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City Begins $69M 'Green' Sewer Upgrade in Southern Queens

 The city is beginning work on an upgrade to Springfield Gardens' water and sewer infrastructure.
The city is beginning work on an upgrade to Springfield Gardens' water and sewer infrastructure.
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Department of Environmental Protection

QUEENS — The city is starting work on a $69 million upgrade to existing sewer and water infrastructure in Springfield Gardens that will incorporate green technologies, officials announced Tuesday.

The plan, the fourth phase of a $175 million upgrade to the neighborhood's sewer infrastructure, will help with what environmental protection officials call historical chronic flooding in the neighborhood, located just off Jamaica Bay.

“For years, heavy rain in Springfield Gardens meant flooded roads, damaged homes, and thousands of dollars in repairs for residents,” Councilman James Sanders, Jr. said in a statement.

The plan includes the installation of 84 catch basins, about 2.8 miles of sewer lines and about 3 miles of water mains by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Stormwater will flow from those sources into a new bluebelt — a wetland created to treat stormwater runoff — where it will be filtered and eventually wind up in Jamaica Bay.

“The installation of new storm sewer lines in Springfield Gardens will help alleviate localized flooding, protect the public health and promote economic growth,” DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland said in a statement. “Further, by capturing and naturally filtering the stormwater in marshes and wetlands we keep it out of the sewer system and continue the important work of restoring the health of Jamaica Bay.”

The project, to be managed by the city's Economic Development Corporation, will also include the use of new porous concrete in the Springfield Boulevard median, which the DEP said will allow stormwater to pass through and be absorbed into the ground.

Springfield Lake will also be upgraded, with the DEP removing sediment from the water and planting wetlands around its edges, they said.

The Department of Transportation also announced they would be working on low-lying streets in the neighborhood, rebuilding streets and sidewalks to help alleviate flooding.

Work on the area of Springfield Gardens from Rockaway Boulevard to Springfield Boulevard, south of the Belt Parkway has already been completed. The current phase, set to be finished in 2014, stretches from Springfield Boulevard east to 224th Street.