The south battery of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant is now operational, according to a statement issued Tuesday by the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, completing a crucial step toward enhancing the plant’s wet weather treatment capability.
The city is attempting to increase the plant’s treatment capacity from 620 to 700 million gallons per day of combined wastewater and stormwater flow when it rains. The plant is located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, just across the creek from Queens.
The upgrade will be completed in 2014. It is part of a $5 billion overhaul that was planned as part of a consent judgment with the state in 2000.
Last May the DEP certified that the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant is meeting the secondary treatment standards of the Clean Water Act — which requires wastewater to be treated to remove at least 85 percent of certain pollutants before post-treated water, known as effluent, is discharged into surrounding waterways — two years ahead of schedule.
Water treated at the plant is discharged into the East River at India Street.
“Mayor Bloomberg has invested billions of dollars to ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act, a landmark piece of legislation that has contributed to New York Harbor being the cleanest it has been in 100 years of testing,” DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland said in the statement.
“Last year we experienced record rainfall, and we must continue to work toward ensuring that our wastewater treatment plants are capable of handling normal rain storms,” he said.
The Newtown Creek plant serves approximately one million residents within a 15,000-acre drainage area and has the capacity to treat 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater a day during dry weather and double that amount when it rains.
The DEP manages the city’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to eight million people in New York City. Its watershed extends more than 125 miles from the city, with 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,400 miles of sewer lines and 95 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants.