Locale : North America (English)
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wide shot view of machinery in foreground and site in background

Avoiding obstacles to protect a wetland refuge

Eliminating a wastewater bottleneck reduces combined sewer overflows.


The wastewater collection system for the neighborhood of South Ozone Park in Queens passes beneath the heavily traveled Belt Parkway before reaching the Jamaica Water Pollution Control Plant at the western end of JFK International Airport.

When the sewer reaches capacity, combined sewer overflows cause untreated wastewater to reach the narrow inlet of Bergen Basin. From there it flows into Jamaica Bay, an important habitat for wildlife.


Mott MacDonald provided trenchless and tunneling expertise for the construction of a new interceptor sewer under the Belt Parkway. The alignment passed through artificial fill and glacial outwash, near storm drains, water mains, and a high-pressure gas main.

To avoid the need to bypass, demolish, and reconstruct an existing storm sewer, we worked
with the contractor, JRCRUZ, to implement a solution using twin crossings instead of a single crossing. Probe holes were drilled using horizontal directional drilling (HDD) to provide greater certainty that there would be no impenetrable obstacles to the drives beneath the Belt Parkway.


The project was completed successfully, at a cost below the original estimates. By eliminating a wastewater bottleneck, combined sewer overflows will be significantly reduced and the water quality of Bergen Basin and Jamaica Bay improved.

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