DEP Unveils Design to Repair Leaks

December 9, 2010

As of November 19th, 2010 the environmental protection commissioner has presented a design/timeline to address the issue of leaks in the Delaware Aqueduct. The Delaware water supply system consists of four reservoirs located more than 100 miles north of New York City and is connected by an 85-mile aqueduct. This system is intended to deliver up to 900 million gallons of water a day while currently producing 500 million gallons to the people of New York City and the surrounding areas. The aqueduct runs as deep as 1,500 feet under ground, with a tunnel diameter ranging from 13.5 to 19.5 feet. What many don’t realize, however, is the tunnel is mostly made out of unreinforced concrete. The problem with this is since the 1990’s there have been leaks in the towns of Roseton and Wawarsing where anywhere between 15 and 35 million gallons of water a day escape from the tunnel. Years of persistent testing and monitoring have confirmed locations of the leaks and the rate of the leakage has been constant since 1992. Since the discovery, DEP engineers and designers have developed a plan to repair the leakage “by building a bypass tunnel around the most significant leaking portions of the aqueduct”(DEP). The existing tunnel will be taken out of service to be repaired. The DEP is currently in the prep phase, where the department is “purchasing equipment for the repair; working on the design of the repair preparing contract documents for the repair; including the bypass tunnel performing physical investigations of geology at the site of the shafts and bypass tunnel; and assessments of environmental impacts of the project”(DEP). The current schedule to repairing the leak is: Step 1.Construction of new shafts that connect to the aqueduct and the bypass tunnel to begun in 2013 Step 2.Construction of the bypass tunnel to begin in 2015 and be completed in 2019 Step 3.Preparing the water supply system to handle the repair Step 4.Eliminating the leaks Approximate cost: $1.2 Billion

 

-MAX S.

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