Safety First, Even During an Emergency Response

Authors:

  • Jon Pepe, Eamon Kelly - Hazen and Sawyer
  • Matthew Osit, Heather Belovin, Eric Klee - NYCDEP

In February of 2015, NYCDEP identified a leak to Header A of the Bowery Bay High Level Main Sewage Pump Discharge pipe. This header conveys a typical daily sewage flow of 100 mgd. It is approximately 40 years old and is 25 feet below ground. The purpose of this abstract is to discuss the challenges of achieving a successful expedited emergency response without sacrificing safety considerations at the Bowery Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Upon declaring the emergency, the NYCDEP immediately engaged a design engineer, a construction manager and a contractor to develop a rapidly-implementable solution. In consultation with the capital projects bureau, Bureau of Engineering, Design and Construction, BEDC, and the operating bureau, Bureau of Wastewater Treatment, BWT, the team agreed that bypass pumping offered the most efficient means of maintaining plant flow requirements while isolating the header. Utilizing submersible pumps in existing screening and wet wells combined with High Density Polyethylene Piping fused to length on site allowed this solution to be implemented immediately.

Accordingly, the contractor had labor forces, equipment, HDPE piping and pumps on site within three days of the emergency declaration and immediately set to work. During the scramble in the first days to establish material laydown areas, routing for the temporary pipelines, and identifying and excluding areas of the plant yard due to the potential for collapse from undermining, it became evident that sections of the plant requiring regular access were going to be isolated. Plans were immediately implemented to provide contractor assistance to access these isolated areas, including the plant’s screenings containers and equipment. During an operation to access a plant screening container during the first month of the emergency, a worker was injured. The team recognized that, given the nature of the work, without implementation of detailed safety protocols initiated by senior management, rather than leaving safety planning to the discretion of the rank and file, the potential for further accidents and injuries was great.

The focus of this abstract/presentation is to portray the achievement of a successful expedited emergency response without sacrificing safety considerations.

For more information, please contact the author at jpepe@hazenandsaywer.com.

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