Beacon News

Project Profile: Beacon Consulting on Critical Water Supply Infrastructure Project For New York City

The Catskill Aqueduct Repair & Rehabilitation Project is a $158-million water tunnel repair, cleaning, and rehabilitation project being undertaken by New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). This is an important, high-profile project because the aqueduct is a critical part of New York City’s water supply system. The project, which started in late 2018, involves the rehabilitation of a 74-mile stretch of the aqueduct by cleaning the inside and repairing a number of leaks, replacing numerous valves at chambers connected to the aqueduct, and performing other structural and mechanical upgrades to ensure the proper function of the structure for many years to come.

According to the DEP, The Catskill Aqueduct provides approximately 40% of New York City’s daily water needs (but sometimes provides more than 50% when other water sources are down for maintenance). The Aqueduct is a 92-mile series of tunnels, dams, and supporting shafts and systems that bring water from the Ashokan Reservoir (located in the Catskill Mountains, 100+ miles Northwest of Manhattan) to the Hillview Reservoir in Yonkers, NY (close to NYC). Water travels by gravity through the aqueduct, which normally operates with a daily flow rate of around 350–400 million US gallons (well below the system's peak capacity). The aqueduct was originally built more than 100 years ago (completed in 1916).

Beacon was retained by a leading Surety company just prior to the GC's default of a key Mechanical Subcontractor on the project. Beacon was tasked with finding a replacement subcontractor capable of completing the specialized and time-sensitive work this contract required. The $16-million mechanical subcontract included critical work items such as the completion of Steel Pipe Siphon (SPS) Blow-Off Chamber Mechanical & Rehabilitation work within 35 Chambers, across 12 separate locations. Work at these various SPS sites can only be completed only during a short, pre-planned 10-week shutdown period.

Another major portion of work to be completed is at the Croton Lake (Reservoir) Downtake Chamber in Westchester County, NY. This work consists of the demolition of two 60" valves (located within a shaft approximately 100' below grade), followed by the installation of two new 48" valves within the same shaft. Additional work to be completed at the Croton site is the demolition and replacement of a 5’ by 5’ sluice gate. The overall challenge of this project is completing the work in and around the DEP shutdown of the Aqueduct. Advanced planning, staging and strategy have been crucial to the success of Beacon's replacement contractor.

Overall, Beacon has been playing a key role for the Surety, helping to keep this critical project on track. Key members of Beacon's team involved with the project include Dennis O'Neill, Elizabeth Paquet, and Mike Kinahan. Among the services Beacon has been providing are:

  • Analyzing the project to clarify all expenditures to date and projected cost to complete
  • Communicating with all parties involved to help keep work moving forward
  • Assisting in the re-let of the project and selection of qualified contractor
  • Acting as the Surety’s representative for on-site meetings
  • Assisting the Surety with monitoring ongoing work