The public works project will be New York City’s largest water-supply tunnelling effort in Westchester County since the 1940s – its construction will create hundreds of jobs. Construction on the first elements of the project is expected to start in approximately five years.
The centerpiece of the project—known as the Kensico-Eastview Connection (KEC)—will be a 2-mile-long tunnel between Kensico Reservoir and the Catskill-Delaware Ultraviolet Light Disinfection Facility in Eastview. The new aqueduct will provide an additional conveyance between the vital components of the water supply, giving DEP the ability to take other facilities out of service for periodic maintenance and inspection.
“The Kensico-Eastview Connection is a critical investment in the long-term resiliency of New York City’s water supply system,” DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said. “By providing an additional connection between Kensico Reservoir and our treatment facilities to the south, this new tunnel will further guarantee the reliable delivery of water to New York City and population centers in Westchester County, including New Rochelle, White Plains and Yonkers. We look forward to working with our neighbors in Westchester County to ensure that the City’s waterworks continue to supply high-quality drinking water to more than 9.6 million New Yorkers every day.”
The KEC project will include construction of the new tunnel, facilities to draw water from Kensico Reservoir and move water into the ultraviolet plant, and other infrastructure work. In 2017, DEP collected soil and bedrock samples from the area to support the design of the project, which has already begun.
Construction on the first portions of the KEC project are expected to start in approximately five years; work on the tunnel itself is expected to begin around 2025. DEP expects to finish the project around 2035.
The tunnel will stretch approximately 2 miles from an intake chamber on the western side of Kensico Reservoir to a connection point at the ultraviolet disinfection facility. DEP expects the finished tunnel to measure approximately 27 feet in diameter and run 400-500 feet below ground.
The tunnel will be large enough to carry a maximum of 2.6 billion gallons of water each day. Its design accounts for future growth in the City and Westchester County, the potential addition of treatment facilities, and the need to periodically take other aqueducts out of service for maintenance or inspection.
During the next several years, DEP will work toward completing the design of the tunnel and the facilities that will connect it to the reservoir and ultraviolet plant. It will also start the process of environmental review and obtaining dozens of permits from federal, state, county, city and local agencies.
Although the project is located in Westchester County, the work centers on the delivery and treatment of pristine drinking water that comes from six reservoirs in the Catskill Mountains.