FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 14-51
June 16, 2014
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Department of Environmental Protection and Queens Community Groups Announce New Storm Sewers Coming to St. Albans
The Targeted Installation of Storm Sewers and Catch Basins Will Help to Drain Stormwater from Local Streets and Reduce Chronic Flooding
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that work began this week on a project to install storm sewers and catch basins along 119th Avenue between 192nd Street and 195th Street. Working in collaboration with the Empowered Queens United in Action and Leadership (EQUAL) organization, DEP engineers leveraged advances in the department’s Geographic Information Systems and hydraulic modeling capabilities to arrive at a faster, targeted stormwater solution for this chronically challenging area. In this case, the addition of three blocks of new storm sewers will be connected to 18 street level catch basins and drain the stormwater towards an existing storm sewer located under 192nd Street. The $1 million project is expected to be completed by the fall. It is one of a number of new initiatives DEP is undertaking to help manage stormwater and alleviate local roadway flooding in neighborhoods throughout southeast Queens in advance of the ongoing construction of a $6 billion comprehensive sewer system for the area. While the roadway is opened to install the storm sewers, DEP will also replace the existing sanitary sewer lines and water mains to ensure that they remain in a state of good repair for decades to come.
“Local community groups know their neighborhoods best and we are pleased to collaborate with EQUAL on these important projects that will bring new storm sewers to reduce chronic flooding and improve resident’s quality of life,” said DEP Commissioner Lloyd. “We have committed an additional $380 million to continue to build out the sewer system throughout southeast Queens over the next ten years and we will also work with community leaders to identify locations where complementary, near-term investments will help to bring even faster relief.”
“Southeast Queens has longed for such an investment in its sewer systems for decades,” said Council Member Donovan Richards, who is the chair of the New York City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee. “While there are many more upgrades slated for the near future to upgrade the sewer systems in order to alleviate some of the chronic flooding, this current project serves as hope for the other local communities in Southeast Queens waiting for their turn to get such relief. I look forward to continuing working with Council Member Miller in advocating on behalf of our neighborhoods, in order to get services like these which are a dire need.”
“While Noah’s flood lasted for 40 days, our flooding has been going on for more than 40 years,” said Keisha Phillips-Kong, a leader for EQUAL and Our Lady of Light Catholic Church in St. Albans. “Even a minor rainstorm causes water to rise in our basements, yards and streets. Some residents have bought canoes so that they can paddle to higher ground when the rains arrive. We welcome the DEP’s recent actions to connect new storm sewers with catch basins, install reverse seepage basins and drain the water down. These are positive first steps and we look forward to working with DEP to finish the job.”
The post-World War II commercial and residential development of southeast Queens outpaced the extension of the City’s sewer system and many neighborhoods in the area are not yet equipped with catch basins or storm sewers to drain precipitation from the roadways. As the multi-year, $6 billion effort to construct a comprehensive storm sewer system for the area continues through the City’s capital construction program, DEP has initiated a number of smaller, targeted projects that can be advanced more rapidly and will help to manage stormwater and reduce flooding in the interim.
To identify the locations that are most prone to flooding, DEP consulted with local elected officials and community groups, and analyzed 311 reports. Engineers then conducted field investigations during both wet and dry weather. The analysis considered the topography of the neighborhood, the hydraulic capacity and location of existing storm sewers, the relative elevations of existing sewers, and the nature and severity of the stormwater management challenges to identify specific areas where the strategic installation of storm sewers and catch basins could help to alleviate flooding.
The first two locations identified for upgrades and where work has already been completed include 113th Avenue between 156th and 157th Streets and 111th Avenue between 155th and 158th Streets. Analysis of additional locations is currently underway and DEP expects to approve additional projects in 2014.
As part of DEP’s capital construction program, there are also numerous projects either ongoing or in the planning and design phase. These include the final stages of the $175 million Springfield Gardens upgrade that will be completed in the fall of 2014 and will bring nine miles of storm sewers and eight miles of sanitary sewers to the area. Also planned are a $26 million upgrade for the Brookville Boulevard area, an $18 million project that will bring high level storm sewers to the Twin Ponds neighborhood, and a $5 million project to install an additional sewer line under 183rd Street at Jamaica Avenue.
Building out and upgrading the sewer system in southeast Queens is one of the operational goals outlined in Strategy 2011-2014, a far-reaching strategic plan that lays out 100 distinct initiatives to make DEP the safest, most efficient, cost-effective, and transparent water utility in the nation.
The EQUAL organization is made up of congregations located in South East Queens, Sunnyside and Woodside, and was formed to assist members in engaging in public decision making, empowering them to be directly involved in efforts to improve the quality of life in their communities, and strengthen their member institutions.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight 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. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with nearly $14 billion in investments planned over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. This capital program is responsible for critical projects like City Water Tunnel No. 3; the Staten Island Bluebelt program, an ecologically sound and cost-effective stormwater management system; the city’s Watershed Protection Program, which protects sensitive lands upstate near the city’s reservoirs in order to maintain their high water quality; and the installation of more than 820,000 Automated Meter Reading devices, which will allow customers to track their daily water use, more easily manage their accounts and be alerted to potential leaks on their properties. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/nycwater, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/nycwater.