NY Sewer Pipeline Project Begins Microtunneling


Last week, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced the start of microtunneling in the City of Newburgh as part of the first clean water infrastructure project funded by the bipartisan infrastructure law in the state.

The North Interceptor Improvement Project is part of ongoing wastewater and stormwater infrastructure upgrades that are “crucial” to protect the water quality of the Hudson River and increase storm resiliency. 

“Combined with our state's significant clean water investments, the unprecedented funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides a crucial opportunity to make significant environmental improvements that will protect public health across the state for generations to come,” Governor Hochul said in a statement.

“These wastewater and stormwater upgrades are vital to protecting the environment and enhancing quality of life in Newburgh, and my administration will continue to work hard to get funding out the door efficiently and equitably to help communities get shovels in the ground for critical projects.”

About the Project

The City of Newburgh is replacing the North Interceptor Sewer, which reportedly conveys wastewater from approximately half of the properties in the city to its wastewater treatment plant. The replacement is required by New York State and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to provide additional wastewater capacity to improve water quality in the Hudson River.

According to the city, the project is the largest and most significant infrastructure project to take place in Newburgh in decades. The $32 million project began construction in April last year and is anticipated to be completed in spring 2024.

Upon its completion, the project will have installed 8,700 linear feet of new, larger-gravity sanitary piping to make upgrades to the combined sewer infrastructure, increasing system capacity and reducing pollution discharge. In partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the current microtunneling is part of the ongoing construction to implement the long-term control plan.

Microtunneling will be used for a 2,000-foot-long portion of the new piping, which is a remote-operated trenchless construction method that allows for simultaneous excavation and pipe laying. Last week, the state reported that the specially designed boring machine was delivered to the city to excavate the tunnel through bedrock.

Additionally, microtunneling allows for the precise alignment of the sewer over a long distance and avoids the disturbance of streets and residents that results from deep underground excavations. However, for other parts of the project, road closures and traffic detours will be in effect to ensure the safety of pedestrians and motorists within the project area.

Through the bipartisan infrastructure law, DEC and the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC), $27 million was committed toward this phase of the project through grants and interest-free financing, including:

  • $10 million grant from the Water Quality Improvement Program;
  • $5.57 million grant from the Water Infrastructure Improvement grant program;
  • $5.57 million grant from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund; and
  • $3.55 million grant and $2.56 million in short-term interest-free financing from BIL General Supplemental funds. Funding from the BIL for water and sewer infrastructure is administered by EFC through the State Revolving Fund programs.

In November, the project also received more than $6.1 million in federal bipartisan infrastructure law funds.

“The $32 million North Interceptor Sewer Improvement project demonstrates the City Council’s commitment to finding innovative solutions to jumpstart economic development while protecting our most valuable natural resource, the Hudson River,” said City Councilmember Ramona Monteverde.

Other NY Water Infrastructure Investments

Last year, funding was awarded to the state of New York for water infrastructure projects to modernize and provide clean drinking water to communities.

On Oct. 13, 2022, $31.3 million in funding was approved by the state to go towards critical water infrastructure improvements in six municipalities. About a week later, the EPA announced that over $200 million in grants was awarded to the state for water infrastructure improvements from the bipartisan infrastructure law.

State funding was approved by the Environmental Facilities Corporation Board of Directors for wastewater and drinking projects totaling more than $43.1 million. According to the release, the announcement marked the latest action to upgrade New York's water and sewer systems, reduce water pollution and safeguard vital drinking water supplies.

In addition to the funding, it enables access to low-cost financing and previously announced grants to start and complete their water infrastructure projects. Various long-term financing conversions were also approved to make completed projects more cost-effective by providing interest relief to help reduce debt for municipalities. 

Clean water project funding was approved for the following projects:

  • Village of Portville in Cattaraugus County (Western New York) - $4,539,750 in short-term, interest free financing and a $2,422,000 WIIA grant for collection system rehabilitation and wastewater treatment plant upgrades;
  • Town of Mohawk in Herkimer County (Mohawk Valley) - $1,524,500 in principal forgiveness toward the town's $6 million short-term financing to plan, design and construct sewer system improvements. The $4,509,124 balance will be converted to long-term, interest-free financing; and
  • Town of North Hempstead in Nassau County (Long Island) - $4,033,087 in long-term, interest-free financing for a new effluent pump station in the Belgrave Water Pollution Control District. 

Drinking water project funding was also approved for:

  • Town of Hounsfield in Jefferson County (North Country) - $2,447,000 in short-term, market rate financing and a $3,000,000 WIIA grant for five new connections between the Town's existing water districts, replacement of approximately 21,300 linear feet of transmission main throughout the system, water storage tank recoating and piping work, and new water meters;
  • Town of North Collins in Erie County (Western New York) - $249,797 in long-term, interest-free financing and $44,113 WIIA grant to create the Town of North Collins Lawton's Water District to serve customers of the former Lawton's Water Company; and
  • Town of Ticonderoga in Essex County (North Country) - $8,529,572 in long-term, interest-free financing to install new groundwater sources, and to install a storage tank to replace existing uncovered finished water storage. 

The EPA funding was the first installment of a total of nearly $427 million in funding going to the state, with an additional $220 million expected to be awarded later that fall.

The funding was highlighted at an event in Buffalo, New York, by EPA Office of Water Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox, alongside Congressman Brian Higgins and Mayor Byron Brown. The event was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act and a groundbreaking ceremony for the Bird Island Treatment Facility rehabilitation and upgrades project.

The awarded grants supplement nearly $128 million in regular funding to New York’s Clean Water SRF program in fiscal year 2022. The future $220 million in grants from the bipartisan infrastructure law will supplement nearly $29 million in regular funding to the Drinking Water SRF program in FY2022.

Projects planned in the state that the bipartisan infrastructure law will fund include secondary treatment system rehabilitation and upgrades project at the Bird Island Treatment Facility.


Tagged categories: Construction; Government; Government contracts; Green Infrastructure; Infrastructure; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Pipelines; Pipes; Program/Project Management; Sewer systems; Tunnel; Water/Wastewater

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