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Queens Chronicle

End of construction, some floods in sight

Sewer, water project in Springfield Gardens is entering its next stage

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Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:15 am, Thu Nov 21, 2013.

A $69 million sewer project aimed largely at alleviating flooding in Springfield Gardens is progressing nicely, according to a guest speaker at last Thursday’s meeting of the Springfield/Rosedale Community Action Association.

The finished project will range from Springfield Park east along 147th Avenue to 225th Street; and north to south on sections of six streets between 145th Road and 149th Avenue.

The finished result will include 2.8 miles of new sanitary and storm sewer lines, three miles of new water mains and more than 80 catch basins.

The project also includes the dredging of Brookville Pond, which residents have been seeking almost as long as flooding relief.

And while many of the streets involved have been dug up, lack pavement and are covered either with dirt, mud or metal plates, Howard Harrington of construction management firm HDC/Architecture and Engineering said things will be looking and feeling better soon.

“We’ll be repaving the roads and putting in new curbs and sidewalks in our work area,” he said, speaking before the audience at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Brookville.

It is all part of an overall $175 million water and sewer upgrade in the area that is expected to be completed next year.

The storm sewers and catch basins are considered keys to alleviating much of the flooding that happens in even routine rain-storms. They will collect runoff and channel it to nearby wetlands, where it will be naturally filtered.

Harrington said one of the more complicated aspects of the current phase is the elevation of 224th Street by between 3 and 4 feet along the existing road south of 147th Avenue and through a new extension that will connect it to 149th.

He said new concrete walls will have to be added to raised lawns that will be created on the east side of 224th to keep the higher roadway from flooding them still more.

Harrington said some homeowners still will have to contend with flooding from groundwater during events such as storms, full moons and high tides.

“This area has a very high water table,” he said. “That is the one thing we can’t protect from.”

Harrington also said Thursday that workers had completed dredging operations in Brookville Park Pond that afternoon, and had begun removing equipment.

“It went from an average depth of 2 to 3 feet to a uniform 7 feet,” he said. “The fish like it. The fowl like it. And in a couple of months, after we have finished planting and landscaping it, hopefully you will be able to appreciate what we’ve done.”

Prior to Harrington’s presentation, Bruno Iciano, the community liaison from the Department of Sanitation, said the residents and business owners themselves are the most potent weapon the DOS has in combating things like the illegal dumping that has plagued many neighborhoods in Southeast Queens.

“When you call 311, there is a report generated,” Iciano said. “Those reports give the commissioner a visual map of where the problems are. If he sees problems in one area he can flood it with resources.”

Iciano said people witnessing illegal dumping can help the department greatly by making note of the day and time of any incidents, as well as getting, if possible, the license number or description of any vehicle that might be involved.

“Just don’t confront them,” he said. “If they are already breaking the law, you don’t know what they might do, and you don’t need that.”

He also said that in some cases, people who notify the DOS of dumping can receive a percentage of any related fines as a reward.

“And your complaint can be anonymous,” he said. “If our enforcement agents catch someone, they will know there was a complaint, but they won’t know who made it.”

He added, however, that Sanitation’s enforcement division is not the NYPD.

“We don’t have a police department,” Iciano said. “We have an enforcement division within our department.”

He also said that in many cases, enforcement agents must witness an incident in order to issue a summons.

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