Environmental Reviews

Delaware Aqueduct Rondout-West Branch Tunnel Repair

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is pleased to announce the availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Water for the Future Program: Delaware Aqueduct Rondout-West Branch Tunnel Repair.

Since the 1990s, DEP has been monitoring leaks in a portion of the aqueduct that connects the Rondout Reservoir in Ulster County to the West Branch Reservoir in Putnam County, specifically in the Towns of Newburgh, Orange County, New York and Wawarsing, Ulster County, New York. There are two areas of significant leakage in the Rondout-West Branch Tunnel (RWBT) portion of the Delaware Aqueduct, the Wawarsing and Roseton crossings. Together, they leak approximately 35 million gallons of water per day. The Wawarsing crossing can be repaired from within the tunnel; however, the Roseton crossing poses additional challenges. Therefore, DEP plans to construct a bypass tunnel around the leaking areas in Roseton, which would consist of a new tunnel segment to bypass the leaking section, and two shafts at each end – one in the Town of Wappinger, Dutchess County, New York (east connection site), and one in the Town of Newburgh, Orange County, New York (west connection site). This work would begin in 2013 and be completed in 2020. Once the shafts and bypass tunnel are constructed, the aqueduct would be shut down and unwatered. At that time the leaks in Wawarsing would be repaired, and the bypass tunnel would be connected to the existing tunnel. This work would begin in 2020 and take between 6 and 15 months.

However, to support a shutdown of the aqueduct and connection of the bypass, the city must also implement a number of additional projects to supplement DEP’s water supply during the shutdown period. The city is currently planning to implement the following projects which would be in place by 2020:

  • Conservation (Demand Management)
  • Optimization of the Catskill Aqueduct to increase its capacity
  • Reactivation of the Queens groundwater system
  • Interconnections to New Jersey and Nassau County, New York

Before moving forward with the proposed program, however, DEP (as the lead agency) is required to examine the environmental effects and, to the maximum extent practicable, avoid or mitigate significant adverse impacts on the environment. To accomplish this, DEP is undertaking a two-part approach to the EIS. This FEIS provides a detailed analysis of Project 1, shaft and bypass tunnel construction. A second EIS, or subsequent environmental review, as appropriate, will provide a detailed analysis of the supplemental water supply projects and the connection of the bypass tunnel; however, this FEIS does include a generic description of those projects and associated potential impacts are described.

Paper copies of the full document along with the appendices can be examined at any of the repositories listed below. Electronic versions of the full Draft FEIS on CD (in pdf format) are available upon request. The Notice of Completion, Executive Summary and full FEIS are also available below.

Three public hearings were held to receive oral and written comments on the Draft EIS. Copies of Presentation material for each of the hearings are available for download:

Monday, January 23, 2012
7:00–9:00 PM
Town of Newburgh Town Hall
1496 Route 300, Newburgh, NY 12550
View the presentation

Tuesday, January 24, 2012
7:00–9:00 PM
Wappingers Junior High School
30 Major McDonald Way
Wappingers Falls, NY 12590
View the presentation

Wednesday, January 25, 2012
6:00 – 9:00 PM
Wawarsing Town Hall
108 Canal Street
Ellenville, NY 12428
View the presentation

The comment period originally scheduled to close on February 17, 2012 was extended until March 9, 2012. Notification of these public hearings appeared in regional and local newspapers at least 14 days before the hearing. DEP has issued the Final EIS, which includes written responses to address public comments made on the Draft EIS.  Any questions, comments, or requests for a CD should be addressed in writing to:

Jennifer Farmwald, Project Manager
Office of Water Supply Infrastructure and Watershed Assessment
Bureau of Environmental Planning and Analysis
New York City Department of Environmental Protection
59-17 Junction Boulevard, 11th Floor
Flushing, New York 11373
Fax: (718) 595-4479
Email: jfarmwald@dep.nyc.gov



Water for the Future Program: Rondout-West Branch Tunnel Repair Draft EIS Repositories

Town Clerk
Town of Newburgh Town Hall
1496 Route 300
Newburgh, NY 12550
Contact: Andrew Zarutskie
Phone: (845) 564-4554

Town Clerk
Town of Wappinger Town Hall
20 Middlebush Road
Wappingers Falls, NY 12590
Contact: Chris Masterson
Phone: (845) 297-4158

Department of Environmental Protection
59-17 Junction Boulevard, 11th Floor, Flushing, New York 11373
Contact: Jennifer Farmwald
Phone: (718) 595-3287
Email: jfarmwald@dep.nyc.gov

Department of Environmental Protection
465 Columbus Avenue
Valhalla, NY  10595
Contact: David Warne
Phone: (914) 742-2099
Email: dwarne@dep.nyc.gov

Department of Environmental Protection
71 Smith Avenue
Kingston, NY  12401
Contact: Daniel Michaud
Phone: (845) 340-7883
Email: dmichaud@dep.nyc.gov