Photos: NYC Dep

Building Out the Sewer System and Bluebelts in Southeast Queens and Staten Island

The post-World War II residential and commercial development of portions of the city, most notably southeast Queens and Staten Island, outpaced the extension of the city’s sewer system, and many of these neighborhoods are not yet equipped with catch basins and storm sewers to drain precipitation from the roadways. DEP is committed to building out the sewer system in these neighborhoods and to include the use of ecologically sound Bluebelts to naturally filter stormwater where appropriate. In southeast Queens, construction continues on a comprehensive $6 billion drainage system. DEP is also working with local community groups to accelerate smaller sewer extensions where feasible. Over the last 10 years DEP has built Bluebelts for approximately one-third of Staten Island’s land area, and this past spring ground was broken on the largest ever expansion of the south shore Bluebelt. Later this year construction is expected to begin on the first Bluebelt for the midisland.
Photos: NYC Dep

Implementing the Green Infrastructure Plan

An alternative approach to improving harbor water quality, the plan combines traditional infrastructure upgrades and the integration of green infrastructure to capture and retain stormwater runoff before it can ever enter the sewer system and contribute to sewer overflows. With the ambitious goal of capturing the first inch of rain that falls on 10 percent of the city’s impervious surfaces in combined sewer areas, DEP will build thousands of green infrastructure installations throughout the city. Over the next two decades DEP is planning for $1.5 billion in public funding—and another $900 million in funding connected to new development or redevelopment—for targeted green infrastructure installations, as well as approximately $2.9 billion in cost-effective gray infrastructure upgrades. It is expected that these investments will result in a greater reduction in sewer overflows, at a lower cost, than a traditional infrastructure upgrade alone.
Photos: NYC Dep

Activating the Croton Filtration Plant

Water from Croton water supply reservoirs, the city’s first upstate supply, has not been delivered to the five boroughs since 2008, as it now requires filtration. The $3.2 billion Croton Filtration Plant, which is to be built beneath Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, will have the capacity to filter up to 290 million gallons of water a day, or nearly 30 percent of the city’s daily demand. It will play an essential role in ensuring the city has a reliable supply of high quality drinking water during the shutdown of the Delaware Aqueduct, and during future water shortages. The plant’s filtration systems are now being started up and tested. It is expected that it will go into service in 2015.

Repairs to the Delaware Aqueduct

The 85-mile-long Delaware Aqueduct is an essential component of the city’s water delivery system, as it conveys more than half of the daily drinking water from upstate reservoirs to the in-city distribution system. During its 70 years of service, portions of the tunnel have developed leaks and are in need of repair. After years of study and planning, last year excavation began for the construction of a 2.5 mile bypass tunnel around a portion of the leaking tunnel. The project will include shutting down the Aqueduct in FY 2021–22 to connect the bypass tunnel and supplemental water supplies and conservation programs that will be implemented in the coming years. The overall project is currently budgeted at $1.5 billion.

Maintaining the Filtration Avoidance Determination

The Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD) allows DEP to provide unfiltered drinking water from the Catskill and Delaware water supply reservoirs. Based on the principle that it is more cost-efficient and effective to protect water quality at its source in the watershed, DEP has invested $1.7 billion over the last two decades in a comprehensive set of watershed protection programs that allow it to maintain the FAD and avoid having to build and operate a filtration plant for this source water, estimated to cost more than $10 billion to construct and more than $100 million per year to operate. Going forward DEP will continue our vital partnerships with local governments and nonprofits in the Catskills and Hudson Valley to protect the creeks and streams that feed the reservoirs as well as the lands that surround and protect them.