a Big Dig on Border

Maspeth/Woodside Sewer Fix To Stop Floods

At long last, crews will soon break ground on a multimillion sewer project in Maspeth and Woodside hailed as a solution to localized flooding problems.

This DEP map shows the extent of the sewer project along 69th Street and Calamus Avenue in Maspeth and Woodside.

The city Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced last Thursday, Mar. 20, the impending start of a $25 million upgrade to existing sewer lines running below Calamus Avenue between 69th and 74th streets and 69th Street between Calamus Avenue and Queens Boulevard.

For years, local lawmakers and civic activists have advocated for the project after a number of short but severe thunderstorms caused repeated sewer backups at floodprone areas of Maspeth, Elmhurst, Woodside, Middle Village and surrounding communities.

The most notable event took place on the morning of Aug. 8, 2007, when a thunderstorm dumped about four inches of rain in one hour, overwhelming the sewer system and causing flooding at intersections and nearby basements.

Heavy rainstorms in the summer of 2012 caused similar problems in flood-prone areas in western Queens.

According to the DEP, the sewer lines below Calamus Avenue and 69th Street serve as a major conduit in the area’s sewer network, with existing pipes transporting sewage and runoff to the Newtown Creek Water Treatment Plant and other facilities.

During the project-coordinated by the Department of Design and Construction and funded by the DEP-workers will install an 85-inch barrel sewer line to operate in conjunction with two 96-inch circular lines below the 69th Street segment and Calamus Avenue between 69th and 70th streets. Another barrel line will be installed under Calamus Avenue between 70th and 74th streets to support the one existing 96- inch circular line already there.

While the road is opened, the DEP noted, workers will replace existing distribution water lines with new ductile mains. According to DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd, the new mains will not only improve water pressure and quality, but they will also provide a “critical redundancy” to keep the H2O flowing during future maintenance work that may take place.

“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,” Lloyd stated.

“I am pleased that the DEP is making the necessary infrastructure investments in our communities,” added City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, who specifically thanked Lloyd and the DEP for expediting the project. “These much needed improvements will help prevent future flooding in our homes and in our streets.”

“Preventing overflows and providing high quality drinking water keeps New Yorkers healthy,” said City Council Member Daniel Dromm.

Assemblyman Francisco Moya noted the project “will not only reduce flooding in several Queens neighborhoods but will provide employment for New Yorkers,” while Assemblywoman Margaret Markey said the project is “great news for the long-suffering people of Maspeth, Woodside and Elmhurst … who have endured years of damage from repeated flooding after ordinary rainstorms.”

“For years, the area’s sewers have been overwhelmed during major storms and this is a necessary upgrade for residents,” said State Sen. Joseph Addabbo, who added he looked forward “to seeing the results of this project.”

Lloyd noted the contractor performing the work will open a field office in April, and the project will begin in earnest shortly thereafter. It is expected the work will be completed in the autumn of 2016.