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March 19, 2014


deppressoffice@dep.nyc.gov (845) 334-7868

City to Begin $25 Million Project to Significantly Increase Sewer Capacity in Elmhurst, Maspeth and Middle Village Queens

The Addition of Barrel Sewer Lines Will Help to Better Manage Stormwater in Neighborhoods Prone to Flooding

Photos of Barrel Sewers and a Map of the Work Area are Posted on DEP’s Flickr Page

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd and Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Acting Commissioner David Resnick today announced that the City is set to begin a $25 million infrastructure upgrade that will significantly increase sewer capacity and thereby better manage stormwater and reduce flooding in the Elmhurst, Maspeth and Middle Village neighborhoods of Queens.  The existing sewers located under Calamus Avenue and 69th Street serve as major conduits in the areas drainage network and both will receive significant capacity upgrades to ensure the proper drainage of stormwater from the streets and to help eliminate sewer backups.  While the roadway is opened to add the sewer capacity, the City will also replace the area’s water mains to ensure residents and businesses continue to enjoy a reliable supply of high quality water.  In early April, contractors will establish a field office in the community and begin mobilizing for the project.  Construction will begin later this spring and the work is expected to be completed by the fall of 2016.  The project is being funded by DEP and the construction will be managed by DDC.

“We are committed to working with local leaders and community groups to identify areas where upgrades to the sewer infrastructure are feasible and will help to better meet the needs of residents and businesses,” said DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd.  “This $25 million investment will add significant capacity to the sewer system, help to better manage the stormwater that drains to this low-lying neighborhood and reduce flooding.”

“We look forward to ‘getting shovels in the ground’ and starting work on these significant infrastructure upgrades in Elmhurst, Maspeth, and Middle Village.  This project will improve our streets and water service, and add much-needed drainage to help manage stormwater.  In addition, in the weeks to come, we will assign a full-time Community Construction Liaison to keep residents and business owners informed about the work we’ll be doing,” said David Resnick, AIA, Acting Commissioner of the New York City Department of Design and Construction.

"I am pleased that DEP is making the necessary infrastructure investments in our communities,” said Council Member Elizabeth Crowley.  “These much needed improvements will help prevent future flooding in our homes and in our streets. I would like to thank Commissioner Lloyd for expediting this project and look forward to continuing to work with her and the DEP to ensure we continue to bring our infrastructure into the 21st Century.”

“I commend this $25 million upgrade to our sewer system,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm. “Preventing over flows and providing high quality drinking water keeps New Yorkers healthy.”

“The new infrastructure project that the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Design and Construction have undertaken is truly the meat and potatoes of governance,” said Assemblyman Francisco P. Moya.  “It is crucially important that we provide clean and sanitary living conditions for our residents. This new project will not only reduce flooding in several Queens neighborhoods, but will provide employment for New Yorkers. Following Hurricane Sandy, it became even clearer how important infrastructure investment truly is.”

"This investment is a long time coming for my constituents and I'm very pleased to not only hear of DEP's efforts but to also hear of a projected start and finish date to this project,” said Senator Joseph P. Addabo Jr.  “For years, the area's sewers have been overwhelmed during major storms, and this is a necessary upgrade for residents. I look forward to seeing the results of this project and hope it is a solution for the area’s flooding issues."

69th Street between Queens Boulevard and Calamus Avenue, and Calamus Avenue between 69th and 70th Streets, is currently served by two 96-inch circular sewer lines.  This upgrade will add a five-foot by eight-foot (85-inch equivalent) barrel sewer line to that existing capacity.  Calamus Avenue between 70th and 74th Streets currently has one 96-inch circular sewer line.  This project will add an additional five-foot by eight-foot barrel sewer line to that existing capacity.  In addition, eight and 12-inch distribution water mains will be replaced with new ductile iron mains within the confines of the sewer work.  The new water mains will improve the pressure and quality of the water while also providing a critical redundancy to the distribution system that will help to minimize disruption to consumers during future maintenance work. 

Over the last decade DEP has invested more than $2.5 billion to upgrade sewers citywide, with approximately $500 million dedicated to improving the drainage system in Queens.  Over the next 10 years DEP has budgeted similar amounts to increase capacity, extend the system to underserved neighborhoods and ensure that the infrastructure remains in a state of good repair.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of high quality water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.4 million in New York City, and residents of Ulster, Orange, Putnam, and Westchester counties. This water comes from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and the system comprises 19 reservoirs, three controlled lakes, and numerous tunnels and aqueducts. DEP employs nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 scientists, engineers, surveyors, watershed maintainers and others professionals in the upstate watershed. In addition to its $68 million payroll and $157 million in annual taxes paid in upstate counties, DEP has invested more than $1.5 billion in watershed protection programs—including partnership organizations such as the Catskill Watershed Corporation and the Watershed Agricultural Council—that support sustainable farming practices, environmentally sensitive economic development, and local economic opportunity. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program with over $14 billion in investments planned 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 at facebook.com/nycwater, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/nycwater.

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