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April 17, 2013


Chris Gilbride / Angel Román (DEP) (718) 595-6600
Joe Soldevere / Craig Chin (DDC) (212) 386-0238

City Completes $38 Million Water Main Installation in Manhattan Five Months Ahead of Schedule

Completion of Project Marks Important Step Towards the Activation of the Manhattan Section of City Water Tunnel No. 3

New York City Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland and Department of Design and Construction Commissioner David Burney today announced that a $38 million construction project critical to the activation of City Water Tunnel No. 3 was completed five months ahead of schedule. The work, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side included the installation of approximately 2,750 feet of new trunk water mains. Trunk water mains range in size from 30 to 48 inches and serve as a conduit between the large water tunnel shafts and the smaller water mains that make up the local distribution networks. The completion of the project marks an important step towards the activation of the Manhattan section of City Water Tunnel No. 3, which is scheduled to take place by the end of the year.

“When the final Manhattan section of Water Tunnel Number 3 is turned on later this year it will be a historic moment in the history of New York City’s water supply system,” said DEP Commissioner Strickland. “With the City’s population expected to grow to 9 million by 2030 and with a record number of tourists visiting New York each year, the investments we are making today will ensure a reliable supply of clean drinking water for generations to come.”

“This important project completes part of the distribution water mains needed to activate the Manhattan section of Water Tunnel No. 3 by the end of the year. I’m pleased to report that we finished this project five months ahead of schedule, and we are aiming for similar results at the other critical shaft-connection projects we have underway right now in Manhattan,” said Commissioner Burney. “The early completion was due to our contractor’s diligence in meeting a rigorous schedule set by our infrastructure team at DDC, with work performed 7 days a week in multiple shifts. In addition, we would not have been able to finish early without the constant support of our colleagues at the Departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation, and the cooperation of the area’s private utility companies.”

The new infrastructure, as well as upgrades to existing water mains, will provide redundancy in the water distribution system that will help minimize disruptions to service during scheduled or emergency repair work. In addition to the installation of the large trunk mains, the work also included:

  • The replacement of 3,650 feet of distribution water mains
  • The construction of 12,500 square yards of roadway pavement
  • The restoration of nearly 8,000 square feet of sidewalks
  • The installation of six catch basins
  • The construction of 14 fire hydrants
  • The addition of 600 feet of steel concrete curb

Reconstruction work took place on 59th Street from 3rd Avenue to 1st Avenue; 3rd Avenue from 58th Street to 60th Street; and 1st Avenue from 58th Street to 60th Street. The project began in 2010, was funded by DEP and managed by DDC.

Upgrading water distribution and sewer infrastructure is a central part of DEP’s capital plan, with more than $225 million in spending planned for Manhattan over the next 10 years. Since 2002, DEP has invested a record $10.5 billion in the City’s water supply and distribution systems. The Bloomberg Administration has committed $4.5 billion to the construction of City Water Tunnel No. 3 alone – more funding for the tunnel than the previous five administrations combined. The Manhattan portion of the Tunnel is anticipated to be placed into service by the end of 2013 and will mark the first time in 15 years that a segment of the tunnel has been activated. This will complete tunnel construction in Manhattan. Construction of the Tunnel 3 began in 1970 and once all tunnel sections are complete it will allow for the inspection and repair of Tunnels 1 and 2 for the first time since they were put into service in 1917 and 1936 respectively.

DEP manages New York 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 has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $14 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. This capital program is responsible for critical projects like City Water Tunnel No. 3; the Staten Island Bluebelt program, an ecologically sound and cost-effective stormwater management system; the city’s Watershed Protection Program, which protects sensitive lands upstate near the city’s reservoirs in order to maintain their high water quality; and the installation of more than 820,000 Automated Meter Reading devices, which will allow customers to track their daily water use, more easily manage their accounts and be alerted to potential leaks on their properties. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter at

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

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(718) 595-6600