After pointing fingers elsewhere for more than 4 months, the Department of City Planning finally admitted that the flooding experienced in Maspeth, Middle Village and throughout Queens this past summer was their own fault. On November 27th, a town hall meeting was held in Woodside and was attended by DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd.
During the meeting, the Daily News reported that Lloyd admitted culpability for defunct pumping stations, missing waterfront mechanisms and shoddy planning of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway that residents have blamed over the years. For example, the sewage pipes in the area, designed to handle 1 to 1-1/2 inches of rainfall per hour, were built in the 1920s, when vast open spaces that no longer exist soaked up the rain. The pipes are due for expansion. And rumors that two tidal gates were inexplicably removed from Bowery Bay – where the city will soon be installing new gates – turned out to be true.
We applaud the DEP for finally taking responsibility for the flooding problems in our area. But what took them so long? We can't help but notice that the timing of their announcement came only after filing deadlines for federal and city damage claims had passed.
From the NY Daily News November 29th, 2007:
Four major improvements – some physical, others fiscal – are underway in an effort to keep parts of Maspeth, Middle Village, Woodside and Elmhurst that were hardest hit by the storms from being inundated again.
• Tidal gates: Mechanisms called "duck bills" will help let water out during low tide, and hold the bay back during high tide. Slated completion date: Midsummer 2008. Estimated cost: "Relatively cheap," said Lloyd, if permits aren't needed.
• Renovation of Calamus Ave. and 69th St: The city will expand and renovate the pipes, which are inefficient and cause bottle-necking, which was discovered after the floods. Slated completion: 2011. Estimated cost: $8million to $10 million for renovation.
• Expanding pipelines: A costly second line of sewer will alleviate backup problems in the overextended area. Calamus Ave: 20 million; 48th Ave.: Slated completion date: 2012. Estimated cost: $2 million.
• Pumping station overhaul: A pumping station at the BQE and 48th Ave. helps cut down the overflow; DEP will install smaller, intermittent pumps to boost efficiency. Slated completion: Unknown. Estimated cost: Unknown.