WOODROW — The city will start work on a $48 million expansion to the Bluebelt system on Staten Island later this spring in a bid to help reduce street flooding.
The Department of Environmental Protection will create a new wetland on a piece of city-owned property on Sheldon Avenue. The work will include planting hundreds of trees, shrubs, plants and wildflowers, the DEP announced on Monday.
The project will also add more than three miles of sewers and catch basins, replace water mains and allow nearly 600 homes to tap into the city's sewage system in hopes of curbing roadway flooding in the neighborhood and draining stormwater to wetlands to be naturally filtered, officials said.
"The Bluebelt system has shown that stormwater can be managed quite effectively by enhancing Staten Island’s existing streams, ponds and marshes,” said Department of Design and Construction Deputy Commissioner Eric MacFarlane.
“This expansion of the Bluebelt will create a natural wetland to slow down, retain and release stormwater into the ground, rather than sending it into the sewer system. In addition, this project will ensure that nearly 600 homeowners no longer have to deal with the constant hassle of maintaining septic tanks."
The project aims to help curb roadway flooding in Woodrow that occurs after rainfall because of the lack of catch basins and storm sewers in the neighborhood, the DEP said. Stormwater from the streets will flow into the Bluebelt wetland, which will hold and filter the water before its drained into the Arthur Kill.
Work on the upgrades will start later in the spring and the city plans to finish construction by 2017.