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Photo courtesy DEP Flickr
Photo courtesy DEP Flickr
Over 300 bioswales like this one are under construction in Ridgewood, Maspeth and Sunnyside.

Newtown Creek is about to get a little bit cleaner.

On Wednesday, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Department of Design and Construction (DDC) announced that construction recently began on approximately 321 curbside gardens — known as bioswales — throughout Ridgewood, Maspeth and Sunnyside.

The bioswales will collect stormwater runoff to help reduce the levels of combined sewer overflow (CSO) going into the Newtown Creek.

When construction is completed later this year, each of these new curbside rain gardens will have the capacity to collect and absorb up to 2,500 gallons of stormwater. DEP’s models have shown that the 321 bioswales will capture an estimated 38 million gallons of stormwater each year, reducing CSOs into Newtown Creek and improving the waterway’s health.

“Cleaning up Newtown Creek is a priority for DEP, and we are excited that shovels are in the ground to build rain gardens in the surrounding communities,” said Steven Lawitts, DEP’s acting commissioner. “Not only will this $7.3 million investment green the streets and sidewalks of Maspeth, Sunnyside and Ridgewood, but by capturing the stormwater that would otherwise drain into the sewer system, we will reduce the amount of pollution that ends up in Newtown Creek.”

In addition to the bioswales, DEP is creating six stormwater green streets to utilize underused roadway areas to absorb stormwater before it can make its way into Newtown Creek.

“DDC is proud to partner with DEP to provide a stormwater management system that reduces the risk of sewer overflows and beautifies neighborhoods by funneling water to street gardens,” said Peña-Mora, DDC commissioner. “In keeping with Mayor de Blasio’s vision for a resilient and sustainable city, this project is certainly one that Queens residents and all New Yorkers can take pride in.”

This map shows the locations of the bioswales and stormwater green streets throughout Community Boards 2 and 5.

Map courtesy DEP

Map courtesy DEP

Check out this video to see a bioswale collecting rainwater.

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