Governors Island Alliance Shows Gratitude at Picnic in the Clouds Benefit

On Thursday, July 18, Governors Island Alliance hosted the Picnic in the Clouds Benefit on the 64th floor of One World Trade Center, courtesy of the Durst Organization.

In attendance were Dagher Engineering, PLLC’s Principals, Richard Pearson and Josephine Zurica, with Project Managers, Joseph Munafo and Vivek Patel.

From left: Vivek Patel, Josephine Zurica, Richard Pearson and Joseph Munafo of Dagher Engineering, PLLC

From left: Vivek Patel, Josephine Zurica, Richard Pearson and Joseph Munafo of Dagher Engineering, PLLC

The event was hosted on the unfinished half of the 64th floor of the recently opened Freedom Tower (One World Trade Center) in lower Manhattan. Tall panoramic windows lent South-facing views of Governors Island and everything in between The Hudson and East Rivers.

Visitors also got a peak of the completed Sky Lobby and its North-facing views up the Hudson River toward Central Park and Midtown.

Since opening 30 new acres of park to the public in 2014, Governors Island has been satisfying the interests of tourists and local park-goers alike by offering arts, concerts, historic buildings and tourism, all beyond the vista of the lower Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty.

Benefit proceeds from the annual fundraiser help support numerous free public programs provided by GIA, like the Harbor School student internships, Family Festival, as well as volunteer programs including “ambassadors” and gardeners who uphold cultural experiences for visitors. The National Park Service and the Trust for Governors Island also rely on the generosity of benefactors. 

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Black Water Treatment Plant Brings Clarity to a Gray Area

June 15, 2015

In a May 8, 2015 article published by the New York Times, John Schwartz touches on the sticky issue of rebranding recycled wastewater, or “black water”, into drinking water. He explains how wastewater from a treatment plant in Orange County, CA is converted to purer H20 than bottled water and is completely safe to drink. While the idea has been embraced by conservationists, about 13% of Americans remain staunchly opposed to the concept of black water treatment across the board. However, the technology that offers the potential to recycle more than half of the water used in the United States is not quite so black and white an issue.

The Helena, The Durst Organization's 597-unit upscale residential building in Midtown Manhattan, saves about 50,000 gallons per day of potable water thanks to its innovative black water treatment plant.

The Helena, The Durst Organization’s 597-unit upscale residential building in Midtown Manhattan, saves about 50,000 gallons per day of potable water thanks to its innovative black water treatment plant.

The treatment of black water has been gaining attention in recent years, but the technology is hardly new. In 2005, The Durst Organization called for a way to cut down water consumption and increase efficiency by constructing the largest known black water treatment plant within a residential building. In response, Dagher Engineering, PLLC developed a state-of-the-art design for The Helena that does just that. For ten years now, The Helena, a 597-unit upscale residential building located in Midtown Manhattan, has been reusing the wastewater it produces allowing it to conserve about 50,000 gallons of water a day.

The plant, which the American Council of Engineering Companies awarded the Diamond Award, is designed to convert black water into potable quality water through a purification process so that it can be safely reused for cooling towers, toilets, and irrigation for the roof garden. This adds up to about 35% to 40% of potable water consumption which The Helena reclaims without sending to the city’s sewage system.

The Helena does not reuse treated water for drinking or bathing purposes, which is about 65% of water use in residential buildings. Therefore, it continues to champion water conservation in the face of growing urbanization while avoiding the current controversy over drinking treated black water.

Just how do Helena residents feel about sharing an apartment wall with the black water treatment plant? Dagher Engineering achieved an innovative design that concealed the system entirely from residents, eliminating noise and odor through modularizing the treatment process and enclosing the tiered membrane bioreactors. This design, created to fit into a compact space, proves that black water treatment plants can be effectively and economically incorporated into urban development.

Dagher Engineering designed this state-of-the-art tiered membrane bioreactor which allows the treatment of black water to be odorless and noiseless to The Helena's residents while fitting compactly into the building.

