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Completion of $3 Million Upgrade to the Bowery Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant Significantly Reduces Nuisance Odors in Astoria

Newly Installed Aluminum Tank Covers and Carbon Filtration System Capture 99% of Odors

Construction Photos and a Map of the Project Area are Available on DEP’s Flickr page

New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Acting Commissioner Steven Lawitts joined with City Council Member Costa Constantinides to announce that work has been completed on the installation of aluminum covers and odor control units on each of the four sludge tanks located at the Bowery Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant in Astoria, Queens. The $3 million project ensures that nuisance odors emanating from the wastewater treatment plant are captured by the new aluminum covers and removed through an activated carbon filtration process. Work on the project began in 2015 and was completed by Memorial Day.

“Wastewater treatment is a vital process that safeguards the environment and protects public health, and we also work hard to ensure that we are good neighbors to those who live and work in the neighborhoods that surround our plants,” said DEP Acting Commissioner Steven Lawitts. “The completed odor control upgrades at the Bowery Bay facility will directly benefit the residents of northern Queens and I want to thank Council Member Costa Constantinides for the time, energy and efforts he and his staff devoted to partnering with DEP on addressing this important environmental concern.”

Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee, said, “As lifetime residents of the neighborhood, my family and I have too much experience with the odor from the Bowery Bay Plant. The new aluminum tank covers and odor control units will help improve the quality of life for all families in the area. Eliminating most of the odor that comes from the plant is a major benefit for our community. I thank DEP for partnering together with us on this $3 million upgrade project and working to complete it on time.”

New Yorkers produce, and DEP collects and treats, approximately 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater a day. Many of the City’s 14 wastewater treatment plants are located in residential or business communities across the five boroughs and DEP works to limit their impact on the surrounding neighborhoods. At the Bowery Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant, there are four holding tanks that have the capacity to store a combined 550,000 cubic feet of sludge. The aluminum covers, which are up to 85 feet wide, capture any nuisance odor and each dual-bed carbon canister filter cleanses up to 21,742 cubic feet of air per minute. The carbon filters capture and absorb the odorous hydrogen sulfide gas molecules produced during the wastewater treatment and sludge digestion process. The City College of New York will work with DEP to document the performance of the carbon filters.

The Bowery Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant went into operation in 1939 and is designed to treat 150 million gallons of wastewater a day. The plant serves approximately 850,000 residents in a drainage area of more than 15,000 acres in northwest Queens.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately one billion gallons of water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.5 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.