Plan Announced To End 30 Years Of Flooded Basements
According to the lawmakers, the poor drainage in the vicinity of 24th Avenue and 87th Street has been exacerbated by rainfall and the recurring sewage flooding has flooded basements in about 120 homes.
At a press conference last Friday in front of 24-01 87th St., the home of one long-suffering victim, Ruth Turville, Crowley announced that the city Department of Environmental Protection had offered a short term solution and a longer term commitment to solving the problem.
Present when the DEP announced the plan were Borough President Helen Marshall and Assemblymember Ivan Lafayette (D–Jackson Heights).
The plan calls for DEP to custom-build a special duct valve costing more than $50,000 in the affected area along with several sewers at a cost of $500,000 per block.
In the long term, the DEP pledged to begin studying the installation of new tide gates at Bowery Bay, a multi-million dollar investment that, if made, would keep large amounts of bay water from entering the neighborhood’s sewer system, Crowley said.
The agreement on the work plan was announced April 8 at a meeting of community leaders hosted by Crowley and Sabini. Crowley credited Sabini (D–Jackson Heights), in whose district the problem existed, with taking the lead in working with the DEP and the Bureau of Water and Sewers operations agency to move quickly toward a solution.
Sabini explained that the homes in the affected area were constructed on what is essentially marshland decades ago by “developers who didn’t allow the city’s infrastructure to catch up with the development.”
Sabini stated, “When I learned about the chronic flooding problems this caused, I called DEP Water and Sewer Operations Deputy Commissioner Douglas Greeley right away. I’m delighted that Deputy Commissioner Greeley and his staff were able to not only engineer but also find the capital funding for a solution so quickly.”
Marshall, a resident of the community close to La Guardia Airport, said she knew of the problem first hand.
“Homeowners who take pride in their homes and streets have been subjected to long-term flooding in their basements that, in turn, has caused hardships, unbudgeted expenses and great anxiety. If you live here, flooding is a worry every time the sky darkens,” she said.—John Toscano