All hands on deck! Seattle’s hottest tube needs you.
This summer, Seattle Public Utilities is drilling a new tunnel along the ship canal. A machine will bore a massive 29-million-gallon chamber that will be filled with the most horrible water imaginable: Combined runoff from streets and homes. (You know. Rainwater, plus the stuff you flush. Effluvia. Don’t make me get any grosser.)
The only problem, for now, at least? Nobody knows what to call the giant 19-foot-diameter boring machine that will spend its summer vacation carving through the dark, dirty earth below Fremont. These machines typically have cutesy names, but this one will arrive unchristened, and the SPU is turning to you local rascals to give it a name. (Anyone who nominates Drilly McDrillface will be thrown into a vat of sewage.)
Current suggestions from the SPU team are Drill Nye, Jimmi Hendrillx, Sir Drillsalot, Drill Gates, and Pearl “I Hope It Doesn’t” Jam. These are terrible. Help.
Here are a few facts that may help you concoct a name for the machine: It is 65 feet long, or about the length of a bowling lane. It is over 20 feet tall, so slightly taller than Lady Dimitrescu. While it is in operation, there are between 8 and 10 people inside of it, which is roughly equivalent to the number of children inside a human body on an episode of The Magic Schoolbus.
Submit your suggestions on this page, and then check back on March 18 for voting.
The tunnel is needed because the neighborhoods near the canal — Ballard, Queen Anne, Fremont, Downtown, Capitol Hill — have been producing so much wastewater that our sewage system can’t keep up, and so excess untreated waste is just dumped into the canal, the bay, and Lake Washington. It’s incredibly disgusting, and it’s why you shouldn’t go anywhere near those bodies of water during very heavy rain. (The alternative, of course, is far worse, which is to let everything back up in the system until it starts spurting out of other openings.)
Once the storage tank is finished, it’ll prevent tens of millions of gallons of truly foul material from washing up in Seattle’s waterways.
Look, I know that a sewage tunnel is not the most glamorous or exciting of projects, and it might not precisely be the sort of thing that you want your name — or a name you conceived — attached to. But this machine is going to burrow a space under the ground that will be subjected to the grossest of possible indignities, a chamber to accommodate your foulest of emissions, and the very least we can do is lavish everything and everyone involved with gratitude.
It is the ship canal tunnel, and not our local waterways or bathtubs, that will serve as the vessel for … you know … all that ick. There but for the grace of this massive machine go we. Give it a good name.