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Long Island Rail Road East Side Access

New York, New York

Stormwater Treatment


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority


STV, Inc


Tutor Perini


January 2019

Technical Description:

  • (2) Vortechs Hydrodynamic Separators

The East Side Access megaproject is one of the largest transportation infrastructure projects currently underway in the United States. Scheduled to be completed in late 2022, the project provides new Long Island Rail service to the east side of Manhattan, supplementing existing service to Penn Station on Manhattan's west side and Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn.

The $11.1 billion project encompasses work in multiple locations in Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx and includes more than 8 miles of tunneling. When completed, East Side Access will serve approximately 162,000 customers a day, providing a faster and easier commute from Long Island and Queens to the east side of Manhattan in a new 8-track terminal and concourse below Grand Central Terminal.

Engineers needed a stormwater treatment solution to treat 15.42 acres of impervious area in a section of the project in Long Island City, NY. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) requires 100% water quality flow treatment from the 90th percentile storm event, and the NYSDEC must also approve any treatment system.

The site had many challenges, including large flow rates of 9.45 cubic feet per second, high groundwater, heavy loads, proximity to rail lines, and elevation and utility constraints. Therefore, the engineer was forced to look at alternate solutions to the standard land-based treatment practices approved by the NYSDEC. The Vortechs hydrodynamic separator was the only treatment system capable of meeting these needs.

Contech worked directly with the engineer to provide calculations for the water quality flow that had to be met and the structural designs to account for the AREMA E-80 surcharge. Contech also coordinated with the MTACC East Side Access Package Manager, who required the unit to be waterproofed so it would not present any issues with approvals.

Contech Stormwater Engineers designed two Vortechs systems. The units were very wide (13’-8" wide x 19’-8" long) and heavy (the heaviest pick weight was 111,500 lbs). The depth of the structures required extra risers to allow for access for cleanout at the surface. The units were also treated with a coal-tar epoxy coating on all outside surfaces to meet the waterproof requirements.

Delivery and installation were challenging due to the project's urban location in Long Island City, NY. Contech coordinated the delivery trucks to be onsite early in the morning, as the side streets available for access to the site had to be closed to commuters looking for parking. The site was very tight and required a high degree of skill by the driver to maneuver into the site in reverse.

The units were picked from the truck and immediately installed with a large crane, allowing the contractor to backfill the area quickly with little disturbance to the workflow on site.

This project is a perfect example of how Contech's stormwater experts made a complex project run smoothly. From a technically focused product recommendation to custom designs and engineering calculations to product inspection and delivery coordination, Contech associates were there, supporting the engineers and contractors on this significant project.

Technical Description:

  • (2) Vortechs Hydrodynamic Separators

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