Two new water mains were placed under Eastchester Bay. On July 20, 2022, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala and NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley announced the completion of a $34 million project dedicated to upgrading the drinking water for City Island, Bronx residents. The project began in 2019 and was substantially completed in December 2021 through the funding of the Department of Environmental Protection and the management of the Department of Design and Construction.
NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala stated, “This $34 million infrastructure investment will ensure that the residents, businesses and visitors to City Island have a reliable supply of high-quality drinking water for generations to come.”
CityLand reached out to the Department of Design and Construction to question whether there were any circumstances or conditions that necessitated the $34 million City Island project. The Department of Design and Construction responded through Assistant Public Information Officer Shoshana Khan, “The two new subaqueous water mains were installed to replace a 100-year-old subaqueous water main and an exposed water main on City Island Bridge that needed to be protected from the weather and any other external factors.”
Two new water mains were placed under the Eastchester Bay for residents and businesses on City Island. An old 12-inch water main and a temporary 16-inch main located on the City Island Bridge were replaced with two new 20-inch subaqueous water mains. The water mains extend from an area within the Pelham Bay Park area towards City Island.
Construction engineers utilized the horizontal directional drilling technology to create two 2000-foot subaqueous passageways through which the two new water pipes were pulled through. The process included: drilling a pilot hole from one end to another, enlarging the hole to fit the two new water mains, and stabilizing the newly made tunnel with steel plates. A receiving pit was dug out on City Island to receive the new water mains to add it to City Island’s water main distribution system.
During construction on City Island, a cofferdam was constructed to create a dry, safe working environment while a yellow turbidity barrier was placed to protect the environment of the Eastchester Bay from any debris from the work area.
NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley stated, “Tunneling under Eastchester Bay was a complicated project that will ensure a reliable water supply for City Island for decades to come. I commend the DDC staff for their diligence in working through the pandemic and for their dedication to environmental protection and ensuring that the work did not disturb environmentally sensitive areas nearby.”
Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson stated, “Clean drinking water is a fundamental human right, and it is in the best interest of our city that all New Yorkers have tap water that is safe to drink and free of contamination.”
The bike path connecting City Island to Pelham Bay Park and the pedestrian pathway connecting the Catherine Scott promenade to the Pelham Bay bike path was restored.
Council Member Marjorie Velázquez stated, “The residents and businesses of City Island are entitled to clean drinking water and a well-managed water supply…I’m glad to see the completed project not only provides water but a new pipeline and new fire hydrants for both City Island and Pelham Bay Park, as well as restored pedestrian pathways and bike paths.”
The project ultimately received a Diamond award by the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York and was named “2021 Project of the Year” by the Construction Management Association of America’s NY/NJ Chapter (CMAA) for providing safe, reliable drinking water to City Island’s 4,500 residents.
NYC Mayor Eric Adams stated, “New Yorkers are made of the ‘best stuff on Earth,’ and the water we drink is and must be part of that.”
For prior CityLand coverage on the City Island project, click here.
By: Malka Amar (Malka is a CityLaw intern and New York Law School student, Class of 2023.)
DDC: “City Completes New Drinking Water Connection to City Island” (July 20, 2022).