Power Distribution Improvements Project at Bowery Bay Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility earns Envision Silver
Southwest aerial photo of the Bowery Bay WRRF located in Astoria, Queens Borough, NY
The BB-215 Power Distribution Improvements Project at the Bowery Bay Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) located in Astoria, Borough of Queens, New York, has received the Envision® Silver award for sustainable infrastructure. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) worked in close collaboration with Greeley and Hansen to deliver this award-winning sustainable project.
“NYC DEP integrates sustainability on every capital project and is proud to receive recognition for this effort on the Bowery Bay Electrical Upgrade. The team has ensured continuation of this critical service to New Yorkers into the far future through innovative design and shared commitment to sustainability.” –DEP BB-215 Project Team
“Greeley and Hansen feels honored to have the opportunity to work together with the NYCDEP on this challenging and forward-thinking project. The sustainable features of the facility’s upgraded power distribution system will provide valuable environmental, operational, and economic benefits to the city and its residents for many years to come.” – Brian R. Goldman, P.E., ENV SP – Greeley and Hansen BB-215 Project Manager
The Bowery Bay Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) has a current dry weather flow design capacity of 150 million gallons per day (MGD) and a maximum wet weather flow capacity of 330 MGD. Originally constructed in 1939, the WRRF has undergone several major expansions and upgrades to serve its current drainage area of approximately 15,200 acres. To continually provide the important service of wastewater treatment and resource recovery to the surrounding community, the facility’s equipment is periodically upgraded to the increase efficiency. In addition, repairs to the facility are periodically required, especially after major storm events such as Hurricane Sandy. The latest Power Distribution Improvements Project—the project submitted for third-party verification against the Envision sustainable infrastructure framework—involves: consolidation of the facility-wide power distribution system: conversion of the facility’s remaining 208 volt distribution systems and equipment loads to 480 volt; removing obsolete motor control centers and equipment; replacing electrical equipment, motors, and associated wiring; replacing the 4160 volt synchronous bus and 4 utility service paralleling reactors in the main substation; and providing new mimic panels in the main substation and facility control room to improve operator safety.
The primary goal of the Power Distribution Improvements Project is to provide reliable service to the 850,000 people in the community, and sustainability has been a major focus for the project team since the project’s initial inception. For this reason, the project team pursued Envision verification to acknowledge and validate the proactive sustainability outcomes for Bowery Bay WRRF.
“The BB-215 Project Team has been committed to providing a sustainable design that benefits the surrounding community by providing reliable service at all times. Envision verification ensures community concerns and needs are properly addressed. The team is proud to have the opportunity to work with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and all stakeholders for this project.” – Greeley and Hansen BB-215 Project Team
The Envision system examines the impact of sustainable infrastructure projects as a whole, through five distinct categories: Quality of Life, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Natural World, and Climate and Resilience. These key areas contribute to the positive social, economic, and environmental impacts on a community.
Key factors contributing to the Power Distribution Improvements Project at the Bowery Bay WRRF earning Envision Silver include:
Equipment throughout the WRRF is being upgraded to increase energy efficiency, including the use of LED lighting that will replace older, less efficient lighting, and the installation of high-efficiency motors that will replace less efficient existing models. Parasitic transformers are being removed, electrical loads consolidated, and a new electrical building constructed that will meet the ASHRAE 90.1 Energy Standard for Buildings. All together, these measures will reduce energy consumption by 32% per year compared with the existing baseline at the WRRF.
Use of Recycled and Regional Materials
For the project construction, the team specified the reuse of existing structures to the greatest extent possible, and also required reuse of the facility’s existing asphalt and concrete. When reuse is not possible, a significant percentage of recycled content is specified in new materials such as new concrete and steel. All specifications detailing recycled content, equipment efficiency, and material quality and performance will be enforced in the construction phase through shop drawing submittal review. Overall, it is anticipated that at least 55% of materials used on this project will come from reused/recycled sources.
In addition to using reused/recycled materials on this project, 100% of all construction materials for the project will be sourced within regional distance requirements required by Envision (e.g., all soils and aggregates will come from within 50 miles, and all concrete from within 100 miles). An Environmental Materials Reporting Form will be used to document the use of regional materials for each product and vendor.
A central purpose of this project is protecting the WRRF from the effects of flooding brought on by climate change and ensuring its ability to continue functioning under altered conditions. To this end, the project team conducted a comprehensive climate change impact analysis for all assets included in the project scope. The project was designed to protect all critical equipment in the WRRF from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s projected 100-year flood elevation for the area, plus an additional 32 inches to account for sea level rise and storm surge.
“The electrical upgrade project at the Bowery Bay Facility is a critical step towards a holistically sustainable and resilient wastewater treatment and resource recovery systems for New York,” said ISI President and CEO, John Stanton. “ISI is pleased to present this project with an Envision Silver award for sustainable infrastructure.”
Left: Southwest aerial rendering view of the new sustainable BB-215 Digester Complex Electrical Building
Right: Northeast rendering view of the new sustainable BB-215 Digester Complex Electrical Building.
New York City Department of Environmental Protection
Greeley and Hansen LLC
Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure
For inquiries related to ISI, Envision or the Envision verification process, contact:
John Stanton, President
About New York City Department of Environmental Protection
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high quality drinking water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.5 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 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 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city Wastewater Resource Recovery Facilities. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $19.4 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.
About Greeley and Hansen
Greeley and Hansen is a leader in developing innovative engineering, architecture, and management solutions for a wide array of complex water, wastewater, and related infrastructure challenges. The firm has built upon over 100 years of proven civil and environmental engineering experience in all phases of project development and implementation to become a premier global provider of comprehensive services in the water sector. Greeley and Hansen is dedicated to designing better urban environments worldwide. http://www.greeley-hansen.com/new.htm
BB-215 Project Team:
Thank you to all the NYCDEP and Greeley and Hansen Team Members that supported this award-winning sustainable project and the legacy of sustainability in NYC.
About ISI Envision
Envision® is the product of a joint collaboration between ISI, which was founded by three national engineering associations: the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Council of Engineering Companies, and American Public Works Association, and the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Information on ISI and Envision can be found on the ISI website,