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Queens Sewers Getting $33M Upgrade to Stop Overflow Into Nearby Bays

By Katie Honan | February 2, 2016 4:22pm
 The sewer junction points will stop flow of wastewater into nearby bays, officials said. 
The sewer junction points will stop flow of wastewater into nearby bays, officials said. 
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

EAST ELMHURST — The city will begin a $33 million sewer upgrade this spring that will limit millions of gallons of pollution currently discharging into Flushing Bay and Bowery Bay, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.

The construction will be centered at five sites within the sewer system between LaGuardia Airport and the Horace Harding Expressway, officials said, and should be completed by 2018.

Combined with new curbside gardens to collect stormwater, the construction is expected to "significantly improve the health of our local waterways," according to DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd.

Over the summer, the city announced it had devoted $47 million to clean up the familiar "rotten egg" smell from Flushing Bay, dredging deep to remove smelly sludge from 16.8 acres. 

The changes should help prevent wastewater from flooding nearby lakes and bays as it currently does when it rains heavily, the DEP said, in order to avoid backing up into homes. The money will allow crews to work on the "regulators" or junction points, and divert water to a waste treatment plant even if it's raining.

Construction is set to begin this spring at the LaGuardia Airport maintenance yard, Ditmars Boulevard and 100th Street, Ditmars Boulevard and 31st Drive, 108th Street and 43rd Avenue and 108th Street and the Horace Harding Expressway.

Work at 108th Street will be done overnight to avoid traffic complications, the DEP said. The impact on traffic and the local community was discussed in November at a Community Board 4 meeting.