FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 16-119
November 22, 2016
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Department of Environmental Protection Begins Project to Refurbish Former Ben Nesin Laboratory Building Near Ashokan Reservoir
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced the start of a $7.4 million project to refurbish the former Ben Nesin Laboratory building on Route 28A. The four-story building was constructed in 1961 to serve as an office and water quality laboratory. It stopped being used as a laboratory when DEP finished its new Kingston Laboratory in 2008, but the building continued to house 12 engineers, maintenance and safety staff who oversee operations at Ashokan and Schoharie reservoirs. The building, which is expected to be complete by 2018, will be refurbished as modern office space for those employees and an additional 12 employees.
The restoration work will include the replacement of all windows, interior and exterior doors, and new systems for heating and air conditioning (HVAC). The front entrance along Route 28A will be reconfigured to allow for a safer crosswalk from the parking lot across the street, and a larger landing that is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Work on the building is expected to have little or no impact on traffic along Route 28A.
The project will be seeking silver-level LEED certification by incorporating a number of environmentally responsible design elements. This includes preferred parking for low emitting and fuel efficient vehicles, energy efficient lighting, additional insulation, water efficient fixtures, and the use of recycled and regionally sourced materials. The building will also retain the name of Benjamin C. Nesin, the former director of laboratories for DEP’s predecessor agency, the Department of Water Supply, Gas and Electricity. Nesin died in 1964, three years after the building was completed.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of high quality water each day to more than 9.5 million New Yorkers. This includes more than 70 upstate communities and institutions in Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties who consume an average of 110 million total gallons of drinking water daily from New York City’s water supply system. 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 other professionals in the upstate watershed. In addition to its $70 million payroll and $157 million in annual taxes paid in upstate counties, DEP has invested more than $1.7 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 opportunity. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program with nearly $14 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 nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.