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Malfunction at Sewer Plant Cause of Queens Flooding Last Month, DEP Says

By Katie Honan | May 17, 2014 1:05pm | Updated on May 19, 2014 8:38am
 DEP employees pumping out water on a residential street in Lindenwood on May 1. 
DEP employees pumping out water on a residential street in Lindenwood on May 1. 
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

LINDENWOOD — Flooding after heavy rainfall in April — which some residents said was "worse than Sandy" — was caused by a malfunction in a nearby sewer facility that had been recently upgraded, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.

Homes in Lindenwood, which borders the Spring Creek and Ralph Creek on the Brooklyn/Queens border, became flooded on April 30 after a rainstorm dumped more than five inches on New York City.

Many homeowners blamed their sewer system, and said their homes flooded more during the rainstorm than during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

The DEP on Friday said the Spring Creek Combined Overflow Retention Facility, which works during periods of excessive rain, "did not function as intended," which caused the flooding.

A newly upgraded electronic sensor that's meant to determine when the overflow water should be released into Jamaica Bay malfunctioned, the DEP said.

Instead of stormwater and wasterwater being pumped into the bay, it backed up into homes in Lindenwood and New Lots, Brooklyn.

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder said he applauds the DEP for "stepping up to the plate and admitting their mistakes."

But he echoed many homeowners who have pleaded for an upgrade to their infrastructure.

"It's unfortunate that it took another major storm to demonstrate the need for stronger sewer infrastructure," he said.

After the storm, DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd said there wasn't a long-term plan in place to improve drainage in the area.

"Throughout the area, while there were a few houses that had problems, they haven't been widespread through the area over recent years," she said.

Homeowners who seek reimbursement for damages can fill out a form with the Comptroller's Office up to 90 days after the storm.