NYC Department of Environmental Protection and Partnership Fund for New York City Launch Environmental Tech Lab
Public-private initiative will leverage global tech sector to help meet regional sustainability goals
May 3, 2022
Today the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Partnership Fund for New York City launched the Environmental Tech Lab (ETL)—a public-private initiative that will leverage the global tech sector to help solve both present and future challenges facing the city’s water and wastewater network. Every day, that network, the nation’s largest, provides approximately 1 billion gallons of safe drinking water and treats about 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater. The ETL will identify and test promising new technologies and solutions designed to address agency needs and meet the city’s ambitious sustainability goals, including tools to improve stormwater management, mitigate noise pollution, save energy, and optimize staffing resources.
Rohit T. Aggarwala, DEP Commissioner and New York City Chief Climate Officer, said, “Embracing technology is going to be critical for DEP to continue providing great drinking water, protecting the harbor, and creating resilience for all New Yorkers, while also keeping water rates low. Joining with the Partnership Fund for New York City to create the Environmental Tech Lab will help us explore a range of new technologies, and to do so quickly.”
Maria Gotsch, President and CEO of the Partnership Fund for New York City, said, “New York is one of the world’s largest innovation hubs. As such, a top priority of the Partnership Fund is to ensure that best-in-class technology not only grows the economy but is also deployed locally to benefit public sector agencies and New Yorkers alike. After a track record of success in transit, we look forward to using the same accelerator model to partner with the NYC Department of Environmental Protection to ensure that New York City’s water system is at the cutting edge of sustainable practices and technology.”
Stacey Matlen, Vice President of Innovation at the Partnership for New York City, said, “New York City’s water network has a well-earned global reputation for excellence, and we are excited to help it harness the power of the tech community to deliver even better service for its millions of users. This will be an outstanding opportunity for innovative tech companies to partner with the nation’s largest water system, bringing value to an incredibly important mission.”
The ETL will provide an opportunity for early- and growth-stage tech companies to collaborate with DEP through annual “challenges,” which will begin with competitive application processes centered around one or more thematic focus areas. For companies that are accepted, the program will then facilitate a two-phased process starting with an eight-week “proof of concept” preliminary exploration of the proposed solution. If that phase is successful, companies will be invited to deploy their work on a larger scale in a yearlong pilot. The first challenge will launch this summer and focus on solutions that enhance operational efficiencies and staffing capacity. Challenges will provide a streamlined testing process and efficient project management at no cost to the agency.
This program builds on DEP’s focus on using new tools to solve problems, including noise cameras that identify drivers who use loud, illegally modified mufflers, and the Citizens Air Complaint Program that allows New Yorkers to self-report idling trucks.
The ETL is modeled after the successful Transit Tech Lab (TTL)—a collaboration between the Partnership for New York City and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)—which enables regional transportation agencies to test new technologies that modernize public transit and improve the customer experience. Challenges have helped the regional transportation network improve subway signaling, curb management, transit accessibility, and mitigate extreme weather conditions. Since 2018, the TTL has fielded over 600 applicants, tested 36 technologies and facilitated seven commercial engagements. The MTA estimates that in its first year alone, the TTL provided $10-$20 million in value for the agency.
To learn more about the ETL and the upcoming 2023 challenge visit https://envirotechlab.nyc/.
About the NYC Department of Environmental Protection
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water each day to nearly 10 million residents, including 8.8 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP also protects the health and safety of New Yorkers by enforcing the Air and Noise Codes and asbestos rules. DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $29 billion in investments over the next 10 years. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.
About the Partnership Fund for New York City
The Partnership Fund for New York City is the $130 million investment arm of the Partnership for New York City, New York’s leading business organization. The Fund’s mission is to engage the City’s business leaders to identify and support promising entrepreneurs—in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors—to create jobs, spur new business and expand opportunities for New Yorkers to participate in the City’s economy. As an “evergreen” fund, realized gains are continuously reinvested. The Partnership Fund Board is led by co-chairs Tarek Sherif and Sanjay Swani. Maria Gotsch, president and CEO, leads the team. More information about the Fund can be found at partnershipfundnyc.org.