New York — The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) announced that the New York City Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) ongoing $150 million upgrade of the 26th Ward Wastewater Treatment Plant recently earned the Envision sustainable infrastructure rating system’s Silver award. This is the first wastewater treatment plant project in the U.S. to receive an ISI Envision rating system award and only the seventh Envision-verified infrastructure project overall in North America.
As part of the $150 million project to upgrade the plant to provide critical redundancies and ensure it remains in a state of good repair for decades to come, DEP will be adding a fifth preliminary treatment tank and installing new energy efficient and durable main sewage pumps, process air blowers and LED lighting. Additionally, a green roof will be added to the facility, large blowers will be put indoors to reduce noise pollution, and all materials will be reused and recycled whenever possible.
As the facility is located adjacent to Hendrix Creek and Jamaica Bay, the design for all the new structures, as well as the location and installation of critical equipment, follows guidelines outlined in DEP’s Wastewater Resiliency Plan and meets stringent and updated FEMA Advisory Base Flood Elevation regulations. The work is taking place pursuant to an agreement between the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and New York City. Greeley and Hansen is the design lead on the project.
“DEP’s 26th Ward Wastewater Treatment Plant achieved the Envision Silver award partly due to its quality of life sustainability characteristics, such as development of local skills, and minimization of noise, vibration and light pollution, but also because of its commitment to the principles of sustainability through their strategic plan, as well as the establishment of a Sustainability Management System to clearly define roles, responsibilities and procedures,” said ISI President and CEO William Bertera. “Both the Greeley and Hansen project team and DEP made significant public commitments to the principles of sustainability as well as a plan for long-term monitoring and maintenance, which will extend the useful life of these facilities.”
“New York City’s wastewater treatment plants keep our rivers, harbor and beaches clean and are fundamental to protecting public health and the environment,” said DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd. “The collaborative effort which resulted in the high level of sustainability for this $150 million upgrade to the 26th Ward Wastewater Treatment Plant will increase its resiliency against flood damage, help to ensure its continued reliability and protect the ecological health of Jamaica Bay.”
“Greeley and Hansen is proud to be the design consultant on this groundbreaking ISI Envision verified wastewater project,” said Greeley and Hansen Executive Vice President of Eastern Operations, Federico Maisch, P.E, BCEE, ENV SP. “The sustainable features of the 26th Ward Facility will make it an important asset to the city, and will provide environmental, social and economic benefits to the community.”
“We cannot overlook the importance of critical infrastructure projects like wastewater treatment plants to the health of Brooklyn's residents today as well as to the environment for many tomorrows to come,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “The 26th Ward Wastewater Treatment Plant in East New York is fundamental to the future of Jamaica Bay, and the upgrades which are advancing the facility's sustainability, energy efficiency, and resiliency will make its future possible for the thousands who rely upon it every day.”
The 26th Ward Wastewater Treatment Plant is located in southeastern Brooklyn on a 57.3 acre site and serves approximately 283,000 residents in East New York, Canarsie and Brownsville. It has the capacity to receive, clean and disinfect up to 170 million gallons a day of combined sanitary and stormwater flow. As part of an agreement with DEC, DEP engaged Greeley and Hansen to design a project that would add to the plant’s preliminary treatment tanks and modify the high level sewage pumps, pump and blower house, sludge de-gritting wing and other work. The main objective of the project is to provide primary treatment redundancy and uniform grit distribution at the preliminary settling tanks during wet weather events, along with associated structural, architectural, electrical and instrumentation upgrades.
The ISI Envision system measures sustainability in infrastructure projects through the measurement of five categories: Quality of Life (QL), Leadership (LD), Natural World (NW), Resource Allocation (RA), and Climate and Risk (CR). These contribute to overall credits for the positive social, economic, and environmental impacts in a community in the planning, design, and construction of infrastructure projects. The highest-rated project categories that the 26th Ward WWTP scored using the Envision rating system include:
Climate and Risk (CR) — The project assesses climate threat through DEP specific guidelines for crucial equipment installation for climate change and flood protection. The design for all new structures and equipment installation is based on these guidelines and meets stringent and updated FEMA Advisory Base Flood Elevation regulations. The project also includes infrastructure design elements that address long-term adaptability and resilience to climate change. The new Motor Control Center building will be designed to accommodate long-term changes in climate conditions and will include a green roof to compliment stormwater management. The new equipment is designed to adapt to long-term conditions including extreme weather to reduce risk and minimize costs to the community.
Quality of Life (QL) — DEP offers a range of public educational materials and information about the city’s vital water supply and wastewater treatment systems, water conservation, water and air quality, and other environmental concerns to help keep the environment safe and healthy for New Yorkers. DEP is committed to developing local sustainability skills and capabilities through programs for workplace safety and health training, in alliance with OSHA, and internship opportunities, and also demonstrates its commitment to long-term competitiveness through its work with the local school system, as well. DEP provides K-12 students and teachers with various free programs such as nature walks and field trips that can be included in class curriculum, as well as funding opportunities for environmental education. Good-neighbor design features incorporated in the project include the installation of new process blowers that will be located in the interior of the Pump and Blower House, which will greatly reduce noise in the community. Existing flood lighting will be replaced with discreet light sources to minimize light pollution and achieve recommended lighting levels for work areas, exit routes and stairs, and lamps that have photometric reduction of light spillage and energy efficient LED lighting.
Leadership (LD) — The 26th Ward WWTP project provides effective leadership and commitment to the principles of sustainability through DEP’s Strategic Plan which established sustainability as one of four key mission points to serve the City of New York. DEP has extraordinary sustainable management systems in place that clearly define roles and responsibilities in standard operating procedures. This includes a sustainability management policy, a Strategic Plan, and a clear process for identification of stakeholders to align with community issues.
DEP also provided for stakeholder involvement through the project team’s work with the public design commission and the local community. The community’s involvement was instrumental to the project team’s design process. The project also provides for long-term monitoring and maintenance of the facilities, including critical DEP water infrastructure monitoring devices. Materials were selected based on their durability and low maintenance requirements.
Natural World (NW) — The project preserves green fields by being located entirely on a previously developed site, which reduces the impact on wildlife and disturbances typically associated with construction. It also reduces pesticides and fertilizer impacts by using landscaping plants that do not require pesticides or fertilizer.