Manhattan Pump Station: Sustainable Upgrades

Client: New York City Department of Environmental Protection
Location: New York, NY

Originally designed in the 1960s, the Manhattan Pumping Station serves a drainage area of 4,362 acres, including all of lower Manhattan and the East Side of Manhattan, north to 71st Street. As part of the upgrade of New York City’s 310-mgd Newtown Creek Water Pollution Control Plant, Hazen and Sawyer, in joint venture, is providing design and construction management services for the upgrade of the Manhattan Pump Station.

Project Outcomes and Benefits

  • Design upgrades facility to handle average capacity of 170 mgd and a peak flow of 400 mgd.
  • Project designed to maintain 300-mgd pumping capacity during all phases of construction.
  • Green architecture design emphasizes use of sustainable building materials, reducing energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, while providing a healthier work environment at the Station.

Our services include preliminary and final design, design services during construction, and construction management. Maintenance of the existing 300-mgd pumping capacity during all phases of construction is a critical design constraint.

The project’s architectural team received an award in 2002 for Excellence in Design from the Art Commission of the City of New York. Our design intent was to provide an open, inviting public building with large glass areas that allow the community to look inside. And since moving water is the structure’s function, we incorporated that theme into the building's appearance.

Site for the facility

Physical model of facility

The five main sewage pumps of the Manhattan Pump Station will draw from a common wet well and discharge to dual 6.5-foot-diameter headers. The discharge piping will connect to an existing surge tower that rises above the downshaft of the 8.5-foot-diameter, 1.5-mile-long, 300-foot-deep rock tunnel, which connects the pump station with the Newtown Creek Water Pollution Control Plant, located across the East River in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The existing surge tower will be strengthened and raised to accommodate the increased capacity.

The upgrade of the Manhattan Pump Station includes complete replacement of screening and pumping equipment, new HVAC and electrical systems, new odor control and emergency turbine generator systems, service voltage change from the existing 480-volt service to 4160-volt service, and new office and personnel facilities.

Our services include preliminary and final design, design services during construction, and construction management. Maintenance of the existing 300-mgd pumping capacity during all phases of construction is a critical design constraint.

The project’s architectural team received an award in 2002 for Excellence in Design from the Art Commission of the City of New York. Our design intent was to provide an open, inviting public building with large glass areas that allow the community to look inside. And since moving water is the structure’s function, we incorporated that theme into the building’s appearance.

Another noteworthy aspect of the design is the emphasis on sustainable building materials:

  • A post industrial waste material (fly ash and slag) will substitute for cement in concrete mixes for the facility – saving energy (cement production is energy intensive), reusing a waste product, improving the quality of the concrete, and reducing cost.
  • Borate will be used as an alternative preservative for the treatment of lumber, as it resists mold and mildew but does not contain contains the heavy metals and carcinogens harmful to humans and the environment of the standard preservative (Copper Chromium Arsenate).
  • Brick tile inlay concrete panels will be fabricated within a 500 miles of the project site, reducing carbon emission in shipping.
  • High-performance glazing and window frames, using 1 ½-thick insulating glass with low-e with brisole shading element, will reduce solar gain.
  • Wall materials and masonry will have shop-fabricated finishes, reducing harmful emissions during construction and occupancy.

The attention to green architecture in design will reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, and provide a healthier work environment at the Manhattan Pump Station.

For more information on this project, or to discuss a similar project in your area, contact

Robert Smith, P.E. at rsmith@hazendandsawyer.com