NEW YORK -- Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway has outlined a design and timeline to address leaks in the Delaware Aqueduct. The 85-mile aqueduct, completed in 1944, conveys approximately half of the city's drinking water-more than 500 million gallons per day-from four upstate reservoirs to more than eight million people in New York City, and one million people in Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties who also rely on the City's high quality drinking water.
Under the plan, DEP will build a three-mile bypass tunnel around a portion of the aqueduct that is leaking in Roseton in Orange County, and repair other leaks in Wawarsing, in Ulster County, from the inside of the existing tunnel. The three-mile bypass tunnel will run east from the Town of Newburgh in Orange County, under the Hudson River to the Town of Wappinger in Dutchess County, on the east side of the Hudson. The construction of the bypass tunnel and the repair of the lining will ensure that DEP can continue to deliver high quality drinking water every day for decades to come.
Under the plan, DEP will break ground on the bypass tunnel in 2013, and complete the connection to the Delaware Aqueduct in 2019. The bypass tunnel and internal repairs will cost approximately $1.2 billion, and water projects to supplement the city's supply during part of the construction period will cost approximately $900 million. The tunnel repair and project is expected to create between 1,000 and 1,500 jobs.
"Ensuring the integrity of New York City's vital infrastructure is fundamental to our long-term growth and prosperity," said Commissioner Holloway. "From City Water Tunnel No. 3 to the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, Mayor Bloomberg has continued to invest in critical infrastructure projects, even in tough economic times. The Delaware Aqueduct is a primary water artery to the City, and fixing the leaks that have appeared since it went online more than 65 years ago is critical to supplying nine million New Yorkers with the high quality drinking water they need every day.
"DEP has already committed more than $300 million to determining the scope and location of the leaks, designing a solution, and beginning the preliminary construction necessary to undertake this complex, multi-faceted project," Holloway continued. "The result of this multi-year effort is a cost-effective solution that will minimize any disruption to the city's water supply, and ensure that DEP can continue to deliver the highest quality water to nine million New Yorkers for generations to come."
"Repairing the Delaware Aqueduct is a critical step towards meeting our PlaNYC goal of developing critical backup systems for our water network," said Director David Bragdon of the Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. "Taking care of our basic infrastructure will ensure a more reliable drinking water supply for New Yorkers and helps us build a greener, greater New York."
THE DELAWARE AQUEDUCT
The Delaware water supply system originates more than 100 miles north of New York City and consists of four reservoirs: Cannonsville, Neversink, Pepacton, and Rondout. The 85-mile Delaware Aqueduct conveys drinking water from these reservoirs to the city's distribution system. It is designed to provide up to 900 million gallons of water a day, but typically meets about half of the city's daily water needs.
The aqueduct, the world's longest continuous tunnel, was constructed between 1939 and 1944 and crosses Ulster, Orange, Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester counties. The aqueduct is a concrete-lined tunnel that varies in diameter from 13.5 to 19.5 feet and runs as deep as 1,500 feet beneath the ground. It was constructed by drilling and blasting, and in most areas, it is lined only with unreinforced concrete. In areas where the rock is not as strong, a steel reinforcement liner was added to the concrete liner.