Name the TBM Contest

Silicon Valley Clean Water
Tunnel Boring Machine Naming Contest​

Construction starts this fall digging out over three miles of tunnel to Silicon Valley Clean Water’s wastewater treatment plant in Redwood Shores. A Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) will be at work excavating through a variety of soils, dozens of feet underground. As the TBM advances, precast concrete segments will be installed that will support the new wastewater conveyance pipeline vital to protecting public health and the environment.

In a mining tradition that dates back centuries, it’s considered good luck to give tunneling machines a name before they start work. Because most of the tunnel will be constructed under Redwood Shores Parkway, we’re inviting residents and workers from the community to compete in a contest to name this powerful and amazing machine. Not only could your winning entry be displayed on the Tunnel Boring Machine, you’ll get a rare opportunity for an inside tour!

About the Contest

The contest winner will receive:

  • Recognition at a special TBM project kickoff event announcing the winning name, as well as recognition in news releases and on the website.
  • And the ultimate Redwood Shores underground tour – a rare opportunity for an inside view of the TBM at work. The precise scheduling of the tour is subject to contractor and work requirements.

Contest Rules

  • The contest is open to anyone over 18 years of age who resides or works in Redwood Shores, California. Silicon Valley Clean Water employees and contractors are not eligible to participate.
  • Only one submission per person is allowed.
  • Entries must be received by 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, 2019.
  • All entries become the property of Silicon Valley Clean Water and SVCW reserves the right to use any and all information related to the contest for editorial, marketing and any other purpose, unless prohibited by law. No consideration will be paid to the winner.
  • By entering the contest, contestants agree to the rules, and the winner agrees to participate in any media opportunities related to the contest. To the extent permitted by law,the winner shall hold SVCW harmless from any liability or other claims whatsoever associated with the contest.
  • At the sole discretion of SVCW, entries will be automatically denied that include harsh, vulgar, or racial language or anything deemed inappropriate or offensive. SVCW maintains the right to evaluate, and if necessary, eliminate each submission before al- lowing it to be considered among other entries. The SVCW at its sole discretion may disqualify any submissions, cancel the contest or modify the contest rules at any time. SVCW is the sole interpreter of these rules and its decisions are final.
  • Each entrant must submit an essay of 200 words or less or a two-minute (or shorter) video about the chosen name for the TBM. The TBM can be named after a real or fictitious person, character or thing, and the name should be reflective of SVCW’s mission, which is to protect public health and the environment. Each entrant should state the significance of the chosen name and how it relates in some way to that mission. Contestants are encouraged to have fun and be creative.

How to Enter

Entries will be reviewed by a judging committee appointed by SVCW. If the committee selects a name that has had multiple entrants, the selection will be based on the quality of the essay or the video submitted. If the entries are of equal merit, the selected name will be chosen by a drawing. Once SVCW has identified a winning entry, SVCW will notify the winner.  Shortly thereafter, SVCW will begin setting up the dates for the tour.

About the TBM

This remarkable technology has been used all over the world for mountain and underwater tunnels, pipelines and transit lines – locally two TBMs were used to mine twin tunnels for San Francisco’s Muni Central subway. But the Redwood Shores tunneling project will be the largest wastewater conveyance tunnel ever constructed on the Peninsula.


  • The full TBM, when assembled for tunneling, measures 650 feet long, 16 feet in diameter and weighs 850 tons. It will move forward at a rate of 50 to 60 feet a day.
  • At the height of operation, a crew of about 11 per shift will be working in the tunnel, plus another 16 mechanics, grout plant operators and other shaft and service workers.
  • Tunneling will spare everyone the prolonged disruption that would have come with open-trenching along Redwood Shores Parkway. At depths ranging from about 20 to 60 feet below ground level, most of this construction will take place literally out of sight.
Entries must be received by 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, 2018
All entries have been received. The deadline for submission was April 30, 4:30pm, 2019.

Contest Entry Form

Please fill out this form and include it with your essay or video submission.

Contestants must live or work in Redwood Shores

  • 200 Words or less.
  • You can upload your video to a service like Youtube or Vimeo or other and share the url of that video with us. 2 minute maximum.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.