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February 18, 2011


Farrell Sklerov / Michael Saucier (718) 595-6600

DEP Completes Odor Control Reconstruction and Fire Safety Upgrades at Coney Island Wastewater Treatment Plant

Project Undertaken in Aftermath of Devastating 2003 Fire Improves Safety of Workers And Helps Protect Neighborhood from Odors

Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway today announced the completion of the reconstruction of the odor control building and replacement of the fire alarm system at the Coney Island Wastewater Treatment Plant in Brooklyn. The projects will improve overall safety, efficiency and reliability of the plant following a 2003 fire that caused extensive damage to the primary settling tank odor control building. Reconstruction on the new $25.6 million odor control building began in 2004 and the work encloses one of the most odor-emitting phases of wastewater treatment — the primary settling process — which will prevent hydrogen sulfide from escaping into the surrounding community. The obsolete fire alarm system was also replaced and installation of plant-wide fire alarm system was completed at a cost of $11.8 million, which will improve safety for workers, safety responders and the community.

"Rebuilding the odor control system after the devastating 2003 fire will help protect our neighbors from odors that are a natural byproduct of the wastewater treatment process," said Commissioner Holloway. "Mayor Bloomberg visited this plant shortly after the fire and we committed to rebuilding and improving upon what was lost. We have honored that commitment with state-of-the-art odor controls, and a new fire alarm system that will protect the 74 dedicated employees who run this plant and the local community."

The wastewater treatment process includes physical, chemical, and biological processes that remove at least 85% of pollutants and disease-causing pathogens from wastewater. Reconstruction work on the odor control building included the replacement of 11 carbon absorbers and the replacement of two wet scrubbers with one larger scrubber. A new supervisory control and data acquisition system for the odor control system and a new gas detection system for the primary settling tanks were installed. Primary treatment is a physical process in which the flow is reduced from a speed of two feet per second to roughly one foot per minute to allow heavy waste to settle to the bottom and lighter waste to rise to the top. Slow-moving bars skim the waste from the top and bottom. Also included are modifications to the conduit system for carbon absorbers and odor control building lighting, revisions to the chemical metering pumps, rehabilitation of HVAC units and controls, and installation of instrument racks and additional fire alarm system sensors.

Work on the odor control building was completed this week, with some punch-list minor items such as instrumentation programming and replacement of floor topping remaining to be finished. In addition to the upgrades, upcoming and ongoing work at the Coney Island plant includes:

  • Chemical and Bulk Storage Facilities Upgrades: Work includes the replacement of chemical storage tanks, feed and transfer pumps, secondary containment dikes, chemical resistant coating for containment areas, level indicating instruments, chemical labeling, addition of emergency vent lines and double wall piping. New truck-loading transfer pads and equipment, emergency eyewash and shower stations, and control/indication panels will also be installed. The cost of this work is approximately $12.3 million and is expected to be completed this spring.
  • Plant Outfall Reconstruction The plant is equipped with two outfalls that discharge effluent to Rockaway Inlet in Jamaica Bay. Installed in 1934, the 72-inch steel cylinder concrete outfall pipe extends 8,500 feet to a 28-foot diameter outlet chamber. A new diffuser system will be constructed to replace the existing system. The failed pipe will be abandoned in place and the outfall structure will be demolished. Construction is expected to begin in July and be completed in January 2013.

The Coney Island Wastewater Treatment Plant went into operation in 1935 and is designed to treat 110 million gallons of wastewater a day during average conditions, with a capacity to treat up 220 million gallons. New Yorkers produce, and DEP treats, 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater every day.  The wastewater is collected through 7,400 miles of lateral sewers that flow downhill into large interceptor sewers, which lead directly to the city's 14 wastewater treatment plants.

Mayor Bloomberg has made investing in the city's infrastructure a top priority. Since 2002, the City has invested more than $5 billion in upgrading its 14 wastewater treatment plants. That work has already yielded benefits for New York's waterways, which are the cleanest they have been in 100 years since the City began collecting water quality data in New York Harbor. DEP also is reaching city-wide monthly average Clean Water Act secondary treatment standards for the first time ever – three years ahead of schedule.

DEP manages the city's water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons of water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8 million in New York City. New York City's water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, and comprises 19 reservoirs, and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,400 miles of sewer lines take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. For more information, visit or follow us on Facebook at

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600