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November 3, 2012


Chris Gilbride/Ted Timbers (718) 595-6600

Department of Environmental Protection Provides Update on Repair Work at City Wastewater Treatment Plants

DEP Crews Work Around the Clock, More than 99% of Wastewater Now Being Treated;

More Than 40 Sanitary and Combined Sewer Pumping Stations Damaged by the Storm Are Now Operational

Oakwood Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant Workers Prevented 80 Million Gallon Wastewater Discharge During Height of Storm

UPDATE: As of November 10th all NYC wastewater is receiving full secondary treatment.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that significant work has been completed to wastewater treatment facilities damaged by Hurricane Sandy. While substantial repairs are still needed at many locations, DEP is now treating more than 99 percent of the city’s wastewater and 13 of the City’s 14 treatment plants are processing 100 percent of wastewater entering the facilities. Work continues to bring full wastewater treatment back online at the Rockaway Wastewater Treatment Plant. The Rockaway plant is the City’s smallest wastewater facility and treats about one percent of New York City’s wastewater. The plant is currently treating more than two-thirds of its normal flow at high tide and 100 percent of flow during low tide. Damage to the infrastructure at the Rockaway plant is allowing seawater to enter the sewer system, some of which is being discharged with small amounts of untreated wastewater during high tide.

The record storm surge that accompanied Hurricane Sandy submerged many of the treatment plants and their electrical equipment in seawater and degraded their ability to pump and treat wastewater. Ten of the City’s 14 waste water treatment plants and more than 40 sanitary sewer pumping stations were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. DEP crews and contractors have been working around the clock to pump out the seawater and make repairs to the electrical equipment, and will continue to do so until all the plants are fully operational. In addition to repairs at the wastewater treatment plants, DEP has brought more than 40 pumping stations throughout the five boroughs back online which has helped prevent the discharge of untreated wastewater into New York waterways, and prevented sewer backups.

Like many of the treatment plants, the Oakwood Beach Plant on Staten Island was cut off by Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge on Monday night and DEP’s Sewage Treatment Workers, Engineers and Electricians worked through the night to protect the Plant’s critical infrastructure. The workers at the plant were able to treat more than 80 million gallons of wastewater that would have otherwise been released into New York Harbor or backed up into homes and businesses.

In addition to the DEP employees in New York City, 15 watershed staff members normally stationed in Orange, Delaware, Sullivan and Ulster Counties, along with two heavy equipment operators from the Delaware County Department of Public Works, have been deployed to New York City and are providing valuable assistance with flood abatement and downed trees. Hurricane Sandy resulted in more than 16,000 downed trees and flooding in low lying areas in all five boroughs that has affected critical infrastructure.

Using industrial Godwin pumps brought to the City from the watershed, crews have already drained Manhattan’s Battery Underpass of floodwater and are now assisting in removing water from sewage pumping stations in Brooklyn and school facilities in Queens. Other crews have been deployed by the New York City Parks Department to affected locations in Queens where they are using 5 dump trucks, two industrial wood chippers, two mini excavators, a backhoe, a road sweeper and chain saws brought from the watershed to clear downed trees and limbs.

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. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 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 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP employs nearly 6,000 employees, including nearly 1,000 in the upstate watershed. 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.

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