FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 17-3
January 11, 2017
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$34 Million Environmental Dredging of Flushing Bay Will Reduce Nuisance Odors
Work will also include the Enhancement of Existing Wetland Habitat and the Removal of Deteriorated Timber Piles and Piers
A Map of the Project Area and Photos are Available on DEP’s Flickr Page
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that work will begin this month on a $34 million project to dredge portions of Flushing Bay in the vicinity of the World’s Fair Marina in order to improve the health of the waterway and significantly reduce nuisance odors. The work will also include enhancement of existing wetlands and the removal of deteriorated timber piles, an abandoned pier and non-native trees to improve views of the Bay. Equipment is being mobilized this week with preparatory work to begin thereafter. The dredging is anticipated to be completed in 2017, while the wetland expansion and planting will continue over the next several years.
“This $34 million dredging and wetland expansion project will help to clean up Flushing Bay and improve the quality of life for the residents of northern Queens,” said DEP Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “I’d like to thank our partners who have worked with us on the extensive planning needed to carry out this project and we look forward to working together on our many other initiatives that will enhance the environment in and around Flushing Bay.”
“I am glad DEP is working to upgrade the conditions of the waterway of Flushing Bay and to eliminate nuisance odors in the area, particularly around the World’s Fair Marina and LaGuardia Airport. This project is vital to improving the vicinity and an important component to protecting our ecosystem,” said State Senator Jose Peralta (D-Queens). “I want to thank Acting Commissioner Sapienza for all the efforts put in place to materialize this plan that includes dredging parts of the Bay and getting rid of deteriorated timber piles.”
“This project comes as a great overdue relief to our community,” said Assembly Member Michael Simanowitz. “Not only do we benefit from the removal of harmful sediment and pervasive odors, but wetland expansion is a win for our environment. Enhancing our waterways ensures that Northeast Queens remains a vibrant and safe place for our families.”
“This Flushing Bay dredging project will help protect our city’s greatest resource—our waterways. The project will bring environmental benefits which include enhancing the wetland habitat, improving the ecology of the bay, and reducing odors. I thank DEP Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza for his leadership on this important capital project,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee.
“The rapid real estate development in Flushing and throughout Queens has shined a spotlight on the urgent need to devote more resources to our surrounding waterways,” said Council Member Peter Koo. “I would like to thank DEP for committing these necessary resources to our community, and I encourage the City to continue expanding this push toward sustainability to the rest of our underserved waterways.”
“At long last, Flushing Bay will receive this integral cleanup! With the reduction of the unbearable odors and a now healthier waterway, the DEP’s efforts will provide much relief to my constituents,” said Council Member Paul Vallone.
Beginning in January, long-reach excavators situated on floating barges will dredge 91,000 cubic yards of sediment over a 17.5 acre area in the vicinity of the World’s Fair Marina and two combined sewer outfalls. In addition, non-native trees, 78 deteriorated timber piles and an abandoned pier will be removed to improve views along a portion of the 1.4-mile long Flushing Bay Promenade. The work will conclude with the enhancement of more than three-acres of wetland habitat, which will naturally filter the water in the Bay, including mudflats, intertidal marsh and high marsh.
Throughout the duration of the project, which will take place in proximity to LaGuardia Airport, all activity will be coordinated with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and the Federal Aviation Administration, as well as the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, which runs the marina. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will continuously monitor wildlife in and around the dredging area.
During the dredging, a turbidity curtain will be installed to isolate the work area from the rest of the Bay and there will be continuous monitoring of water quality and any odors. The extracted sediment will be processed, dewatered and transferred for offsite disposal. Dredging operations are expected to occur over a 24-hour period, seven days a week, however boaters with vessels docked in the public marina will have access to their watercrafts at all times.
DEP has numerous projects, both under way now and in the planning stages, to improve the health of Flushing Bay. This includes a $132 million project in College Point that will see the construction of more than 400 new catch basins and nearly 12 miles of new sanitary and storm sewers. This work will allow for the decommissioning of three existing combined sewer outfalls that empty into Flushing Bay, thereby avoiding the release of nearly 50 million gallons annually of combined sewer overflow. An ongoing $33 million upgrade at five key junction points within the sewer system in Queens will reduce combined sewer overflows into Flushing Bay by 225 million gallons each year. In addition, DEP is building hundreds of specially designed curbside rain gardens in the vicinity of Flushing Bay that will intercept stormwater before it can ever enter the combined sewer system and contribute to overflows into the Bay. And, in 2009, the $291 million Flushing Bay Combined Sewer Overflow Retention Facility was activated.
The dredging of Flushing Bay is part of an agreement between New York City and New York State that aims to improve the ecological health and cleanliness of New York City Harbor.
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. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $14 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.