Design-Build Method Will Help Accelerate Project to Restore Long Island's Western Bays
Resilient and Efficient Rebuild of Bay Park Wastewater Treatment Plant is Nearly Complete After Being Destroyed by Superstorm Sandy in 2012
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Nassau County today announced a critical milestone in the Bay Park Conveyance Project with the publication of a Request for Qualifications for interested design-build teams. With the start of the design-build process for the new Bay Park Conveyance Project combined with the near-completion of the $830 million Bay Park Wastewater Treatment Plant rebuild and other state and county investments in resiliency projects, the water quality of Long Island's Western Bays will be restored and coastal communities will be better protected against future damage from storms like Sandy, Irene and Lee.
"This innovative project is showing the world the power of investing in building stronger, more resilient infrastructure systems," Governor Cuomo said. "Our partnership with Nassau County on the Bay Park Conveyance Project will help transform, restore and revive Long Island's Western Bays, while helping ensure this vital resource is protected from future extreme weather events."
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said, "Great projects are led by a great team. I am grateful that Governor Cuomo and the NYSDEC have partnered with the County to clean up the Western Bays of Nassau County. The State and County are seeking a highly qualified team of design-build firms to clean up the Bays, restore the marine ecosystem, and restore storm/buffering marshes to make the South Shore more storm-resilient. I thank Governor Cuomo for his dedication to fast-tracking this project, which will create jobs, spur economic development, boost tourism, enhance recreation opportunities, and make significant progress towards protecting and preserving our environment for generations to come."
Bay Park Conveyance Project to Use Design-Build
This Request for Qualifications will begin the design-build procurement process for the Bay Park Conveyance Project. Design-build is a cost-saving procurement approach that incentivizes the private sector to accelerate the completion of large-scale infrastructure projects.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will evaluate firms submitting qualifications and select the most qualified design-build teams to submit proposals to design and build the project. The Request for Proposals will be issued in January 2020 with the most qualified and cost-effective design-build team selected in the summer. DEC will manage the design-build contract. After the project is completed, Nassau County will own and operate the new facilities.
The Bay Park Conveyance Project will connect the existing Bay Park Treatment Plant to the existing Cedar Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant's outfall by constructing two underground tunnels and using an abandoned aqueduct to join with Cedar Creek's three-mile long ocean outfall that has a one-mile long diffusion pipe at the end. Due in large part to nitrogen in treated wastewater discharges from the Bay Park plant, as well as Long Beach, Cedarhurst and Lawrence treatment plants, the Western Bays are impaired by macro algae blooms and other water quality impacts such as low dissolved oxygen. In addition, peer-reviewed scientific studies have linked excess nitrogen to the damage and ultimate disintegration of coastal marsh islands that serve as a resilient barrier to storm surge and associated waves.
When completed, the conveyance project will allow for the ecological recovery of the Western Bays at a substantially lower cost and shorter construction schedule than other options considered, which would have cost more than $600 million and taken nearly a decade to construct. The Conveyance Project will reduce 19 billion gallons of treated wastewater and more than 95 percent of the nitrogen loading to Reynolds Channel and the Western Bays each year and achieve region-wide resiliency benefits.
Last month on October 23rd, another milestone was completed when the Nassau County Executive's Office signed a contract with a program management firm to assist New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in expediting the project. The program manager will work with the Department to oversee the design and construction. The contract is now undergoing final reviews by the State prior to execution.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Governor Cuomo has repeatedly demonstrated his leadership and commitment to 'build back better' for the benefit of Long Island's communities and natural resources. It is exciting to see the significant rebuild of the Bay Park plant nearing completion and the beginning of the Bay Park Conveyance Project through the use of design-build to efficiently and effectively reduce nitrogen from the South Shore's waterways and increase resiliency in the face of climate change, sea-level rise, and severe weather events."
Near-Completion of Bay Park Treatment Plant Rebuild
The Conveyance Project builds on $830 million in state and federal funds already invested in the multi-year resilient rebuild of the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant. During Superstorm Sandy, floodwaters inundated the engines for the plant's main pumping system and compromised its electrical grid. The plant experienced loss of conveyance and treatment services for nearly three days, resulting in a public health crisis from sewage backup and overflow. The Governor's Office of Storm Recovery provided $101 million for the third phase of electrical resiliency work, which includes the construction of a new Main Substation that houses power distribution for the entire plant, emergency generators and associated switchgears.
Now equipped with multiple sources of emergency power and distribution within a structure built eight feet above Base Flood Elevation, Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant will be able to treat and pump wastewater during a 500-year flood event, a storm that exceeds the intensity of Superstorm Sandy. The rebuild also includes the repair and upgrade of numerous treatment systems, collection systems, pump stations and the installation of engineered structures to protect other plant operations. Nassau County is installing two nitrogen treatment systems at the Bay Park facility to reduce nitrogen concentrations in treated wastewater by up to 50 percent. Only a few more elements of the rebuild remain.
Nassau County Western Bays Resiliency Initiative
To complement these efforts, Nassau County announced the launch of the Western Bays Resiliency Initiative, which will further address nitrogen discharges to Reynolds Channel and the impaired Western Bays under a multi-pronged program. Of the four wastewater treatment plants that discharged into Reynolds Channel - Long Beach, Cedarhurst, Lawrence and Bay Park - two (Cedarhurst and Lawrence) are already diverting treated wastewater to Bay Park. The City of Long Beach and Nassau County combined have received approximately $13 million in state grants to convert the city's wastewater treatment plant into a pump station that would send wastewater via a pipe under Reynolds Channel to Bay Park. The Conveyance Project will then carry treated wastewater from the four plants to the Cedar Creek ocean outfall.
This milestone is one of several underway to improve water quality, create more resilient infrastructure, protect important marine resources and boost local economies. In September, Governor Cuomo announced that he will introduce an aggressive nation-leading habitat restoration initiative, "Revive Mother Nature," in next year's State of the State address. Revive Mother Nature will support critical environmental restoration efforts, like the Western Bays restoration, to help increase fish and wildlife habitat while also making communities more resilient in the face of climate change and severe weather.
The Governor is also investing $3 billion in clean water infrastructure; preparing New York for extreme weather events with $4.5 billion in federal Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funding; implementing a $10.4 million effort to improve Long Island's water quality, economy, and resiliency by restoring native shellfish populations to coastal waters; aggressively tackling nitrogen pollution by working with partners on the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan and the Suffolk County Sewer Expansion; advancing the largest expansion of the State's Artificial Reef Program to develop a stronger, more diverse marine ecosystem; and implementing the historic Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, among other nation-leading climate initiatives, to help New York prepare and take action to adapt to a changing climate.