Preliminary work has begun on a $95 million project to clean up Pugsley Creek in the eastern Bronx.
The NYC Department of Environmental Protection and NYC Department of Design and Construction announced on Thursday, May 25 that work on a nearly mile-long parallel sewer running below White Plains Road had begun, which they said will direct more wastewater to the Hunts Point Wastewater Treatment Plant and will reduce combined sewer overflows into Pugsley Creek by 98 percent.
The project will also include the replacement of nearly two miles of roughly 100-year-old cast iron water mains with new, stronger ductile iron mains.
The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
“We are thrilled to have shovels in the ground on this $95 million investment in the Bronx that will go a long way towards cleaning up Pugsley Creek,” stated DEP Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza in a press release announcing the work. “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 planned project includes the construction of 9,020 feet of iron water mains, 4,365 feet of combined sewers, 26 new fire hydrants and 306 trees.
The city will also replace more than 20,000 square feet of sidewalk and resurface more than 29,000 square yards of pavement.
The construction of the new parallel sewer, which will reduce combined sewer overflows into Pugsley Creek by approximately 200 million gallons annually, is part of an agreement between the city and New York State that aims to improve the ecological health and cleanliness of New York City Harbor.
“This project to clean up Pugsley Creek will benefit the lives of not just my Bronx constituents, but of all New Yorkers,” said Senator Jeff Klein. “Thanks to this crucial city investment, Pugsley Creek will become a cleaner waterway with much-needed upgrades to its drainage infrastructure. The addition of 300 new trees to the area will also beautify a green space that has so much to offer,”
Community Board 9 district manager William Rivera commended the efforts of the DEP to minimizing the impact of overflows into Pugsley Creek.
“Upgrading the sewer line in the surrounding area will go a long way towards improving the health of our waterways,” he said.
But Friends of Ferry Point Park president Dotti Poggi expressed skepticism that projects like the one announced have little effect on improving the quality of the parklands or their creeks, citing previous projects.
She said oysters that once thrived in the creek have since died off in recent years, and said she was concerned about the project’s impact on the Long island Sound.
“We won’t see much improvement,” she said.