Tunnel preferred option for Long Island sewer Jul 2009
- A 2.6 mile tunnel emerged as the best option to replace an aging outfall pipe in Suffolk County, New York. Engineers hired by the County say a tunnel under the Great South Bay on Long Island is likely to be the fastest and possibly cheapest option to replace the degraded outfall pipe at the County’s largest sewage treatment facility.
- The concrete sheath on the exiting steel pipe is badly corroded and officials worry the pipe could break, releasing millions of gallons of untreated effluent into the bay.
- Despite the concern, the County legislature approved a plan last month to delay funding the $152 million project until 2011 at the earliest; a move that drew criticism from the legislature’s own budget review office that warned the delay could push construction off until 2013 and put the bay at risk.
- According to the Suffolk public works director, a 10-14ft diameter tunnel would have to clear fewer environmental hurdles than an open trench and would leave the bottom of the bay undisturbed. A tunnel would also allow work to continue year round without disrupting sensitive marine wildlife and habits.