A major Middle Village sewer project designed to stop flooding woes is finally set to begin

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After many years of public appeals, planning and waiting, a Middle Village sewer reconstruction project is finally set to break ground.

The $22 million project will replace sewer and water mains beneath Penelope Avenue and connecting streets in a low-lying area of Middle Village that, in years past, experienced flooding during torrential summer rainstorms.

Flooding problems in the area came to a head in August 2007, when a massive thunderstorm swamped the area of Penelope Avenue and 72nd Street. Sewer lines through the area became overwhelmed by the rush of water, causing runoff to back up into nearby homes, garages and driveways.

“This project started when we, Community Board 5 (CB 5), had a sit-down meeting with some of the more important people of DEP going back to 2007 after that terrible rain when it rained 4 ½ inches in 45 minutes around here,” said Gary Giordano, district manager of CB 5. “From what I know, the city’s sewer lines have been built to be able to handle 1 to 1 ½ inches per hour.”

Following an investigation, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) moved forward with plans to replace sewer lines in the area of Penelope Avenue. The plans, however, were beset by one delay after another, even as Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley called on the agency to expedite the process.

With the last obstacles now cleared, the DEP will move forward with replacing the existing sewer lines — which are between 15 and 63 inches in diameter — with larger combined box sewers and/or sewer pipes between 24 and 54 inches in diameter.

According to Giordano, the project is slated to start in a month’s time or less. Crews will be working from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday, leading to road closures during that time. Depending on where they will be working, the Q38 bus will have to be detoured as well.

There will be a 72-hour notice, followed by a 24-hour notice for all homes expected to see water service shutdowns during construction.

While the roadway is open in spots, crews will also install new water mains measuring between 8 and 12 inches in diameter and, where needed, new fire hydrants.

“I expect them to work one block at a time,” Giordano said. “I expect them to start with the water main work. When they are done with that, I expect them to start the sewer work.”

The work will take place along Penelope Avenue between 71st and 74th streets; 74th Street between Juniper Boulevard South and Juniper Valley Road; 75th and Gray streets between Juniper Valley Road and 66th Drive; 77th Street between Gray Street and Juniper Valley Road; and Juniper Valley Road between 74th and 77th streets.

Residents can expect to endure sporadic detours, parking restrictions and even some service outages while work is underway. The city estimates the project will be completed by December 2017.

QNS has reached out to DEP for comment, but they have not responded by press time.

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