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July 12, 2013


Christopher Gilbride / Mercedes Padilla (DEP) (718) 595-6600
Joe Soldevere / Craig Chin (DDC) (718) 391-1641

City Completes First Phase of $22 Million Project to Connect City Water Tunnel No. 3 to West Chelsea Neighborhood and Allow for Disinfection of Tunnel Prior to Activation

New York City Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland and Department of Design and Construction Commissioner David Burney today announced the completion, more than two months ahead of schedule, of the first phase of a $22.6 million project to connect City Water Tunnel No. 3 to the local water distribution network in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. The project also included the installation of nearly 300 feet of 48-inch reinforced concrete sewer lines, two sewer chambers, and one pressure relief chamber that will allow for the disinfection and draining of Tunnel No. 3 prior to its activation later this year. Tunnel No. 3 lies roughly 500 feet below street level and is pressurized. In order to disinfect and then drain the water from the tunnel prior to its activation, reinforced sewers and pressure relief chambers had to be built to decelerate the pressurized water prior to its introduction to the city sewer system, which is gravity fed. The work took place on 10th Avenue between West 33rd Street and West 30th Street. Additional work included the reconstruction of existing distribution water mains and utility infrastructure along 10th Avenue and West 30th Street.

“The borough of Manhattan consumes approximately 350 million gallons of high quality water each day and the activation of Tunnel No. 3 later this year will provide critical redundancy in the system that supplies that water,” said Commissioner Strickland. “Large scale infrastructure projects that require the opening of busy Manhattan roadways require a great deal of coordination amongst numerous agencies and private utilities and I’d like to thank Commissioner Burney and the DDC and DEP staff who worked hard to complete this important project more than two months ahead of schedule.”

“The completion of the first phase of this project—including the installation of large-diameter sewer lines, several large sewer chambers, and other pressure-relief mechanisms to chlorinate and drain the Manhattan section of Water Tunnel No. 3—keeps us on pace to activate Tunnel No. 3 by the end of the year. I’m pleased to report that we finished the first phase 2 ½ months ahead of schedule, and we are aiming for similar results in subsequent phases of the project and at the other critical shaft-connection projects we have underway in Manhattan,” said Commissioner Burney. “The early completion of this work was made possible by the rigorous schedule set by our infrastructure team at DDC and constant coordination among a number of government agencies and community stakeholders. Indeed, DEP’s tunnel-shaft connection work, Related’s work at Hudson Yards, and the next phase of the High Line are all located within a four-block radius of this project.”

Future phases of this project will include the installation of new trunk water mains under 10th Avenue between West 33rd Street and West 29th Street, a new combined box sewer under West 30th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues, and a new force main under West 30th Street from 10th Avenue to 12th Avenue. Trunk water mains range in size from 24 to 48 inches and serve as a conduit between the large water tunnel shafts and the smaller water mains that make up the local distribution networks. The project will also include the construction of 7 catch basins, 1,305 linear feet of sewers, 21 fire hydrants, 3 chambers, 5 manholes, 1,300 square feet of concrete sidewalk with pedestrian ramps, 1,928 cubic yards of concrete road base, and 9,746 square yards of asphalt pavement.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $14 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. This capital program is responsible for critical projects like City Water Tunnel No. 3; the Staten Island Bluebelt program, an ecologically sound and cost-effective stormwater management system; the city’s Watershed Protection Program, which protects sensitive lands upstate near the city’s reservoirs in order to maintain their high water quality; and the installation of more than 820,000 Automated Meter Reading devices, which will allow customers to track their daily water use, more easily manage their accounts and be alerted to potential leaks on their properties. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter at

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600