Southern Brooklyn wastewater treatment upgrading with green infrastructure

wastewater treatment plant
The Coney Island Wastewater Resource Recovery plant is seeing a $110-million upgrade.
NYC Department of Environmental Protection.

Construction is underway on upgrades to a wastewater treatment facility in Sheepshead Bay, and city officials claim the new green infrastructure will be equivalent to taking 109 passenger cars off the road.

“The Coney Island Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility cleans more than 110 million gallons of wastewater from nearly 600,000 Brooklyn residents every day of the year and protects the waterways and beaches in the area,” said city Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Vincent Sapienza.  

The Coney Island Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility, which, contrary to its name, is located on Knapp Street in Sheepshead Bay, treats wastewater that is carried from sewage pipes spanning southern and central Brooklyn so that it can safely be released into the city’s waterways. 

The treatment plant will see a brand-new main sewage pump, replacing a system used continuously since 1980, that will consume 20 percent less electricity, reduce annual greenhouse gases by 500 metric tons, and save nearly a quarter-million dollars in operating costs each year, according to a press release from the city Department of Environmental Protection, the agency that manages the city’s wastewater plants. 

The city Department of Environmental Protection is upgrading the facility’s six main sewage pumps, discharge piping, force main and valves in the existing dry well. New motors, controllers and associated electrical equipment will also be installed with the new pump system. 

A new electrical room, that will be constructed inside the facility’s existing Pump and Power Building, will house the new electrical equipment and will be outfitted with new air conditioning equipment. There will also be a few other HVAC upgrades conducted at the facility, such as replacing exhaust fans and ducts. 

So the plant can continue operating during construction, builders will install a submersible pump system in the existing subgrade wet wells — a one chamber, underground sewage pump — in the courtyard area. 

Brooklyn’s elected officials lauded the work as much-needed upgrades in the face of warming climates in New York City and beyond. 

“At a time when more intense heat waves and stronger storms are becoming the norm, we must ensure our infrastructure is greener and more resilient to prepare for a warming world. The new and improved Coney Island Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility meets both of these goals, and sets the standard for infrastructure across the city and state. I thank DEP for their partnership on this critical project,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, the presumed Democratic nominee for New York City mayor as of early this week.

The $110-million project began earlier this year and is expected to be completed in 2025.

“This work is essential to reducing our carbon footprint, improving air quality, lowering operating costs and ensuring the treatment facility remains in a state of good repair for decades to come,” Sapienza said.

Clarification (Friday, July 9): This story’s lead has been updated to make clear that the work being done is to an existing wastewater treatment facility.