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Equipment Overhaul by NYPA of NYC Wastewater Treatment Plant Yielding Major Savings and Environmental Benefits

Brian Warner, NYPA

Mercedes Padilla, DEP

April 1, 2008


NEW YORK—The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) announced Tuesday that the new heating system at North River Wastewater Treatment Plant in Upper Manhattan is in optimal condition thanks to a recently completed rehabilitation project that includes significant design measures for enhancing the facility’s energy efficiency.

New York City taxpayers will save $1.6 million a year in energy and maintenance costs from the North River initiative, along with $60,000 a year in avoided water expenses. The upgrade will also result in annual reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of about 8,600 tons and will save about 12,600 barrels of imported oil each year.

“Anytime we are able to save energy via new technology in our operating facilities it’s a win-win for the environment,” said DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd. “This is one example of how we can perform a crucial city function in a smarter and more efficient way.”

“Energy efficiency is a major focus for the Power Authority—and a priority of Governor Paterson’s—to lower the operating costs of tax-supported public facilities in New York City and throughout the state while combating greenhouse gases and contributing to energy security,” said Roger B. Kelley, NYPA president and chief executive officer. “The energy-saving project at the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant crystallizes the substantial benefits of such upgrades, which also contribute to the reliability of the overall electric power system by reducing electricity demand.”

The improvements at North River, begun in 2005, include a new boiler plant consisting of four low-pressure steam boilers as well as low nitrogen oxide burners, heat exchangers, new fuel lines and pumps with variable frequency drives that serve 25,000 feet of new hot water piping. The Power Authority financed $15 million of the capital costs of the $37 million project and provided supervisory and management services during the design and construction. It will recover its costs within 10 years, after which all recurring savings will go to the DEP in its operation of the wastewater treatment plant.

The North River facility serves nearly the entire West Side of Manhattan. The plant, which has won numerous engineering awards, sits on 2,300 caissons pinned into bedrock as much as 230 feet beneath the Hudson River. It stretches from 135th to 145th Street along the West Side Highway.

The facility is the only DEP plant with a state park on top—Riverside State Park—the third most-visited park in the state system after Niagara Falls State Park and Jones Beach State Park. The park features three swimming pools, an amphitheater, roller and ice skating rinks, tennis and paddleball courts, baseball and soccer fields, basketball courts and an eight-lane running track. Visitors hardly suspect that beneath their feet the North River plant is processing 120 million gallons of wastewater a day (and nearly three times that amount when it’s raining).

NYPA set a record for its statewide investment in energy efficiency in 2007, of $124 million, breaking the previous record of $118 million set in 2006.

To date, the Power Authority has invested more than $1 billion in such initiatives for annual savings to taxpayers of approximately $104 million a year in energy costs and substantial annual reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions and oil use. It plans to invest an additional $1.4 billion over the next eight years in support of the state’s goal of reducing energy use by 15 percent from forecasted levels by 2015.

About NYPA:

■    NYPA uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.  ■    NYPA is a leader in promoting energy-efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  ■    It is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.

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