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For Release: Tuesday, March 15, 2022

New York State DEC and Nassau County Announce Key Milestones to Advance Bay Park Conveyance Project

Project Will Repurpose More Than Seven Miles of Abandoned Aqueduct Beneath Sunrise Highway

Use of Existing Aqueduct for New Pipeline Will Reduce Cost, Duration, and Disruption for Community Residents

Microtunneling Underway to Install Underground Piping without Long Trenches or Disturbance

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos and Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman today announced key milestones to advance the Bay Park Conveyance Project. The Project is a partnership between New York State and Nassau County to improve water quality and storm resiliency in Long Island's Western Bays by upgrading existing wastewater management infrastructure.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "New York State and DEC are proud to partner with Nassau County to advance this transformational project that will benefit our environment and our communities. The Bay Park Conveyance Project is the largest microtunneling project in the hemisphere and it's happening right here on Long Island. With Governor Hochul's sustained leadership keeping this critical project on track, we are well on our way to strengthening coastal resiliency and restoring water quality and habitat along the South Shore."

New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation President and CEO Maureen A. Coleman said, "EFC is pleased to support this critical infrastructure project with over $300 million in low-cost financing and grants. This project highlights Governor Hochul's ongoing commitment to upgrading and protecting critical infrastructure with innovative solutions, which is vital to improving water quality and enhancing storm resiliency for shoreline communities."

On March 14, sliplining began, repurposing more than seven miles of an abandoned aqueduct beneath Sunrise Highway between western Rockville Centre and western Wantagh in Nassau County. By repurposing this existing structure, the new pipeline will be constructed faster, at a substantially reduced cost, and with less disruption for area residents.

Microtunneling, slated to begin this week, is an innovative digging technique that will construct tunnels for a new pipeline deep below the surface from the South Shore Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) extending two miles north to Sunrise Highway and from Sunrise Highway in western Wantagh extending over one and half miles south to the Cedar Creek Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP). This approach minimizes surface disturbance to the surrounding communities and allows the project to advance in multiple locations simultaneously accelerating construction.

In total, the Bay Park Conveyance Project will construct 10.9 miles of new pipeline to convey treated water from the South Shore WRF to the Cedar Creek WPCP to be discharged through an existing ocean outfall.

Sliplining is an innovative, trenchless construction technique that installs a smaller pipe inside a larger host pipe, minimizing surface disturbance. Sliplining is now underway in Freeport, the first of 24 total work sites along Sunrise Highway. As part of the sliplining process, crews excavate to the existing aqueduct at individual pit locations, place a hydraulic jacking machine at the base of the pit, and then slide the new conveyance pipe into the existing aqueduct. By accessing the aqueduct from discrete work locations along Sunrise Highway, sliplining activities will have limited disturbance to Sunrise Highway, adjacent businesses, and the public.

Microtunneling will soon begin in Bay Park at the first of 14 shaft locations. Shafts along the microtunneling corridor are being constructed to provide deep access points where microtunneling will advance. Microtunneling cuts a hole far underground and drills horizontally from a shaft without disturbing the surface above. This construction technique is a safe, effective way to install piping deep into the ground, avoiding long trenches and surface disturbance.

Today's milestones follow the Project's formal Notice to Proceed in March 2021, groundbreaking in April 2021, significant completion of design, and the construction of several pits and shafts across the Project's corridor to support the commencement of sliplining and microtunneling.

Built in 1949, the South Shore WRF serves more than 500,000 Nassau County residents and discharges an average of 52 million gallons of treated water into Reynolds Channel each day. This discharge impacts nearly 10,000 acres of water and tidal marshland in the Western Bays, from Atlantic Beach to Point Lookout, including Hewlett and Baldwin harbors. Due in large part to nitrogen in treated water from this plant, the Western Bays are 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.

The Bay Park Conveyance Project is a partnership between DEC and the Nassau County Department of Public Works. It builds on $830 million in State and federal funds previously invested in the multi-year resilient rebuild of the South Shore WRF. These projects, combined with other State and County investments in resiliency, support the restoration of the Western Bays, protect important marine resources, and boost local economies with the added benefit of better protection to coastal communities against future damage from storms.

