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Odor Control at the Bowery Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant in Astoria


February 19, 2016

Contact:, (718) 595-6600

$3 Million Upgrade to the Bowery Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant to Substantially Reduce Nuisance Odors in Astoria and Nearby Communities

New Aluminum Tank Covers and Carbon Filtration System will Capture 99 Percent of Odors

Construction Photos and a Map of the Project Area are Available on DEP’s Flickr Page

New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd today joined with City Council Member Costa Constantinides to announce that work is underway to install aluminum covers and odor control units on each of the four sludge tanks located at the Bowery Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant, in Astoria, Queens. The $3 million project will ensure that odors related to the wastewater treatment process are captured by the new aluminum covers and removed through an activated carbon filtration process.Over the last two summers there has been an increase in the number of odor complaints in the vicinity of the plant and DEP has worked closely with Council Member Constantinides to ensure that these upgrades are completed by the summer of 2016. 

“The treatment of wastewater is essential to protecting the environment and public health and we are confident this $3 million investment will address the concerns of our neighbors in Astoria and other nearby communities,” said DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd. “I’d like to thank the Chairman of the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee, Costa Constantinides, for working closely with us on this important project and we look forward to continuing the partnership on many other environmental initiatives important to the residents of northern Queens.” 

Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the City Council Environmental Protection Committee, said, "This $3 million upgrade to install sewage tank covers and odor control units at Bowery Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant will bring major benefits to our community.  As a lifetime resident of Astoria, I know too well the odors that come from this facility. The new tank covers will address these concerns by eliminating most of the sewage odor that wafts through our neighborhood. I thank the DEP and Commissioner Emily Lloyd for working in partnership with us on this issue."

“Upgrading the holding tanks at the Bowery Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant is not just an investment in our environment, it’s an investment in the quality of life of the people who live in northern Astoria,” said Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx). “I thank Commissioner Lloyd and Council Member Constantinides for their hard work in ushering this project along to provide much-needed relief to impacted residents by making sure the air is a lot more pleasant to breathe.” 

“DEP is taking a positive step in trying to eliminate odors related to the wastewater treatment plant in Astoria, and this is great news,” said State Senator Jose Peralta (D-Queens). “Odors clearly irritate the public, so I am glad DEP is planning to make improvements that will increase the quality of life for families, residents and visitors in Astoria. I want to thank DEP, Councilmember Costa Constantinides and all those involved in making this happen.”     

“Eliminating the bad odors produced by the Bowery Bay Plant will mean a tremendous improvement in the quality of life for nearby residents,” said Assembly Member Aravella Simotas. “They’ll be able to enjoy the simple pleasures of the summer months, whether that’s going outside or just opening their windows to let in a warm breeze, without the bad smells. I commend DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd and Council Member Costa Constantinides for being responsive to residents’ complaints and getting this odor abatement project underway.”

New Yorkers produce, and DEP collects and treats, approximately 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater a day.  Many of the City’s 14 wastewater treatment plants are located in residential or business communities across the five boroughs and DEP works to limit their impact on the surrounding neighborhoods. At the Bowery Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant, there are four holding tanks that have the capacity to store a combined 550,000 cubic feet of sludge. The addition of aluminum covers, which are up to 85 feet wide, will capture any nuisance odor and each dual-bed carbon canister filter will cleanse up to 21,742 cubic feet of air per minute. The carbon filters capture and absorb the odorous hydrogen sulfide gas molecules produced during the wastewater treatment and sludge digestion process. The City College of New York will work with DEP to document the performance of the carbon filters.

The Bowery Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant went into operation in 1939 and is designed to treat 150 million gallons of wastewater a day. The plant serves approximately 850,000 residents in a drainage area of more than 15,000 acres in northwest off Queens.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately one billion gallons of water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.5 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. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

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

(718) 595-6600