FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE04-44
York City to Test Hudson River Aquifer for “Induced Infiltration” Study
and Wells to Determine Usefulness of Groundwater beneath the
River for Future Water Supply Needs
Commissioner Christopher O. Ward of the New York City Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today that the DEP
will soon begin a study on the Hudson River to determine whether
groundwater from beneath the river could be a suitable source for
the New York City water supply system.
“The City is looking at many ways it can improve the dependability
of its water system, and the Hudson River is one source the City
has used intermittently in the past,” said Commissioner Ward. “Induced
infiltration from the aquifer that runs beneath the river is one
way to improve the quality of water and to reduce the environmental
effects of its use.”
A test well will draw up to four million gallons of water per
day from the aquifer that runs through the sand and gravel that
exists beneath the Hudson River . By drawing water from this aquifer,
water from the river above can be induced to migrate through the
river bottom and to infiltrate the aquifer. This migration and
infiltration provides for natural filtration of the water and is
expected to result in higher quality water than that taken directly
from the river.
The $1.585 million study is intended to verify the existing geophysical
survey and historical boring data, and provide better information
on the characteristics of the aquifer, including its potential
long-term water yield and water quality.
New York City ’s water comes from reservoirs throughout
the City’s 2,000-square-mile upstate watershed. However,
the City currently maintains a backup pumping station on the Hudson
at the Town of Chelsea for use in times of severe drought. An induced
infiltration system could potentially provide many benefits over
the Chelsea Pump Station, including a lower impact on fisheries
in the river and reduced microbial load, suspended solids and chlorine
residual in the water. An induced infiltration system could also
eliminate concerns about introducing zebra mussels into the water
The study will be performed in a stretch of the river between
River Mile 65 and River Mile 68 in the vicinity of Chelsea , New
York . It will use up to two 90-foot barges to drill 10 test borings
up to 200 feet into the riverbed, and one platform on the river
to serve as a base for a test well and observation well. Field
work for the study is scheduled in two phases so as not to affect
the critical fish spawning season. The first phase is scheduled
to begin in mid-August and end in December. The second phase is
scheduled to begin in July 2005 and end in December 2005.
As part of the study, DEP will install up to three test wells
and up to three observation wells in the river. At any one time
there will be a maximum of two barges or one platform in operation.
The barges and the platform will move along the river from site
to site, spending anywhere from two to eight weeks in any one location.
Boring locations are all at least 400 feet from the shoreline.
Work hours will be from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM on weekdays. Barges
will launch from American Dock Corp in Newburgh . The drilling
will be done by Warren George, Inc. of Jersey City .
The project has been coordinated with federal, state and local
officials in order to minimize the impact on the community, and
with the Coast Guard to minimize the effect on river traffic. The
US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries
Service have also helped DEP set up the project so as to limit
the effect on sensitive habitats. An Essential Fish Habitat Assessment
(EFHA) was performed on the potential impact to over 15 species
of local fish. An additional Endangered Species Act Consultation
looked at the effects on local threatened and endangered species.
Induced infiltration technology is already in use in over 100
cities in the United States , and at other locations in Europe
and throughout the world. U.S. cities that use induced infiltration
include Albany and Binghamton in New York , as well as Perth Amboy
, NJ , Cedar Rapids , IA , Columbus , OH , and Louisville , KY.