Thursday, March 6, 2008

Octagon Residents Report Increased DEP Activity at NYC Water Tunnel #3 Site

Water Tunnel Map - WIRE 2620 - July 2006

According to postings on the Octagon residents’ bulletin board it appears that the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) may be gearing up its operations here on Roosevelt Island. The island is host to Water Tunnel # 3, Shaft 15B. For anyone familiar with the project the site is somewhat controversial as it will be acting as chlorination point for at least the segment of the water tunnel that proceeds under our Island.
“I’m just curious and I may just be in the dark completely cause I don’t read the news- but what is about to be built by those trailers in the back by the church(south)- it looks like they are finally about to start building something.”

“at least six of the blue rectangles are large portable liquid tanks, and they are being bolted up to a set of big pipes and valves. in addition, it looks like they are grading the ground for the truck access road. so it would seem they are getting ready to store sodium hypochlorite over there- I have a call in to the DEP to confirm this, but haven't heard back.”

“i;m mainly curious if they still plan on installing large light towers along the fence, and how often and what times of day they plan on large trucks rumbling by the building. i'd also like to know what they are doing to contain any spills - besides let it run down our driveway into the playground!”

The two most recent Main Street WIRE articles regarding the site dealt with safety issues (December 2, 2006) and with the size of the land required for security reasons around the entrance shaft (July 1, 2006). The above map is courtesy of the WIRE and is from the July 1, 2006 issue.

Update: 1:00 pm

Timing is everything. Apparently RIOC visited the DEP site this morning and they also saw this blog. According to RIOC President Stephen Shane:

"The project is to be able to pump excess water from the tunnel as it leaks in from groundwater sources, treat it for salinity and turbidity so that it is suitable to discharge into the river. It is not a superchlorination site."

Mr. Shane indicated that the DEP is sending RIOC a project description which once received will be made available.

Now I must admit I am confused as the WIRE articles, linked above, did refer to the site being used for chlorination purposes. This post was certainly not made to raise the alarm bells but merely to report what our neighbors up at the Octagon noted in their back yard.


  1. the pump and dump project was already was done in 2003 - are they saying they REMOVED that system, and now need it again? or is this a different system? if the former, why was it removed to begin with?

  2. Unknown. It was what Mr. Shane indicated.

    He also indicated last night, informally at last night's CB8 meeting, that since the tunnel is years away from being operational the DEP is not even at a point that chlorine would be brought onto the island, if that is how this shaft is to be used and he believes that "fact" is an unknown and that until it is known to refer to it as "fact" is only trying to raise a non-existent alarm unnecesssarily scaring residents. (Sorry for the bad run on sentence)

  3. yes, well... WW2 was a long time coming, and the 'fact' of war was an unknown and to refer to it as a 'fact' was just trying to scare people. definitely, no-one should have asked any questions about invasions and defenses before sept 1, 1939.

    right? or was he just channeling rumsfeld for a moment? the best part about that ramble is that the DEP has made it quite clear that, yes, it is a FACT that it will use the shaft for chlorination. time will tell and plans may change, true. but asking about new construction on a stated FACT of a plan seems valid to me.

    no-one's trying to fearmonger about what is going on there, we'd all just like to know. 'course, when politicians start to prattle on about how we shouldn't be asking questions that might scare residents, or 'aid the enemy,' or reveal where the money went, etc etc, one does begin to wonder if there IS something to hide! truth is such a good antidote to rumor; you'd think politicians would discover that ONE day, but apparently the gene that expresses itself in a desire to run for office also expresses in an incapability for a straight answer.

    my kid asked: 'is that a chlorine tank, and will it explode?' i was able to reassure him that no, even if it was a chlorine tank, it wouldn't explode. what i couldn't do was explain WHAT it was, because no-one will come out with a straight answer.

    FWIW, a sumpwater cleanup and pump station makes sense - but i AM curious to know what happened to the first one...