2016-03-09 / Features

Water Overflow A Concern As Boro Infrastructure Grows

BY RICHARD GENTILVISO

In New York’s East of Hudson Watershed, storm waters flow over surfaces impervious to water such as rooftops, streets and sidewalks covering about 72 percent of the city’s 305 square miles of surface area.

Flowing into roof drains or street catch basins and into sewers, the runoff generates a significant amount of storm water that can pose a significant threat to the environment by washing pollutants directly into our waters through the municipal sewer system.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) made a recent presentation to Borough President Melinda Katz on the city’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System, or MS4, at a meeting of the Queens Borough Cabinet.

According to the Director of Stormwater Outreach for DEP Mikelle Adgate the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) occurs when higher than normal amounts of storm water flow into sewers, especially during heavy rain and snowstorms, causing backups and discharges of untreated wastewater directly into the city’s waters.

On August 1, 2015, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued a new comprehensive MS4 permit for New York City with requirements to significantly expand the city’s obligations to reduce pollutants discharging to the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4).

Adgate said DEP is preparing a Storm Water Management Plan (SWMP) to reduce the pollution entering water through the MS4 that will be submitted to DEC for approval by August 2018.

Components of the plan include: Public Education, Outreach, Involvement and Participation; Mapping; Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination; Construction Site Storm Water Runoff and Control; Post- Construction Storm Water Management; Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping for Municipal Operations; Industrial Storm Water Sources; Control of Floatable and Settled Trash and Debris; Monitoring and Assessment of Controls and Impaired Waters.

On February 22, representatives of a new construction at Hallets Point Building 1 held a public information meeting at the Astoria World Manor for an application to obtain a State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit that is required for wastewater discharges directly into a body of water or into the ground. The SPDES permit at Hallets Point Building 1 is for water treatment and discharges resulting from dewatering activities that are part of the excavation and construction of the project, a mixed-use development with two residential towers, including at least 20 percent low-income units, at 1-02 26th Ave. in Astoria.

Hallets Point is a scheduled 2.4 million sq. ft. residential and retail project with about 2,400 housing units, 483 affordable, in seven buildings and a supermarket, retail, waterfront esplanade, parks and playgrounds, according to www.hallettspoint.com/#overview-development.

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