FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2013
Adam Bosch (845) 334-7868 / Chris Gilbride (718) 595-6600
Department of Environmental Protection Announces Croton Water Filtration Plant Project Receives Merit Safety Recognition by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration
New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Carter Strickland today announced that Skanska USA Civil and partner Tully Construction Company, the lead construction contractors at the Croton Water Filtration Plant, have been awarded merit safety recognition by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program for their work on the project. The Voluntary Protection Program recognizes employers and employees who demonstrate exemplary achievement in the prevention and control of occupational safety and health hazards while developing, implementing, and continuously improving safety and health management systems. Honored companies also maintain injury and illness rates well below the national Bureau of Labor Statistics’ averages. The Croton Water Filtration Plant is the first New York City agency project to receive OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program recognition for safety.
“As the largest municipally owned water and wastewater utility in the nation we have more than $15.5 billion in capital construction projects underway and $13 billion planned for the next 10 years, and we are committed to providing the safest workplace possible for our employees, contractors, and consultants,” said DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland. “Since Mayor Bloomberg took office in 2002, DEP has invested more than $10.5 billion in the City’s water supply and delivery systems. The Croton Plant will be the largest underground water filtration facility in the U.S. and we are proud to have worked with Skanska and Tully towards this important achievement for the health and safety of the workers who are building the Plant.”
“Safety is and has always been our utmost priority at Skanska, and is the reason why we invest so much time, money and resources into safety planning and prevention on every jobsite we operate throughout the world,” said Michael Viggiano, Executive Vice President for Skanska USA Civil. “We’re honored to achieve OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program Merit status, which marks the Croton project as one of the safest in the U.S. Everyone working on this project should feel a great sense of accomplishment, and I thank everyone at Skanska who makes safety a priority each day.”
“We are honored with receiving the Voluntary Protection Program award from OSHA,” said Bill Ryan, Vice President for Risk Management at Tully Construction Company. “It was an enlightening experience being involved in the audit process. Safety has been a top priority at Tully Construction for over 75 years. We are especially pleased to have reached this milestone on a DEP project.”
When it is completed later this year, the Croton Water Filtration Plant will have the capacity to filter 290 million gallons of water per day and supply up to 30 percent of New York City’s drinking water needs. The $3.2 billion Plant will allow DEP to resume regular use of the Croton Watershed and meet all federal and state drinking water standards in that system.
OSHA granted the Croton Water Filtration Plant project Voluntary Protection Program status with merit recognition for numerous innovative and effective safety measures such as extensive procedures for identifying on-site and environmental hazards, and the creation of a number of programs designed specifically for employees to encourage workplace safety. One example, “Safety Super League,” is a jobsite contest that recognizes the construction crew’s safety accomplishments. In addition, rigid criteria were set for subcontractors to meet before being considered to work on the project. All workers also completed mandatory safety orientation and task specific training before beginning work at the site. Because of these programs, employee time lost as a result of accidents was six times lower than the Bureau of Labor Statistics national average for heavy civil construction.
Worker Safety and Public Health are key components of Strategy 2011-2014, a comprehensive strategic plan that outlines 100 distinct initiatives to help ensure that DEP is the safest, most efficient, cost-effective and transparent water utility in the nation. DEP has a comprehensive Environmental Health and Safety program for both employees and contractors, and in 2011 was awarded the American Water Works Association Utility Safety Award for Operations. All DEP contractors must demonstrate that they meet stringent environmental, health, and safety criteria prior to being awarded a contract. Once a contract is awarded, DEP has a structured and formal contractor review process to assess on site performance as well.
The completion of the Croton Water Filtration Plant is critical to the success of DEP’s Water for the Future Program, a $2.1 billion initiative to repairs leaks in the Delaware Aqueduct. In order to make repairs to the Aqueduct, the tunnel must be temporarily shut down between 2020 and 2021 while a three-mile bypass tunnel is constructed around a portion that is leaking in Roseton in Orange County. The Croton Filtration Plant will ensure DEP continues to meet the City’s drinking water demands during construction of the bypass tunnel and also protect against future drought conditions.
Construction of the underground Croton Water Filtration Plant required the removal of more than 186,000 cubic yards of soil and 920,000 cubic yards of bedrock over a nine acre footprint. The plant structure was built using 235,000 cubic yards of concrete with 27,000 tons of steel reinforcement and contains more than 1.4 million feet of electrical conduit, 11.5 million feet of wire and 1.9 million pounds of ductwork. At the height of construction, more than 1,300 workers reported to the plant site each day. When it is completed the Plant will be the largest underground water filtration facility in the United States and will host a state-of-the-art driving range on its roof with an adjacent clubhouse.
The Croton System is the oldest of City’s three water supply systems (Croton, Catskill and Delaware) that provide drinking water to the New York City and upstate communities. Although it was once the only reservoir system supplying water from outside the City, the Croton System is now the smallest of the three. The Croton watershed is a series of interconnected reservoirs and lakes in northern Westchester and Putnam Counties.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of high quality 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. This water comes from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and the system comprises 19 reservoirs, three controlled lakes, and numerous tunnels and aqueducts. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 scientists, engineers, surveyors, watershed maintainers and others professionals in the upstate watershed. In addition to its $68 million payroll and $153 million in annual taxes paid in upstate counties, DEP has invested more than $1.5 billion in watershed protection programs—including partnership organizations such as the Catskill Watershed Corporation and the Watershed Agricultural Council—that support sustainable farming practices, environmentally sensitive economic development, and local economic opportunities. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program with more than $13 billion in investments planned over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nycwater, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/nycwater.