NYC Will Drill Underwater to Find Water

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection plans to drill to the bedrock beneath the Hudson River to determine whether the aquifer running under the river could complement the city's upstate reservoir system, the Daily Freeman reported.

Drilling is scheduled to begin along the eastern bank of the river, near the town of Newburgh, by the end of August. Using two barges and a floating platform similar to an oil rig, the Department of Environmental Protection plans to drill 10 test borings up to 200 feet beneath the river bed and install up to three test wells. Up to 4 million gallons of water per day will be pumped from the aquifer, then returned to the river.

According to city officials, the drilling will test the feasibility of a technique called "induced infiltration," in which water is pumped from the aquifer, creating a void and causing river water to flow down through layers of silt, sand, fossilized oyster beds and other substrata. The material beneath the river bed acts as a natural filter, and Department of Environmental Protection officials hope water that goes through the induced infiltration process will prove cleaner than water pumped directly from the river. Eventually, an induced infiltration process could replace the Chelsea pumping station as an alternate source of water during droughts, the Daily Freeman reported.

Department Spokesman Ian Michaels said that the point of this study is to see if they can get a better quality of water.

"When you take water directly from the river (without induced infiltration), you have to deal with a lot of contamination issues," he said.

The study which is expected to cost $1.58 million will shut down between January and June of 2005 to avoid interfering with fish-spawning season. According to city officials , work is expected to resume in July 2005 and be completed by the end of the year.

Daily Freeman

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