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Williamsburg Water Main Upgrade Uses Innovative Process to Reduce Cost, Duration and Neighborhood Disruption

$42 Million Upgrade will Improve Water Distribution in Williamsburg and Greenpoint

An innovative process to revive older infrastructure is being used by the New York City Departments of Design and Construction (DDC) and Environmental Protection (DEP) as the City seeks to improve the water distribution system near McCarren Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The method, known as “slip lining,” threads new water mains through existing underground pipes with the use of adjustable sliders, saving time and money and minimizing disruption to neighborhood streets.

The $42 million project spans 16 blocks along Leonard Street from Driggs Avenue to Maujer Street. An existing 72-inch trunk water main, originally installed in 1894, is being lined with a new 60-inch pipe. Instead of digging up the entire 16-block length of the project, the slip lining process requires that only ten short trenches be cut, reducing noise and dust and preserving roadway access for pedestrians and vehicles. The process will save an estimated $4 million and expedite the project’s completion by approximately one year. It is anticipated that the project will be completed by the end of 2019.

“Slip lining can be a minimally invasive and cost effective way to enhance the City’s infrastructure,” said DDC Acting Commissioner Ana Barrio. “Residents and businesses along over half a mile of Leonard Street will benefit greatly from this less disruptive and faster process. DDC will work with DEP and other agencies to see where slip lining can be incorporated into additional City projects.”

“The 72-inch trunk water main under Leonard Street has served the neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Greenpoint for more than a century and it is time for an upgrade,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “By using the slip lining technique, DDC lessens any construction-related disturbances and helps keep water bills manageable.”

“Our borough’s water infrastructure must meet the demands of a growing population and increasing usage demands. I commend DDC Acting Commissioner Barrio and DEP Commissioner Sapienza for leading an innovative, cost-cutting approach to upgrade our water distribution system in Greenpoint and Williamsburg so that residents and businesses have access to a reliable water supply with minimal neighborhood disruption. I will continue to prioritize the durability and longevity of piping systems across Brooklyn, in partnership with the City,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

“Improving NYC’s aging infrastructure is imperative. These improvements typically bring construction and inconveniences that negatively affect New Yorkers’ quality of life. However, Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Sapienza have recognized this problem and proactively found innovative ways to mitigate the issue. While there still might be some minor inconveniences, I applaud DEP and DDC for stepping to the plate and improving our water distribution system in a sensible and community conscious way,” said Assembly Member Joseph R. Lentol.

“This pipeline project is a much needed improvement to our District’s infrastructure and I applaud DEP and DDC for this bold initiative. The community of Williamsburg deserve to live in a neighborhood that is consistently working towards renewing our current outdated public works system and I am proud to see this project take shape,” said Assembly Member Maritza Davila.

“Smartphones and software don’t have a monopoly on innovation,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “We can improve our most vital services to maintain a high quality of life and bolster our system’s resiliency for decades to come. We should always be looking at how we can do more with less. This project is a perfect example of that. I applaud DDC and DEP for spearheading and welcoming innovation to the benefit of city residents. It may have started here in North Brooklyn, but I hope it spreads city-wide.”

“We are extremely pleased that a newer technology is being harnessed by both DDC and DEP to achieve improvements to our infrastructure. Our kudos goes out to the City for its plans to use a less disruptive methodology. A significant advantage of this slip lining technology is the ability to install a new pipe within the existing main, not requiring the extensive street openings like the conventional replacement methods. Brooklyn Community Board No. 1 welcomes the significant cost savings realized with slip lining and we hope these savings may fund additional much needed infrastructure projects, such as trench restoration, in our district,” said Dealice Fuller, Chairperson, Brooklyn Community Board 1.

The Leonard Street project includes the replacement of local water mains, as well as sanitary and combined sewers, curbs, sidewalks, street lighting and traffic lights. A total of 3,600 linear-feet of 60-inch trunk main will be installed via the slip lining method. Additionally, 56 catch basins will be installed to minimize flooding and 23 new fire hydrants will be placed along the span. The road will be fully reconstructed once work is completed.

“Trenchless technology such as slip lining is far less invasive than the old methods of tearing up streets,” said DDC’s Engineer-in-Charge Jatin Upadhyay. “Slip lining causes fewer traffic delays and reduces street closures, and it’s less expensive since you don’t have to open and then repair all of the roads. It’s important to try new things and I believe this experiment will help the City a great deal.”

DDC’s Upadhyay, a veteran civil engineer who has served New York City for 29 years, began his career with DEP and moved to DDC when it was founded in 1996.

LiRo Engineers, Inc. are the consultants for the project, and Tully Construction Co. is the contractor. The project is expected to be completed in winter 2019.

About the New York City Department of Design and Construction

The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s lenses of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to city projects. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/ddc.

About the New York City Department of Environmental Protection

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high quality drinking 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 21 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 $18.9 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year.