By Gina Martinez
College Point residents have been treading water for long enough.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) joined residents of Powells Cove Boulevard last Friday to call on the city to finally address a major flooding condition that residents say has plagued the community for over 20 years.
Avella and residents stood on the corner of Powells Cove Blvd. and 126th St. around a large pool of water that amassed from rainfall earlier in the week that had frozen over and showed no signs of going away.
According to residents who have dealt with this issue for years, they expect the floodwaters to stay there well into spring. Avella said he has been working with residents for the last two years to bring the issue to the attention to different city agencies.
Avella said the location has been inspected by multiple city agencies, including the Department of Transportation, which blamed the flooding on a lack of storm sewers at the location, and claimed that the Department of Environmental Protection must address that before DOT can address the road issues.
Over the summer, Avella brought the issues up to the DEP, which said it would open a 90-day investigation of the location — but to this date, neither he nor the residents have heard what that investigation concluded.
A DEP spokesman said that City engineers are still working to determine what upgrades to Powell’s Cove Blvd. may be feasible.
The state senator said he is not sure how the city expects people to live with these conditions and that it was absurd that residents still have to beg for basic services like storm sewers.
“How they allow their residents to live in such a flood-prone area without proper drainage or a sewer is beyond me,” he said at the press conference. “Just because these New Yorkers live at the end of College Point does not mean that you should treat them like they live at the end of the world. These New Yorkers have waited too long. Something needs to be done immediately.”
College Point resident Irina Ngai said that the street has been in this condition for 26 years because the basins are not connected to the New York City sewers.
“This condition persists year-round and in the winter it is like this every day,” she said. “In the winter, when it snows, it floods and turns icy and slippery, in the summertime, there are mosquitoes, it attracts disease, and the debris creates a hazard. The most important thing to do now is to connect the basin to the city sewer to help drain the water. If that was to happen, most of the problems would go away.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart