NYC Sewer Upgrades to Protect Ecologically-Sensitive Waters

November 17, 2014 Updated: November 17, 2014

Residents of the flood-prone Laurelton section of Jamaica, in Southeastern Queens received good news today. 

Another $18 million has been pledged by the city’s Department of Environmental Protection to upgrade area sewers, adding capacity to a system that has long been the cause of repeated flooding and property damage in the low-lying region. 

A single pipe that carries both wastewater and storm water from homes and businesses currently serves the middle-class community, known for its streets lined with Tudor homes, co-ops, converted garden apartment complexes, and lack of high-rise buildings. 

Its streets will soon be equipped with an added 142 catch basins that will allow rainwater to drain from roadways before it enters the basements of homes and businesses, and overflows into the ecologically sensitive Jamaica Bay. 

“The persistent flooding in Laurelton has had a significant negative impact on the neighborhood’s quality of life for far too long,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz in a Monday press release.

A map showing the location of the Laurelton, Queens neighborhood sewer and water main upgrades in New York. (Courtesy of NYC Environmental Protection)

The new basins, or storm sewers, will collect the rain and melted snow and then hold the water, allowing the sediment to settle before it is released into the environment. The new method will also prevent the overflow from ever reaching the wastewater treatment plant, saving the city the cost of treating the rainwater. 

Close to 4 miles of iron water mains will also be added to the neighborhood’s water system, increasing water quality and water pressure.