City installs large storm box sewers in southeast Queens neighborhood to reduce flooding

Southeast Queens Sewer Project
Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC)

After breaking ground in the community of Brookville in southeast Queens earlier this year marking the beginning of an $84 million infrastructure upgrade project, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced on Nov. 26 the installation of new storm box sewers to help alleviate flooding. 

DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza joined with the Department of Design and Construction’s (DDC) Deputy Commissioner for Infrastructure Eric Macfarlane and Councilman Donovan Richards to review the progress of the project that includes the installation of 9-foot-by-5-foot storm box sewers. 

“To date, 1,650 feet of storm sewers, 2,500 feet of sanitary sewers and 11,800 feet of water mains have been installed,” the DDC said in a statement to QNS. “Additionally, 25 hydrants were replaced and seven additional fire hydrants were installed as well.” 

The project, which is funded by DEP and managed by DDC, is anticipated to be completed in the summer 2021. The large box sewer will form one of the major spines for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $1.9 billion buildout of the drainage system throughout southeast Queens. 

It was a much-needed development for the area which has historically flooded even with the slightest bit of rain, Richards said. 

“This is one of 55 projects that are slated for southeast Queens over the course of the next decade or two, and these are projects that have been on the books for a very long time, like many other projects in southeast Queens,” said Richards, former chairman of the Environmental Protection Committee, who lobbied for infrastructure investment in the community. 

According to the DEP, the new storm sewers will help drain not only the neighborhood of Brookville, but also eventually other areas in southeast Queens that are north of Idlewild Park and will receive new sewers as well under the southeast Queens initiative. 

As part of the final stress restoration, 5,900 feet of curbs will be replaced, 65,000 square feet of sidewalks will be reconstructed and 21,000 square yards of new asphalt will be laid down over a concrete base. The new curbs and sidewalks will be graded to help guide stormwater to the area’s new catch basins to ensure adequate street drainage during storms.

Through the remainder of the project, 6,550 feet of storm sewers and 3,700 feet of combined sewers will be newly installed, and 5,100 feet of sanitary sewers will be replaced, while four additional fire hydrants will be installed, the DDC said. 

Richards commended the DEP and DDC for the work they’ve done thus far. 

“DEP has done a layman job with the DDC and expediting a lot of other projects that have been on the books for decades,” Richards said. “Progress is obviously being made and it was a milestone in this project when we broke ground last year. I’m sure homeowners are not too thrilled coming home and losing parking, but at the end of the day this is going to ensure that residents of southeast Queens — in Brookville especially — really have a quality of life that they deserve and it’s a shame that it’s taken so long for these specific projects to move along.”