Queens councilman calls on DEP to improve drainage in effort to prevent flooding following recent storm

(Photo via Facebook/City Councilwoman Vickie Paladino)

Queens Councilman Robert Holden wrote a letter to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), urging the agency to examine driveways in his district to see where improvements can be made to prevent flooding. 

After an early morning storm on Tuesday, Sept. 13, Holden’s district, along with many other areas of Queens, experienced heavy flooding. Holden said the DEP needs to step in to help improve drainage lines.

“In numerous incidents, flooding occurred due to a water backlog in the community drive,” Holden wrote. “During Hurricane Ida, and again early this morning, community driveways were unable to process the rainfall.”

Holden explained that although these are private driveways, water runs down public streets into the driveways, causing flooding inside people’s homes. He also pointed out that DEP has previously improved drainage lines in driveways around Jackson Heights, although it is not common.  

“Addressing flooding issues in community drives will go a long way towards being responsive to the needs of homeowners who bear the brunt of the flooding costs,” Holden wrote. “Property is now being destroyed by a simple rainstorm.”

Residents in Queens were once again cleaning out their basements that were filled with rainwater. One Whitestone resident took to Facebook, sharing that after extensive work in her basement to fix the damage from last year’s storm, it happened all over again. 

“I woke up this morning to everything in my basement destroyed again,” the resident wrote on Facebook. “This is no way to live. I mentally and physically can’t do this again, but I have to. What is going on here with the drainage? How many others have the same story as me?”

(Photo via Facebook/Councilwoman Vickie Paladino)

Another resident encouraged her neighbors to contact 311 with sewer complaints. 

“The city needs to get the sewer system cleaned out. There’s no reason for them to overflow the way they do,” he said.

Councilwoman Sandra Ung met with families who experienced flooding damage to their homes. Ung said she is working with the DEP to organize a public meeting for the first week of October to discuss this issue with impacted residents and homeowners.