Dagher Engineering designed this state-of-the-art tiered membrane bioreactor which allows the treatment of black water to be odorless and noiseless to The Helena’s residents while fitting compactly into the building.

The benefits of black water treatment only begin there. California’s imminent and serious drought is now gaining widespread attention. While residents in urban and suburban areas are asked to drastically cut back their water usage, farmers in the state continue to use potable water to irrigate water-rich crops like almonds and alfalfa. In “Our Water-Guzzling Food Factory,” New York Times reporter, Nick Kristof, illuminates us on the nation’s myriad plant and livestock commodities that are consuming the lion’s share of potable water; the 10 gallons of water required to produce one handful of almonds pales in comparison to the 450 gallons required to produce a ¼ lb. beef hamburger.

Agriculture is too valuable an industry for California, or other dry states, to consider abolishing, relocating, or limiting production. As reservoir and aquifer levels plummet consistently each year, politicians in the state are looking at desalination or piping in (costly to both energy and monetary resources) as solutions to water supply shortages. Desalination continues the process of withdrawing water, treating it, using it, then treating it again before returning it to natural water system. Similarly, piping in water from Alaska offers a palliative solution to an endemic problem.

Meanwhile, black water treatment eliminates the need for extraction and redundant treatment of waste water, and for extravagant out-sourcing of fresh water from distant locations, offering monumental opportunities for dry states like California to continue supplying up to 80% of total water use for agriculture and livestock needs.

By incorporating black water treatment plants into urban and suburban buildings, treated black water can be reused for non-drinking purposes, conserving the potable water supply. Black water can even be pulled from municipal sewage systems, treated and supplied to farmers, retaining waste water potential that would otherwise be treated before being dumped back into the Pacific Ocean only to be extracted again by a desalination plant. Black water treatment offers an affordable, effective, and long-lived answer to water conservation without yet asking to be swallowed in the literal sense.

In New York City alone, it is estimated that about half of all water used is consumed toward non-potable means, mainly by cooling towers. Integrating a non-potable water utility, consisting of treated black water – the same treated water that is currently discharged to the Hudson and East Rivers – would be an effective way to radically reduce our water consumption.

Dagher Engineering, PLLC continues to look at opportunities for leadership in sustainability, owing that the future of our cities and civilization depends on effective and immediate action in the face of climate change. The Helena is a milestone in the company’s movement toward a sustainable future.

Dagher Engineering Puts Money Where Mouth Is: Awards $2500 Scholarship To Manhattan College Engineering Student

NEW YORK CITY, May 20, 2015 – Yesterday, at an annual event that brings New York’s elite Professional Engineers of present and future together, Dagher Engineering awarded a $2,500 scholarship to a Manhattan College engineering student, Nicholas Adamo.

The Metropolitan Region Membership Meeting, held annually since 2002 by the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York (ACEC NY), allows ACEC member firms to generously make scholarships available to engineering students attending New York State colleges and universities.

Dagher Engineering was one of nine ACEC member firms at yesterday’s luncheon presenting a scholarship to students working tenaciously toward a civil engineering degree. Mr. Adamo has shown nothing but dedication to his engineering pursuit through his active membership with organizations such as the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Construction Management Association of America, and the New York Water Environment Association. He also received immense praise from Manhattan College’s Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Dr. Hossain Azam.

Elias Dagher, Founding Principal and CEO of Dagher Engineering, took a vested interest in Mr. Adamo’s plans to pursue his master’s degree while they spoke. “It’s important to teach young engineers that learning doesn’t stop once you finish school. It continues throughout your career,” said Dagher. “This is an important program because it promotes education and the field of engineering. The staff at Dagher Engineering is always working to learn new technology and stay ahead of trends. “

About Dagher Engineering

Dagher Engineering is an award-winning building systems engineering and sustainability consulting firm based in New York City. Our portfolio includes work in the commercial office + retail, cultural, educational, healthcare, hospitality, and residential market sectors for both U.S-based and international clients. Though our team members have the technical expertise to design systems for virtually any building type, we specialize in projects requiring a high degree of coordination due to their complexity, scope, or sustainability goals.