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Some Tristate Projects Suffer Sandys Blow

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Besides the many residences and businesses damaged or destroyed in Superstorm Sandy's wake, several projects that ENR New York covered earlier this year were also affected. These include projects in or near the hardest-hit regions, including Long Beach, N.Y.; New York City; and the New Jersey coast.

Photo Courtesy of NPS
Broken Down: Liberty and Ellis islands' docks, railings and other barriers were badly damaged during the storm.
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The Oct. 29th storm dealt a devastating blow to Long Island's barrier island of Long Beach, where severe flooding and high winds took out power and severely damaged or destroyed homes and infrastructure. The island is also home to Long Beach High School, which sits on the water's edge and is undergoing a $29-million renovation and expansion project.

The project, which includes a 20,000-sq-ft addition, is still set for completion by the summer of 2014 but the storm set work back two weeks and caused general contractor Stalco Construction, Islandia, N.Y., to lose $300,000 in millwork, says Chris Caulfield, Stalco superintendent.

The addition itself escaped unharmed, but the existing school was flooded with about 3 ft of water and the first floor was destroyed, Caulfield says. Trailers on the site were flooded and knocked off their hinges, and two of the firm's scissor lifts were destroyed.

The school's windows were also blown out, which sent Long Beach City School District (LBCSD) work crews scurrying to replace them to get the school ready for reopening, says a source close to the work who asked not to be identified because he is not authorized to speak on LBCSD's behalf.

In New Jersey, Jingoli-DCO Energy's three central energy plants with combined heat and power generating equipment—one on the Passaic River in Newark and two in Atlantic City—faced issues. The partnership owns, operates and/or manages 15 plants in N.J. and Maryland. All 15 lost power, but the inland plants incurred no damage, says Frank DiCola, president and CEO of DCO Energy.

While Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, it was the partnership's Newark plant that was hit hardest, taking on 18 ft of water that also flooded the main electric switchyard. The plant, which serves the Essex County Correctional Facility, automatically transferred to emergency generators that were serviced and tested prior to the storm, DiCola says.

Around midnight, when water levels started to recede, crews began assessing damage as well as drying out and testing equipment including boilers, chillers and pumps, DiCola says. The equipment was functional but power remained an issue, he says.

It took 36 to 48 hours for the crew to connect two, 2-megawatt generators to the facility. "The timeline was longer than planned because of our limitation of access to the site," DiCola says. The firm anticipated many things but not the problem of getting people in and out of the sites, he adds. Thus, future preparation plans will include moving equipment to the site ahead of a storm to avoid roadway closure delays, he says.

The Newark plant ran in "island mode," disconnected from the electrical grid until Nov. 6 but still able to provide the prison with electricity, steam and hot water, he says.

In Atlantic City, the partnership's plants came within one foot of water and had intermittent power from the grid, DiCola says. Because the plants had on-site generation, however, they were able to continuously serve both the Borgata and Revel casinos, he adds.

More than 200 contractors, equipment suppliers, engineering and operations staff worked around the clock starting the Monday of the storm to "double protect" the waterfront plants, DiCola says. Work included placing sandbags around both the perimeter of the plants and the electrical equipment inside; provisioning food; and securing stand-by generators and pumps.

The crews implemented the same plan that they used during Hurricane Irene in 2011 and followed "lessons learned" discussed at meetings held after major storms, DiCola says. The meetings also helped in anticipating the fuel supply problems that occurred after the storm, he says. Crews rented two oil tankers to manage the plant's fuel resources, and a fuel managing team working 24 hours a day secured fuel for the crew at various locations, he adds.

Meanwhile, in New York Harbor, both Liberty and Ellis islands suffered significant infrastructure damage, the National Park Service (NPS) said in a statement. The Statue of Liberty's pedestal and base had little or no damage, but Sandy hit just one day after the statue was reopened following a one-year, $30-million renovation, and it forced Liberty Island's closure until further notice. The statue and island lost power, but temporary lighting to the torch and crown was restored on Nov. 9, and full power was restored two days later, NPS says. Areas severely damaged include docks, railings and other barriers as well as security screening facilities.

The NPS team is in the process of responding to 15 of its national parks—from Morristown, N.J., to Long Island's Fire Island—that were also damaged by the storm, says Mike Litterst, NPS spokesman. Of the 15 parks, seven remained closed at press time.

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