City to Build New Drinking Water Connection to City Island

Work begins to construct two new water mains to connect City Island to the mainland water supply. Image Credit: NYC DEP

The $24 million project will improve water access for over 4,500 residents. On March 3, 2020, the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Design and Construction announced the beginning of a project to upgrade the drinking water supply connection to City Island in the Bronx.

Two new 20-inch diameter water mains will be constructed under Pelham Bay to provide fresh water to City Island. These water mains will replace a 12-inch underwater main and a temporary 16-inch main installed on the City Island Bridge. The new water mains will connect to 20-inch and 24-inch water mains on the mainland, and connect to the existing 8-inch and 20-inch water mains on City Island. The new water mains will stretch over 5,200 feet long. New fire hydrants will also be added on both sides of Pelham Bay.

The project will cost $24 million and will be funded by the Department of Environmental Protection. The Department of Design and Construction will oversee the management of the project, which is expected to be completed in 2022.

The project will use horizontal directional drilling technology to dig below Pelham Bay. Engineers will dig a pilot hole from one surface point in the Rodman’s Neck peninsula to another on City Island, enlarge the hole, grout a steel sleeve to stabilize the new tunnel, and then pass pipes through the new tunnel. According to DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo, “by drilling through bedrock from the mainland toward City Island we do not disturb any marine life or the sea floor, and we do not hinder navigation in the channel during construction.”

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. stated, “It is important that we, as a city, continue to improve our critical infrastructure. This water main replacement project will provide an upgraded water supply connection to City Island, benefitting both residents and businesses, and I am grateful to the DEP and DDC for moving forward with this important project.”

City Council Member Mark Gjonaj, who represents City Island, stated, “This upgrade to the drinking water supply connection to City Island has been long needed and I await its completion. We need to do a better job, going forward, to ensure and provide high-quality drinking water to our communities and that the upgrade meets the most efficient, innovative and environmentally friendly methods.”

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)



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