City completes $106 million cleanup of Pugsley Creek ahead of schedule

DEP performs a $106 million cleanup of Pugsley Creek.
Photos courtesy of DEP

A $106 million project to clean up Pugsley Creek in the south Bronx was completed 14 months ahead of schedule and has reduced sewer overflows to the Creek by 98 percent.

The New York City Departments of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Design and Construction (DDC) announced the news Wednesday, Oct. 28.

Construction was focused on a nearly mile-long parallel box sewer, which was installed beneath White Plains Road to direct more wastewater towards the Hunts Point Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility. The additional drainage provided by the new sewer has nearly eliminated combined sewer overflows into Pugsley Creek. The work also included the replacement of nearly two miles of roughly century-old cast iron water mains with new, stronger ductile iron mains.

“This $106 million investment in the south Bronx goes a long way towards cleaning up Pugsley Creek and continues its transformation into a true community amenity,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “Upgrading our infrastructure is not only important for the health of our waterways, it is also essential to improving the quality of life for the residents of the Bronx.”

The work included the installation of more than 2,200 feet of new water mains and the replacement of over 8,300 feet of existing mains with concrete-lined ductile iron pipes, which are more resilient and less prone to breakage. In an effort to improve storm water drainage in the area, 3,500 feet of new combined sewers were installed, 580 linear feet of old combined sewers and 21 catch basins were replaced and one was added.

Additionally, fire protection was enhanced with the replacement of 19 existing hydrants and the seven new hydrants. Final restoration of the area included the reconstruction of nearly 45,000 square feet of sidewalk and 4,300 feet of curbs and the resurfacing of over 26,000 square yards of roadway. The new curbs and sidewalks were leveled to help guide storm water to the area’s new catch basins to ensure adequate drainage during inclement weather.

The construction of the new sewer, which will reduce combined sewer overflows into Pugsley Creek by approximately 200 million gallons annually, is part of an agreement between New York City and New York State that aims to improve the health and cleanliness of New York City Harbor.

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. praised the city for the project. In 2017 he allocated $90,000 to provide Pugsley Creek and Soundview Park blue light call boxes and flash cameras.

“Pugsley Creek is an underappreciated natural gem in our borough that was long neglected, but is now flourishing as a habitat and recreation area,” Diaz said. “I would like to thank DEP and DDC for their efforts in cleaning up and ensuring Pugsley Creek remains clean and safe. Protecting the environment as well as improving our infrastructure have been key priorities during my tenure as borough president and projects such as the clean-up of Pugsley Creek are critical in our efforts to continue making the borough a bucolic, livable place.”