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Southeast Queens Sewer Upgrade Improves Drainage in St. Albans

Project is part of DEP’s $1.9 Billion Initiative to Comprehensively Reduce Flooding Throughout Southeast Queens

A $21.8 million infrastructure project, part of the City’s $1.9 billion effort to reduce flooding and upgrade infrastructure throughout Southeast Queens that will accelerate through the next ten years, has brought expanded storm sewers, new sanitary sewers and new water mains to the vicinity of Lucas Street in St. Albans. The project, which was funded by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), is on track to be finish construction three months ahead of schedule by the Department of Design and Construction (DDC).

More than three-quarters of a mile (4,100 feet) of new storm sewers, some as large as nine feet wide and five-and-a-half feet tall, were installed adjacent to older storm sewers, functioning in tandem to greatly expand drainage capacity along Lucas Street and in adjacent areas. Twenty-one new catch basins were installed over the length of the project, targeted to flood-prone areas, and an additional 38 catch basins were replaced with new ones. Curbs were also repaired where necessary to help reduce ponding in the neighborhood and direct stormwater to the expanded system of sewers and catch basins.

“This $22 million investment in St. Albans for new storm sewers and catch basins will help to reduce the flooding that can occur during heavy rain storms and relieve residents and businesses of some of their worry and concern,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “This project is just the beginning of the Mayor’s historic commitment to reducing flooding and improving the quality of life in Southeast Queens.”

“The City and the de Blasio administration have made a huge commitment to address flooding and local street issues for the residents and businesses of Southeast Queens,” said DDC Acting Commissioner Ana Barrio. “DDC is currently working with its partners at DEP and DOT to coordinate a series of 55 infrastructure projects to be completed over the next 15 years at the estimated cost of almost $2 billion. This program is the largest of its kind in the City and will being significant improvements to local communities.”

“Flooding has persistently plagued Southeast Queens’ neighborhoods for decades, damaging properties, financially burdening homeowners and at times posing a significant threat to personal safety,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “This accelerated project is part of the administration’s continued commitment—backed by $2 billion in public investment—to relieve Southeast Queens residents from the burdens of flooding.”

“I commend Mayor de Blasio for working alongside Council Member Miller to prioritize flooding mitigation and infrastructure improvements in Southeast Queens, and I applaud DDC and DEP for their remarkable efficiency in completing this project,” said State Senator Leroy Comrie. “I am hopeful for even more positive news in the coming months and years as we continue to address this critical issue.”

“Residents in Southeast Queens have struggled with the effects of subpar sewer systems for far too long,” said Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman. “I am encouraged by the progress made with this sewer project and look forward to the improvements it will provide Southeast Queens homeowners. Thank you to DEP and DDC for placing a catch basin on Lucas Street and providing immediate and necessary relief to my constituents. I look forward to continue working with the City to improve the quality of life for all homeowners in Southeast Queens.”

“We continue to see the Administration making progress towards fulfilling its nearly $2 billion commitment to upgrade our community’s antiquated water and sewer infrastructure, and provide for a study of the region’s water table,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller. “Today’s announcement is welcome news to Southeast Queens residents who have suffered flooded homes, ponding and sewage backups with every rainstorm. I applaud DDC Commissioner Barrio and her staff for the work they have accomplished in collaboration with their colleagues at DEP to relieve locals of the stress these aggravations have caused them.”

“I’m pleased that the project is almost completed. It’s long-awaited and hopefully the community is pleased as well. Right now we look forward to the final items being finished,” said Yvonne Reddick, District Manager for Community Board 12. “I found the Community Construction Liaison to be reliable and professional, and we have a good working relationship.”

To increase the resiliency of other infrastructure in the project area, over 5,900 feet of water mains and 3,800 feet of sanitary sewers were also replaced. DDC is currently waiting for warmer weather so that the affected streets can be permanently repaved.

The project is part of Mayor de Blasio’s commitment of $1.9 billion to address flooding in southeast Queens by building out sewers and associated catch basins to create additional capacity in the neighborhood’s drainage system. The bulk of the funding will go towards the construction of four large trunk sewer “spines,” along 150th Street, Guy Brewer Boulevard, Farmers Boulevard and Springfield Boulevard. This work will take place through several separate projects, the first breaking ground later this year. Dozens of smaller local sewer projects, such as Lucas Street, will connect neighborhoods to the trunk sewer spines.

At least one local business has seen an increase in customers following the St. Albans project. David, who owns La Melliza Minimarket on Lucas Street and 120th Road, said that with better street conditions his business sees more traffic.

“Before when it rained people didn’t want to cross the street to get here because of puddles all around,” said David. “Now that’s not a problem. It’s much better than before, much better.”

Many local residents have also contacted DDC to express their satisfaction with the project’s effects on local drainage.
“For far too long, we had to deal with flooding of streets any time there was heavy rain. Now, the streets are clear during heavy periods of rain. I look forward to what’s to come with future projects,” said local resident Mr. Caswell Rodney

“The sewers are working much better than they did previously. There is no more flooding, water damage, or hazardous conditions when trying to move around the neighborhood, as it was before. My sidewalk has been replaced and looks great with no imperfections. The roadways are still being worked on but are an improvement over what they looked like before,” said Ms. Sharon Chatman.

“Best of all, I don’t have to walk around the street any more to get to my home when it rains,” said Chatman. “Before, the water would be over one sidewalk and across the street and over the other one. I’d have to walk through it or go around the block to get home from the bus. Now it doesn’t flood any more.

“The infrastructure was old and needed to be replaced. We will benefit from no more flooded basements and roadside puddles. The Community Liaison Denise Harris is to be commended for a job well done. She kept me informed about the progress of the project,” said another resident, Ms. Laurel Lennon Harney.

To address the concerns of the community during construction, DDC has a full-time Community Construction Liaison assigned to the project. Denise Harris keeps the neighborhood apprised of construction progress, and coordinates street closures with local residents and businesses, working on-site and directly accessible to the public at 917-510-6711 or by email at lucasstreetccl@gmail.com.

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction

The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $13 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/ddc

About the NYC Department of Environmental Protection

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high quality drinking water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.5 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $18.9 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year.