Envac to upgrade vacuum waste collection system built 44 years ago in New York

The system is responsible for transporting the municipal waste of the 14,000 residents of Roosevelt Island, which is located in the East River, between the districts of Manhattan and Queens.


Envac has secured a contract to upgrade New York’s first pneumatic waste collection system, which originally went into operation in 1975. The contract is worth 1.7 million dollars and the work is scheduled to take approximately six months.

The waste collection system is the property of Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), a public entity belonging to the State of New York with responsibility for the operation and maintenance of services and infrastructures on the island, located in the East River, between the districts of Manhattan and Queens. The automatic vacuum collection system is made up of over 3 kilometres of subterranean pipes, through which the municipal waste of the island’s 14,000 residents is transported.

The project to be undertaken by Envac encompasses the complete upgrading of the control system, the replacement of the exhausters at the terminal, partial replacement of cables and connections in the general network, and the replacement of 10 waste valves and 5 air valves in the network. Future contracts will address the replacement of the remaining 45 valves in the waste collection network.

The implementation of these improvements will ensure optimisation of the collection process, as well significant savings in electricity consumption and labour costs.

The Roosevelt Island system is the only one of its kind in New York and the third to be built to date in the United States. The other two systems are located in New Jersey and in the Disney World leisure complex in Orlando (Florida).

In the 44 years since it went into operation, the system has never stopped working, even in the most adverse weather conditions. In this respect, Envac points out that in 2010, when the city was hit by heavy snow storms that affected the operation of public services, including waste collection trucks, for three weeks, the system continued to operate without any interruption.

The system also operated normally when Hurricane Sandy struck in 2012, whereas other public services in the city of New York were severely affected.