July 3, 2015
By Stephanie West
New York City's Fiscal Year 2016 Capital Budget includes planned commitments of $10.4 billion for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) over five years, a 12% increase over last year's budget. While slightly lower than its 2008 peak, when DEP was in the midst of several massive projects including two water filtration plants and extensive upgrades to its wastewater treatment plants.
This budget directs significant resources to several critical initiatives: DEP is committing nearly $4 billion for projects supporting the water supply and distribution systems. Design work worth $42 million is scheduled to begin this year for upgrading critical, aging water control facilities at Hillview Reservoir. $45 million is budgeted for site acquisition and design of the Kensico-Eastview Connection tunnel.
DEP is undertaking several major projects to protect and enhance delivery of water from key resources, known collectively as the Water for the Future program. The Delaware Watershed Aqueduct will be shut down and repaired. The Queens underground system will be improved to provide water during repairs to the Delaware Aqueduct, and to provide long-term system redundancy.
DEP will spend $3.3 billion as it continues to improve its sewage treatment plants in order to meet federal mandates for water quality in New York Harbor, surrounding rivers and water bodies. Hunts Point Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) work is a five year commitment. The plan also includes $360 million for floodwater resiliency and post-Sandy reconstruction efforts.
The City has begun a major effort to construct a comprehensive sewer system in Southeast Queens, including projects to deliver some near term flooding relief.
Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson said, "The City's water and sewer system is an engineering marvel that requires constant upkeep and improvement to meet extensive state and federal mandates, address climate change, and withstand age. The de Blasio administration has funded DEP adequately to meet many of these goals in the coming years. The City and the entire region will benefit greatly from these investments."