DEP to start cleaning up Flushing Bay next year

By Madina Toure

The city Department of Environmental Protection will start dredging the Flushing Bay next year.

The DEP said it would dredge about 16.8 acres of the bay along the southwest shore adjacent to the World’s Fair Marina. The project will remove piles of sediment from the bay so that they are never above the waterline.

Dredging removes sediment and debris from the bottoms of lakes, rivers, harbors and other water bodies.

The $47 million project should be complete by the end of 2019, according to City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst).

Mounds of sediment have accumulated over the years because of discharges from combined sewer overflows—a diluted mixture of rainwater, human waste and sewage released into local waterways when the sewers get full—not being washed out, Ferreras said.

The discharges come from heavy rain and cause unpleasant odors for residents. However, the DEP now captures 80 percent of those discharges, she said.

Ferreras said dredging will improve quality of life for East Elmhurst residents, the surrounding neighborhoods and travelers at LaGuardia Airport.

“So many of them moved in over 30 years (ago) and made a home here despite having to put up with the noise and stench,” Ferreras said.

City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) said the project is necessary in light of development interest in the area, but expressed concerns about the Flushing River.

“We’re hoping DEP will consider cleaning up the Flushing River, but they always act like they don’t have the funding,” Koo said.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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