By Olivia Scheck
MANHATTAN — Water gushed from the fountains at the 9/11 Memorial for the first time Tuesday as builders initiated a test run of one of the site's massive reflecting pools, the Port Authority said.
The two pools, which sit in the footprints of the fallen towers, will together constitute the largest man-made waterfall in America, according to the agency.
Chris Ward, executive director of the Port Authority, which is overseeing the project, hailed the test as a success in a Tuesday statement, but emphasized the work that still had to be done ahead of next year's 10th anniversary of the attacks.
"The testing today went well and it is an important sign of progress, but our work is by no means complete," Ward said. "September 11, 2011 is the only goal that matters and for the next 306 days we will continue to keep our heads down and locked in on delivering the sacred heart of the site."
Upon completion, the pools will hold 480,000 gallons of water each, gushing at a rate of 3000 gallons per minute, the Authority said.
The fountains will continue to flow year-round, except on extremely cold days. There is a heating system in place to prevent the water from freezing, according to the agency.
A complete description of the selected design, proposed by New York City Housing Authority architect Michael Arad and California landscape architect Peter Walker, is available on the competition's website.