February 7, 2024
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Celebrates Major Milestone in Project to Enhance Long Island Water Quality

Governor Hochul Celebrates Major Milestone in Project to Enhance Long Island Water Quality

Completion of 11 Miles of Tunnels and Pipeline for Bay Park Conveyance Project Will Improve South Shore Water Quality, Habitats, and Storm Resiliency

Project Builds on New York’s Historic Investments in Critical Water Infrastructure and Comprehensive Resiliency Plan

Photos of the Completed Tunneling Phase

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a key milestone to advance the Bay Park Conveyance Project, a partnership between New York State and Nassau County that will dramatically improve water quality and storm resiliency in Long Island’s Western Bays. The announcement marks the completion of a pivotal stage of the project that includes the successful completion of tunneling operations and the construction of nearly 11 miles of pipeline that will spur the ecological recovery of the South Shore’s Western Bays and storm resilient marshlands by upgrading existing wastewater management infrastructure. Expedited construction has been managed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

“The Bay Park Conveyance Project is one of the most innovative infrastructure projects in the nation and an example of our State’s commitment to securing a healthier and more sustainable future for New Yorkers,” Governor Hochul said. “With the conclusion of this phase of work, we are making important progress to ensure Long Island has access to clean water and create healthy and resilient ecosystems."

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said, “We are pleased that the Governor is moving forward with the Bay Park project which will ensure a future of clean water and environmental security.”

The Bay Park Conveyance Project will reduce nitrogen pollution in the Western Bays by redirecting highly treated water from the rebuilt and upgraded South Shore Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) to the Cedar Creek Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP). This enables the treated water to be discharged, diffused, and dispersed approximately three miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean through an existing ocean outfall where there is vast assimilative capacity relative to the warm and shallow Western Bays. This innovative project, involving $158.6 million in State and State-directed grants to date along with comprehensive low-cost financing by the Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC), will prevent the discharge of an average of 50 million gallons per day of treated water from South Shore WRF into the Western Bays. Today’s key achievements include the construction of nearly 11 miles of new pipeline using innovative, low impact, tunneling technologies and the sliplining of an existing abandoned 100-year-old aqueduct pipe. The aqueduct, not used since the 1960s, was originally used to convey drinking water from Nassau County to New York City. 

A cutting-edge tunneling technique was employed to construct conduits for the new pipeline deep below the surface from the South Shore WRF extending two miles north to Sunrise Highway in Rockville Centre and from Sunrise Highway in western Wantagh extending more than 1.5 miles south to connect to the Cedar Creek’s ocean outfall. By using this approach, DEC and Western Bays Constructors (WBC), the project's design-builder, minimized surface disturbance to the surrounding communities, reduced cost, and accelerated construction. Two tunnel boring machines, named MARSH-MELLOW and P.O.S.E.I.D.O.N. by students at Fulton Avenue Elementary School, Oceanside School #8, and North Oceanside Road Elementary School, Oceanside School #5, were used for this project. WBC began sliplining activities in March 2022 and successfully installed more than 37,920 linear feet of pipe in over seven miles of the abandoned aqueduct between western Rockville Centre and western Wantagh in Nassau County. The new conveyance system is anticipated to be tested in 2024 and fully operational in 2025.

The Bay Park Conveyance Project also includes construction of supporting infrastructure to push the treated water through the new pipeline to the ocean outfall. Construction is progressing on the new pump station at the South Shore WRF and the receiving tank at the Cedar Creek WPCP. Project work began in March 2021. Built in 1949, the South Shore WRF serves more than 500,000 Nassau County residents and discharges treated water into the Western Bays each day. This discharge impacts nearly 10,000 acres of water and tidal marshland from Atlantic Beach to Point Lookout, including Hewlett and Baldwin harbors.

