The brief

In 1975, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) made a forward-thinking decision to revolutionize waste collection for its 14,000 residents by implementing a pneumatic system. As a public entity under the jurisdiction of the State of New York, RIOC is responsible for managing and maintaining the island’s essential services and infrastructure, which is situated in the East River between the boroughs of Manhattan and Queens.

By adopting this innovative approach to waste management, RIOC was able to prioritize environmental preservation in this tightly-knit community. The pneumatic system eliminated the need for collection trucks, reducing noise pollution and eliminating the unpleasant odors associated with traditional waste collection methods.

The Project

In 2019, RIOC launched a public tender to modernize their waste management system, which had been running smoothly at full capacity for 44 years. Envac’s technical proposal was selected as the winner for the upgrade project. The project included a complete renovation of the control system and the replacement of turbo exhausters with frequency converters which deliver significant energy savings. This upgrade was carried out over the nearly two-mile long transport pipe network and at the collection station.

As part of the modernization, we also undertook a partial renovation of the general network’s cables and connections. We further improved the system by replacing 10 inlet valves and 5 air valves in the discharge network. Our team is committed to addressing the replacement and/or improvement of the remaining 45 valves in the future contracts. These efforts will enhance the overall performance of the system and ensure its optimal functionality for years to come.

The Result

Due to these improvements, the waste collection process has been optimized, leading to significant savings in electricity consumption. It’s noteworthy that the pneumatic waste collection system has been functioning continuously for more than five decades, even in the harshest weather conditions.

For instance, in 2010, a series of severe snowstorms halted New York City’s public services for three weeks, including the waste collection trucks. Despite the chaos, the Roosevelt Island system continued running without any interruptions. Similarly, during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, while the rest of the public services in New York City were overwhelmed and non-operational, the Envac pneumatic waste collection system continued to operate seamlessly.

This system is the only existing pneumatic waste collection system in New York City. Envac has also delivered systems to other North American locations, such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Atlanta, and the Disney World leisure complex in Orlando, Florida.

2,555 tons waste/year

1 waste fraction

14,534 linear feet of pipe

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