A recent special cleaning of the large sewers in Northeast Queens completed is expected to reduce combined sewer overflows by up to 45 million gallons a year into Flushing and Little Neck bays.
That means when the area gets a heavy rainstorm there will be less chance of wastewater and rain runoff going into surrounding waterways. Clean sewers will increase the amount of flow to the Tallman Island Wastewater Treatment Plant in College Point.
The city Department of Environmental Protection announced last week that it cleaned 40,000 feet of large sewers called interceptors and removed about 2,200 cubic yards of debris weighing 3,400 tons.
“This cost-effective and efficient solution to one of the city’s longest-standing water quality challenges will maximize the value of existing infrastructure, without having to pay for costly new capital projects,” said DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland.
The Tallman Island sewer system includes three interceptors — College Point, Whitestone and Flushing/Main — that cover 14 miles. The cleanup took three months to complete. The Northeast Queens drainage area conveys about 65 million gallons a day to Tallman Island.
To locate debris and sediments that accumulated over the years, the DEP used sonar and closed-circuit television to survey the sewers. The material was removed by powerful vacuum systems in trucks that sucked out the debris and sediment.
When the trucks were filled, the debris was transported to the Wards Island Wastewater Treatment Plant in Manhattan and placed in containers for transport to a landfill.
In addition, the Flushing Bay watershed is one of the targeted areas in the city that will receive new green infrastructure that uses vegetation and other elements to absorb and evaporate water. The DEP recently released a RFP for design plans valued at $8 million for the Flushing Bay area.