Workers install equipment in the East River that reduces the plant’s impact on the marine life. (Photo courtesy of Con Ed)
By Sabina Mollot
Two Con Ed employees have been recognized for developing a system that protects the fish in the East River from the utility’s steam and electric plant operations.
Gary Thorn, a section manager in Central Engineering, and Brian Brush, senior scientist in Environmental Health and Safety, were the winners of an industry award called the Technology Transfer Award from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).
The pair led a $36 million project to design a system of five screens with fine mesh panels to filter fish, eggs and larvae from the water cooling intake at the East River generating station off East 14th Street. Additionally, while the work had initially been expected to be completed by the end of 2014, it wound up being done over a year ahead of schedule, by the end of 2013. The project started in 2006 with testing and site evaluation and review of technologies.
“A lot of the early work consisted of collection of data like how many fish there were,” said Brush. “It was a good deal of fish, but it’s importance to distinguish that when we say fish the technology also protects eggs and larvae and they’re more abundant than actual fish.”
The screens, along with a fish-return system, reduce the plant’s impact on the river. The fish-return system uses a low-pressure spray to gently remove any aquatic organisms trapped on the screens and return them to the river.