixed.

"The fact of the matter is we have built these kinds of things before. And yes, odor control is an issue. And yes, there are engineering solutions to that," says Harris.

Five similar projects have already been built in the area with no complaints of foul smell said Harris.

Harris says the project could be paid for with existing funds, but some still fear a rate increase.

The McKinley Water Vault project is still in the planning stages. The city is seeking public input. The next public meeting will be scheduled for some time in August.



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