By Gina Martinez
Flushing Bay is getting a major cleanup.
The city Department of Environmental Protection has begun work on a $34 million project to dredge portions of Flushing Bay near the World’s Fair Marina to reduce odors and improve the health of the waterway.
According to the DEP, the work will also include enhancements of existing wetlands and removal of deteriorated timber piles, an abandoned pier and non-native trees to improve views of the bay.
The dredging will be completed in 2017 and the wetland expansion and planting will continue over the next several years, DEP said.
DEP Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said this cleanup will benefit residents near the bay.
“This $34 million dredging and wetland expansion project will help to clean up Flushing Bay and improve the quality of life for the residents of northern Queens,” he said “I’d like to thank our partners who have worked with us on the extensive planning needed to carry out this project and we look forward to working together on our many other initiatives that will enhance the environment in and around Flushing Bay.”
According to Councilman Peter Koo (D- Flushing), the recent influx of residents in Flushing led to the cleanup.
“The rapid real estate development in Flushing and throughout Queens has shined a spotlight on the urgent need to devote more resources to our surrounding waterways,” he said. “I would like to thank DEP for committing these necessary resources to our community, and I encourage the city to continue expanding this push toward sustainability to the rest of our under served waterways.”
Part of the project will includelong-reach excavators on floating barges that will dredge 91,000 cubic yards of sediment over a 17.5-acre area in the vicinity of the World’s Fair Marina and two combined sewer outfalls, DEP said.
The project, which is taking place near LaGuardia Airport, is being coordinated with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and the Federal Aviation Administration, as well as the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, which runs the marina, DEP said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is set to monitor wildlife in and around the dredging area as well, officials said.
A turbidity curtain will be put up during the dredging to separate the work area from the rest of the bay and extracted sediment will be processed, dewatered and transferred for off site disposal, officials said.
Despite 24-hour dredging operations taking place seven days a week, boaters with vessels docked in the marina will still be able to get to their watercrafts at all times, the DEP said.
This is just one of many projects the DEP has lined up to improve Flushing Bay. In College Point there is a $132 million project to build 400 new catch basins and 12 miles of new sanitary and storm sewers that will replace three sewer outfalls and stop the release of 50 million gallons of sewer overflow into Flushing Bay. Sewer overflows into Flushing Bay will be reduced by 225 million gallons every year due to an ongoing $33 million upgrade at five key junction points in the Queens sewer system, officials said.
DEP has also designed hundreds of curbside rain gardens near Flushing Bay to stop stormwater before it can enter the sewer system and contribute to overflows into the bay, DEP said.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart