September 25, 2014
By Amanda LoMonaco
New York, NY — New York City will undertake a comprehensive program to upgrade essential underground infrastructure. The project has begun at four locations around the city, with dozens of other locations currently under consideration for future work. In June, the administration released the Underground Infrastructure Report, which called for improving the way that street work is conducted by the City and private utilities.
The administration has committed an additional $300 million to accelerate capital projects to upgrade the City’s buried infrastructure, including water mains and sewers, this year. The Department of Environmental Protection, which operates a network of roughly 15,000 miles of water mains and sewers beneath city streets, and Consolidated Edison and National Grid, which operate more than 6,300 miles of gas mains and service lines, have collaborated to select locations throughout the Big Apple for the coordinated replacement of water, wastewater and gas infrastructure, particularly those areas with older cast iron pipes that have required repairs in the past.
“We are putting shovels in the ground to fix and upgrade some of the oldest infrastructure in the city. These investments will mean less frequent flooding in neighborhoods inundated whenever it rains. They’ll mean more reliable utilities for residents and businesses. And they’ll mean a safer city for all of us. The partnership we’re putting into action today delivers on our promise to accelerate the work of rebuilding this city for the 21st Century,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The first projects resulting from these new infrastructure partnerships are already in motion. In the St. Albans neighborhood of Queens, to help alleviate localized street flooding, DEP was planning to add new storm sewers to several blocks where none currently exist. While the roadway was opened to add the storm sewers, the existing cast iron water mains that were originally installed in 1923 would be replaced with new ductile iron mains and the sanitary sewer line, installed in 1931, would also be upgraded. Prior to beginning this work, DEP coordinated with National Grid, who maintains buried natural gas mains in this area of Queens. Earlier this summer, National Grid replaced their cast iron gas mains that were originally installed in 1939, and DEP has subsequently replaced the water mains and is in the process of upgrading the sewer service. Work is expected to be completed this fall.
In Lower Manhattan, DEP was planning to replace a 12-inch diameter cast iron water main along several blocks of Clarkson Street that was originally installed in 1923. Work was coordinated with Consolidated Edison, who is now in the process of replacing their cast iron gas main that was originally installed in 1897, along these same blocks as DEP completes the upgrades to the water infrastructure. In addition, crews are now mobilizing to begin similar coordinated upgrades in the Jackson Heights and Murray Hill neighborhoods of Queens.
“The nearly 15,000 miles of buried water mains and sewers throughout the five boroughs are the lifeblood of New York City,” said DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd. “Thanks to the additional funding from the Mayor, and coordinated work with our private utility partners, we are on pace to replace the oldest pipes over the next 10 years.”