FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE11-86
September 8, 2011
Farrell Sklerov/Michael Saucier (718) 595-6600
DEP Seeks Statements of Qualifications From Firms To Operate Ultraviolet Disinfection Facility
Unique Procurement Process Ensures the Most Efficient and Least Costly Way to Operate, Manage and Maintain New $1.6 Billion Facility
Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland today announced that DEP issued a Request for Qualifications from private companies for the operation, maintenance and management of the new Ultraviolet Disinfection Facility under construction in Westchester County — the largest facility of its kind in the world. The $1.6 billion UV facility, located on a 153-acre property in the towns of Mount Pleasant and Greenburgh, will provide enhanced disinfection for the Catskill-Delaware water system, which currently supplies drinking water to more than nine million New Yorkers each day. The facility is on schedule to start operating in 2012. By using a non-traditional procurement process, DEP will be able to negotiate for the most efficient, least costly method of operation, whether that is done by city workers, or a private operator.
"The first-of-its-kind procurement process we are using here will determine whether a public-private partnership, or a traditional city operation is the best way to run the largest ultra-violet disinfection facility in the world," said Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway. "Working with organized labor, our goal is to run this facility efficiently and at the lowest possible cost, and the market will decide whether that's with city employees, or a private contractor. We hope as many companies as possible will seek the right to bid on this opportunity."
"This project will ensure the most efficient and least expensive options for New Yorkers without compromising safety, or the world-renowned quality of our drinking water," said Commissioner Strickland. "Maintaining that high quality is critical to ensuring that New York City can continue to receive the majority of its water from unfiltered sources. We look forward to beginning operations in 2012."
Under a traditional RFP process, the city has limited flexibility in terms of negotiating contract terms and price with all proposers. The process for the Catskill-Delaware facility will allow the city to evaluate the monetary value and risk characteristics of multiple contract terms, determine an optimal contract for the City, and negotiate directly with each qualified bidder to select the best possible operator. The following steps will be part of the process:
- DEP will release the Request for Qualifications to operate the $1.6 billion Ultraviolet Disinfection Facility.
- Interested private parties will submit qualifications.
- DEP will review qualifications of all submissions and develop a list of pre-qualified companies. To be pre-qualified, a company must have the qualifications, experience and capability to operate the UV facility according to DEP's stringent standards. Only companies with substantial expertise and experience operating facilities of a generally comparable operational and financial scale will qualify.
- A draft contract will be issued and each pre-qualified company will have the opportunity to propose a price for operations.
- Once DEP has determined which private company has offered the best deal to the city, an in-house team will be provided the opportunity to present a counterproposal.
- DEP will make a final determination and select a municipal or private operator by summer 2012.
- If a private company is ultimately selected, all city employees who have already been hired to work at the facility will have the option to work for that contractor or somewhere else within DEP.
Information on the Request for Qualifications can be found at the City Record Online.
Site preparation for the UV Facility began in 2006 and construction of the facility began in 2008. When completed in 2012, the facility will be able to treat more than two billion gallons of water per day through 56 ultraviolet disinfection chambers. The current phase of work includes the installation of the remaining treated water piping; the installation of the remaining electrical switchgear and HVAC components; the installation of utility services, including Con Edison gas and electric service; and installation of the 84-inch diameter energy dissipating valves, which will provide overall flow control through the facility.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency now requires that all surface drinking water be filtered. Due to the city's $1.5 billion overall investment in watershed protection programs, the federal government allows New York City to continue receiving unfiltered drinking water from the Catskill and Delaware watersheds — a status that only five large cities in the country share. The holistic approach exempts the city from being required to build a filtration plant that could cost $10 billion or more. As a result, Catskill-Delaware water is required to have two types of disinfection. The water is already disinfected with chlorine, and the UV Facility, once completed, will provide the federally-required secondary level of disinfection against potentially harmful microbiological contaminants such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia, though these pathogens do not currently pose a risk to New York City's water supply.
DEP manages the city's water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City, and residents of Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties. Approximately 1,000 DEP employees live and work in the watershed communities as scientists, engineers, surveyors, and administrative professionals, and perform other critical responsibilities. New York City's water is delivered from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and comprises 19 reservoirs, three controlled lakes, and numerous dams, aqueducts, and tunnels. The DEP police protect the watershed and its facilities, including seven wastewater treatment plants. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/dep or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nycwater.