Brooklyn-Queens Aquifer Feasibility Study
Fact Sheet: Station 6 Modifications - November 2001
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) is conducting a multi-phase project to investigate use of groundwater from the aquifers (thick layers of soil through which groundwater moves) beneath Brooklyn and Queens to supplement the City's drinking water supply. The goals of the Brooklyn-Queens Aquifer (BQA) Study are to develop an overall groundwater management plan and to add 100 to 200 million gallons per day to the New York City drinking water system. New York currently obtains less than 1% of its daily water needs from the BQA. The City uses approximately 1.3 billion gallons of drinking water per day.
As part of the overall BQA Study, the NYCDEP will be making modifications to its Station 6 groundwater pumping facility in Jamaica, Queens. Specific goals of the Station 6 Modifications project are to:
- reduce flooding in the surrounding area, including that in building basements and other neighborhood facilities (Intermediate School #8 (IS 8) and the South Jamaica and Carter Housing complexes), which has worsened due to rising groundwater levels, and
- supplement the drinking water supplied by the City's upstate water reservoir system with treated groundwater drawn from the aquifers. This will provide consistently high quality water to residents in Queens.
To achieve these goals, the NYCDEP will:
- test - water treatment processes
- demonstrate - ability to produce high quality water and control flooding
- clean up the West Side Corporation Site - to protect groundwater resources
Station 6 - Pilot Testing (Phase I)
The first phase of the project, a pilot program, will involve small-scale testing of groundwater samples to ensure that a very high quality of drinking water will be produced when the new Station 6 plant is operational. The Station 6 site (located at 110th Avenue and 164th Place) was selected for the pilot program because it is located in the middle of one of the worst groundwater flooding areas in Queens.
Water collected as part of the pilot program will be treated, tested, analyzed, and discharged to the sewer system. The water will only be used for testing and will not be introduced into the drinking water supply system. All pilot testing will be conducted within an existing building at the north end of the NYCDEP Station 6 site (108th Avenue and 165th Place). Associated work will involve redrilling of existing wells and minor modifications to the building. Construction impacts on neighboring residents will be temporary and limited to occasional, minimal increases in noise and traffic. The pilot facility is expected to operate for a six (6) month period, beginning in February 2002. The results obtained from the successful completion of the pilot testing will be used to initiate the second phase of the Station 6 project.
Station 6 - Demonstration Project/Water Treatment Plant (Phase II)
Phase II of the project will demonstrate that groundwater flooding can be controlled while producing a consistent supply of good quality drinking water. The demonstration project will focus on the construction of a new water treatment plant at Station 6 and will allow the NYCDEP to achieve its two main goals: reduce flooding in the neighborhood surrounding the site and produce up to nine (9) million gallons of drinkable groundwater daily. Once treated, the groundwater will be blended with water from the upstate system and distributed over a wide area throughout Queens. Water produced by the treatment plant will comply with all New York State Department of Health standards.
During the design phase, the project team will work with the community to identify additional beneficial uses of the facility such as a community meeting room, an environmental learning center, or other desired usage. Construction of the new plant is expected to begin in 2003. During this work, residents can expect to experience construction-related impacts, including increases in noise and truck traffic.
Station 24/West Side Corporation Site
In preparation for work at Station 6, and in cooperation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), the NYCDEP will be cleaning up the groundwater at the West Side Corporation site. This 4.5-acre inactive hazardous waste site, located on 180th Street in Jamaica, was formerly used as a storage and distribution center for dry cleaning chemicals. Past spills and other releases of chemicals, principally tetrachloroethylene (PCE or PERC), resulted in contamination at the site. The NYSDEC also plans to clean up contaminated soils at the West Side Corporation site.
The NYCDEP clean-up effort will prevent PCE in the groundwater from spreading throughout the neighborhood, including to Station 6, which is ¾ mile away. The work will involve drilling a well and building a facility at Station 24 (located at 180th Street and 106th Road), an adjacent City-owned property, in order to pump, treat, and remove contaminants from the groundwater prior to discharge into the sewer system. This pumping will capture groundwater contamination from the site and prevent it from spreading throughout the area. Community impacts during construction will be limited to temporary additional truck traffic and noise at the site.
An ongoing community outreach program will be conducted to ensure that the community remains involved in all stages of the NYCDEP project. The program is being designed to include such activities as:
- small group meetings to present project information and gather community input. Meetings will be held with elected officials, Community Board #12, residents, neighborhood organizations, and other interested groups and individuals.
- a Citizens Advisory Committee to provide guidance and input on health, environmental, technical and aesthetic issues, as well as outreach to local constituencies.
- fact sheets and other informational materials to be distributed to all persons on the project mailing list and provided at meetings, libraries, churches, and other community facilities.
- a series of informal open houses to share information and encourage the public to participate throughout the project. The first open house is scheduled to be held this fall.
- a Science Advisory Committee made up of health, science, and engineering professionals to be available as a technical resource to provide the community with independent review and explanation of project information.