Water Environment Federation (WEF)

New York City reinvents capital program delivery

Faced with sharp increases of their 10-year capital budget to $19.5 billion, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) performed a Capital Program Management needs evaluation to determine best practices, streamline processes, review organizational structure, benchmark the agency against other successful utilities, and identify new tools to improve the delivery of the capital program. With an effective private/public partnership, the findings of the evaluation are now being implemented and include a revised organization structure that provides life-cycle project management (cradle-to-grave project ownership), codified business processes and guidelines for consistent project delivery, a Project Management Information System (PMIS) for transparent performance tracking, and a Workforce Development program that supports the new initiatives and enables continuous improvement.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is currently experiencing challenges in cost control, resourcing, meeting schedule milestones, and prioritization for its expanding capital improvements program. The projects that comprise this program include new and upgraded water supply and distribution facilities (reservoirs, dams, tunnels, etc.), upgrades to its 14 major wastewater treatment plants and collection facilities, combined sewer overflow facilities, and numerous dams, bridges, roads and smaller wastewater treatment plants in the upstate watershed. The majority of capital program is implemented by DEP’s Bureau of Design and Construction (BEDC) which manages the planning, design, and construction management of the projects for eventual turnover to its client operating Bureaus. Figure 1 provides a functional organization chart of the DEP organization as of May 2007.

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