City Island’s 100-year-old water main pipes are upgraded as $34 million project reaches completion

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DEP officials used a cofferdam during construction to prevent water from entering the work zone on City Island, while the yellow turbidity barrier prevents unwanted discharge from the work area into Eastchester Bay.
Photo courtesy DEP

Ah, that’s refreshing.

City officials have wrapped up a two-year, $34 million project to upgrade drinking water systems for City Island residents by replacing aging water main pipes that were around 100 years old.

According to the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), two new water mains have been placed under Eastchester Bay, which DEP officials say, will ensure a reliable supply of water for the residents and businesses located on the Island.

“This $34 million infrastructure investment will ensure that the residents, businesses and visitors to City Island have a reliable supply of high quality drinking water for generations to come,” said DEP Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala. “This complex project included tunneling under Eastchester Bay and I want to thank our partners at Department of Design and Construction (DDC) for overseeing this complicated and environmentally sensitive work.”

Construction crews used horizontal drilling to create two 2000-foot pathways under Eastchester Bay — a pilot hole from one surface point in the Rodman’s Neck peninsula to another on City Island’s mainland — enlarging the hole to grout a steel sleeve used to stabilize the new tunnel, and then passing pipes through the new tunnel.

According to the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, two new water mains have been placed under Eastchester Bay, which they say will ensure a reliable supply of water for the residents and businesses located on the Island. Photo courtesy DEP

These pipelines replace a 12-inch underwater main and a temporary 16-inch main that was installed on the City Island Bridge before construction. The new water mains will connect to existing 20-inch and 24-inch water mains on the mainland, and tie into existing 8-inch and 20-inch water mains on City Island.

New York City’s 6,800 miles of water mains are 66 years old, on average, according to analysis from the Center for Urban Future’s analysis. And water main breaks — since 2010, a total of 3,078 service request calls to 311 for water main issues are from the Bronx, according to DEP data — are an expensive endeavor.

NYC spends roughly $400 million a year to repair water mains across the city, according to a New York Times report, and City Island was one of the many infrastructure improvements in the de Blasio administration’s $800 million effort since 2020 for new water mains and related infrastructure improvements citywide.

“New Yorkers are made of the ‘best stuff on Earth,’ and the water we drink is and must be part of that,” said Mayor Eric Adams.

Reach Robbie Sequeira at rsequeira@schnepsmedia.com or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes.

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