EAST ELMHURST — The noxious smell from Flushing Bay will be pumped out thanks to a multi-million dollar project to dredge it of the sludge that's accumulated at its bottom for years, officials said.
The Department of Environmental Protection will begin dredging sediment from the bottom of Flushing Bay in 2016, according to a city official, at a cost of $47 million.
Sediment has formed over years due to Combined Sewer Overflow, or CSO, from nearby roads and highways.
It hasn't helped that a runway at nearby LaGuardia Airport partially blocks the water from "flushing," according to DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd, who testified about the funded project at a May city council hearing.
Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, who lead the testimony as the Council's finance chair, told Lloyd the smells are compared to rotten eggs and has plagued her district for years.
"I want you to correct it for the people that are there now and have endured it for many years," she said.
The project, scheduled to be completed in 2019, will remove most of the gunk at the bottom and make a "significant" difference, Lloyd said.
"When we clean this up it should last for a very long time," she said.
In previous years, the CSOs flowed into the bay without any protection, but now the DEP catches roughly 80 percent of the discharge, Lloyd said.
Mounds of the smelly sediment will be dug up from 16.8 acres of Flushing Bay, and will go as deep as 4 feet.
The dredging will also include wetland restoration.
“Having the Flushing Bay cleared of its horrible odor is a huge relief — it’s going to improve the quality of life for residents of East Elmhurst, the surrounding neighborhoods and anyone who flies out of LaGuardia Airport," Ferreras-Copeland said in a statement.