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August 24, 2011


Michael Saucier / Angel Román (718) 595-6600

DEP Issues Request for Proposals to Explore the Development of Supplemental Water Sources in Southeast Queens

Major Milestone Reached As Part of "Water for the Future" Program 

Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland today announced that DEP issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for consulting services to develop designs for cost-effective groundwater treatment facilities as part of DEP's Water for the Future program. The Water for the Future program will require significant supplemental water supply alternatives during the shutdown and repair of the Delaware Aqueduct, which is expected to take place in 2019. The 85-mile Delaware Aqueduct, completed in 1944, conveys approximately half of the city's drinking water—500 million gallons per day—from four upstate reservoirs to more than eight million people in New York City, and one million people in Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties. A section of the aqueduct, named the Rondout-West Branch Tunnel, is known to be leaking from 15 to 35 million gallons per day near Roseton and Wawarsing. Consulting services will support the upgrade of existing DEP-owned groundwater facilities in Queens that will supplement the water supply during shutdown.  Queens groundwater sources have the potential to provide up to 67 million gallons of drinking water each day. The RFP was issued to 34 firms on DEP's pre-qualified list for construction, reconstruction and improvements to water supply services.
"As part of our Water for the Future program, this request for proposals is another step towards developing vital backup systems for our water network. With the option of cost-effective groundwater and other supplemental water supply sources, there will be sufficient clean and safe drinking water during and after the repair of the Delaware Aqueduct," said Commissioner Strickland. "Improving the reliability and long-term sustainability of New York City's water infrastructure is a priority for Mayor Bloomberg and the repair of the Delaware Aqueduct is a critical goal of PlaNYC that will ensure a more reliable drinking water supply for New Yorkers for future generations."

Engineering design services, bid assistance, and design during construction, including start-up evaluations are among the consulting services that are being sought through the RFP. Historically, the Queens groundwater system consisted of 68 supply wells at 44 well stations. Since 1996, 36 of the 68 wells have not supplied water to the distribution system, and no groundwater supply well has been part of the distribution system since 2007. Many of the wells are not currently active because of electrical, mechanical, or other issues. By developing designs for upgrades to supply wells and the infrastructure, DEP will have an additional option for potential supply capacity as high as 67 million gallons per day to provide water to the distribution system if needed during repair of the Delaware Aqueduct.

Last November, a design and timeline was delineated to address leaks in the Delaware Aqueduct by building a two-and-a-half mile bypass tunnel around a portion that is leaking. The $2.1 billion Water for the Future program will ensure clean, reliable, and safe drinking water for nine million New Yorkers for decades to come by repairing leaks in the Delaware Aqueduct and supplementing the city's water supply during construction work on the tunnel. The bypass tunnel and internal repairs will cost approximately $1.2 billion, and water projects to supplement the City's supply during part of the construction period will cost approximately $900 million. Preparation for the repair work is currently underway, including: installation of pumping system and site improvements to support construction; purchasing equipment for the repair; planning and design of the bypass tunnel; geotechnical investigations; discussions with local stakeholders; investigating augmentation projects; and assessments of environmental impacts of the project. So far, since 2002, Mayor Bloomberg has invested approximately $493 million in preparation work for the eventual repair of the Delaware Aqueduct.

The initiative to develop cost-effective groundwater and other supplemental water supply alternatives is part of the Operations section outlined in Strategy 2011-2014, a far-reaching strategic plan that lays out 100 distinct initiatives to make DEP the safest, most efficient, cost-effective, and transparent water utility in the nation. The new plan, the product of nearly one year of analysis and outreach, builds on PlaNYC, Mayor Bloomberg's sustainability blueprint for New York City. The plan is available on DEP's website at

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. 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, and three controlled lakes. The DEP police protect the watershed and its facilities, including seven wastewater treatment plants. For more information, visit or follow us on Facebook at

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