The project will reduce nitrogen pollution in the Western Bays by redirecting treated water from the South Shore WRF to the Cedar Creek WPCP. From Cedar Creek, the treated water will be discharged approximately three miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean via an ocean outfall pipe that diffuses the water and disperses it. A new pump station will be constructed at the South Shore WRF. Project work began in March 2021 and is expected to be completed in 2024.

"For decades, the Western Bays have been poisoned by effluent from the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant. Now, through the leadership of Governor Hochul and Commissioner Seggos, we are finally implementing this innovative and game-changing solution. This is the beginning of the resurgence of a vital waterway that will lead to a better economy and a more resilient South Shore," said Senator Todd Kaminsky, Chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee.

Senator John Brooks said, "The Bay Park Conveyance Project will not only install sustainable infrastructure for the disposal of treated wastewater, but also further improve the environmental health of the Western Bays and implement critical shoreline protections for our communities. I fully support the goals of the Bay Park Conveyance Project and I am pleased with the milestones being announced today. I thank the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Nassau County Department of Public Works for undertaking such an ambitious project and making significant progress towards its completion."

Assemblywoman Judy Griffin said, "The Bay Park Conveyance Project is a crucial project to the future of water quality of Long Island's Western Bays and protecting our coastlines against storm surges. After attending the groundbreaking for this project last year, I am impressed with how well this project is progressing. This new step forward is an example of what public works projects can be when State and local leaders work together. Repurposing an existing structure will get this project done faster, at a substantially reduced cost, and with less disruption to our communities. All of this contributes to the improvement of Long Island's South Shore bays, enhancing our local property values, increasing sea life for fishing and recreation, and strengthening our wetlands so that they can reduce the impact of increasingly frequent storms. The Bay Park project and the healthier waterways that will result can help secure the South Shore for future generations. I want to thank Governor Hochul for her leadership and Commissioner Basil Seggos for his steadfast commitment to my constituents and the people of Long Island as a trusted steward of the environment and hard-earned public dollars."

Assemblyman David McDonough said, "As Long Islanders, we are proud of our beautiful coast, its beaches and the marshes that are home to various types of wildlife. The rising nitrogen levels caused by human activity will further endanger our coastal marshes if we don't act now. Losing this crucial ecosystem will threaten coastal communities, as these marshes serve as a protective barrier from storm surges, flooding and erosion. I am proud to support the Bay Park Conveyance Project that will ensure clean water for Long Island, protect our coastal ecosystem and be cost efficient."

"This project is the most significant environmental project in a generation in Nassau and it is gratifying to see it continue to make progress," said Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello. "Once completed, this project will have a major positive impact on the environment by cleaning up our waterways, protecting the salt marshes and revitalizing marine life."

"Cleaning up our western bays, strengthening our shoreline and ultimately, improving the quality of life for south shore residents for generations to come is of the utmost importance," said Howard Kopel, Deputy Presiding Officer of the Nassau County Legislature. "This next phase of the Bay Park Conveyance project is a critical step to connecting Bay Park to the Cedar Creek outfall pipe. The utilization of microtunneling and sliplining techniques are an innovative, yet minimally intrusive way to complete this long anticipated project."

"This is an important step in advancing this project that South Shore residents have long-awaited for," said Nassau County Legislator Denise Ford. "I look forward to the day when our residents will once again be able to enjoy the Western Bays like they were able to in the past."

Nassau County Legislator Kevan M. Abrahams said, "New York State and Nassau County's shared commitment to the success of the Bay Park Conveyance Project has produced an innovative approach that saves taxpayer dollars and does a great deal to preserve our quality of life while construction is ongoing. I am glad that this transformational investment in our infrastructure - one that will reap many important economic, environmental, and public health benefits for future generations - is on track and proceeding smoothly toward completion."

Nassau County Legislator Debra S. Mulé said, "I applaud Nassau County and New York State for working so diligently to ensure that this regionally significant project is completed in the least disruptive and most efficient way possible. Their ongoing commitment to this long-overdue infrastructure investment will yield transformational benefits for the ecological health of the Western Bays and Reynolds Channel and storm resilience across all of Nassau County's south shore."

"The Town of Hempstead is committed to working alongside our partners at all levels of government to ensure our bays and waterways remain free of potential pollutants," said Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin. "I am pleased that the Bay Park Conveyance project is moving forward towards the goal of improving water quality and storm resiliency."

To learn more, visit the Bay Park Conveyance Project website (leaves DEC's website).

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