The Western Bays are a shallow waterbody with limited and poor tidal mixing. Due in large part to nitrogen in treated water from the South Shore WRF, the Western Bays are significantly impaired by macro algal blooms and other water quality issues, such as low dissolved oxygen. 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.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “Achieving this milestone on the massive Bay Park Conveyance Project marks a major step forward in New York State’s sustained efforts to reduce water pollution, foster coastal resilience, and improve the health of Nassau County’s Western Bays, and I commend DEC’s expert team for their tireless efforts to advance this critical project. Through Governor Hochul’s leadership, we are pioneering innovative infrastructure solutions to pressing water quality issues across the state, and this project is a shining example of how clean water investments create jobs and safeguard our precious water resources.”

Environmental Facilities Corporation President and CEO Maureen A. Coleman said, “The construction milestone we’re celebrating today demonstrates the tangible benefits that result when we work together toward New York State’s clean water goals. Governor Hochul is leading New York State into a cleaner, more resilient future with nation-leading investments in strategic environmental infrastructure projects like Bay Park, and we are committed to working with Nassau County to help get this transformational project across the finish line.”

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said, “Long Island’s Western Bays are one step closer to better water quality and increased storm resilience with the completion of the tunneling and pipeline phase of this critical project to divert nitrogen-polluted water. Thanks to Governor Hochul’s leadership in upgrading wastewater management infrastructure, and with the help of tens of millions in federal funds I secured for Bay Park and related water-sewer infrastructure after Superstorm Sandy, nitrogen pollution will be drastically reduced in the Western Bays, spurring its ecological recovery and improving storm protection for Long Islanders on the South Shore.”

Assemblymember David G. McDonough said, “I am pleased that the completion of this portion of the project has commenced, reducing the nitrogen pollution in the Western Bays. It is important that New York State takes the forefront in increasing the water quality of Long Island and the surrounding communities.”

Nassau County Legislator Seth I. Koslow said, “With the completion of this significant phase of the Bay Park Conveyance Project, the state and Nassau County have taken a major step toward longterm improvements that will restore the Western Bays, protect coastal communities like Freeport from climate change, and preserve our quality of life. I thank Governor Hochul and all of our partners in this endeavor for prioritizing this investment in our region’s future.”

Nassau County Legislator Debra Mulé said, “New York State has reached a significant milestone in the regional efforts to bolster the storm resiliency of our coastal communities and accelerate the ecological recovery of the Western Bays and Reynolds Channel. It has been my privilege to support this initiative at every step of the legislative process, and I applaud Governor Hochul and our state partners for their focus on this vital infrastructure initiative.”

The Bay Park Conveyance Project, costing approximately $500 million, is in addition to the $830 million State and federally funded comprehensive resilient rebuild and upgrade of the South Shore WRF. State grants for the conveyance project totaling $81.7 million have been provided to Nassau County through DEC and EFC, further underscoring the State’s commitment to helping the county undertake this project affordably. The county will receive an additional $76.9 million through State-directed Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazard Mitigation grants. To learn more, visit the Bay Park Conveyance Project  website.

New York's Commitment to Water Quality

New York State continues to increase its nation-leading investments in water infrastructure, including $325 million in grant opportunities made available in January. With Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget’s proposed $500 million over two years, New York will have invested a total of $5.5 billion in water infrastructure since 2017. This funding complements Governor Hochul’s State of the State initiative to increase water infrastructure grants for small rural communities from 25 to 50 percent of net eligible project costs to help support smaller communities.

The funding is in addition to other substantial water quality investments, including the voter-approved $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022 which is advancing historic levels of funding to update aging water infrastructure and protect water quality, strengthen communities' ability to withstand severe storms and flooding, reduce air pollution and lower climate-altering emissions, restore habitats, and preserve outdoor spaces and local farms. The first round of funding under the Environmental Bond Act was awarded through the WIIA/IMG programs in December, when Governor Hochul announced $479 million in grants to 156 projects across New York State. Disadvantaged Communities will receive at least 35 percent of the benefits of Bond Act funding, with a goal of 40 percent.

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