The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Department of Design and Construction (DDC) say that work has started on the $39-million Phase II of the New Creek Bluebelt on Staten Island.
Located in the Dongan Hills and Grant City neighborhoods, where roadway flooding often occurs during heavy rainstorms, the project includes two, of what will eventually be 19, Bluebelt wetlands that will receive and naturally filter the stormwater that falls in the area.
The work will also include the construction of more than three miles of new sewers and nearly two miles of water mains, as well as the addition of more than 80 catch basins and 35 fire hydrants.
The project is being jointly-funded by the DEP and an $11 million U.S. Department of Agriculture grant, which was secured by Senator Charles Schumer.
The DDC is managing the construction, which is anticipated to be completed in 2021. The $25 million Phase I was completed in 2018.
The Bluebelt program preserves natural drainage corridors such as streams and ponds and optimizes them to help control and filter stormwater. During the Phase II of the New Creek Bluebelt project, two new wetlands will be built at Last Chance Pond Park, which is owned by both the DEP and the NYC Parks. Stormwater collected from surrounding roadways will be directed to this enhanced waterway, or Bluebelt wetland, which will allow the water to be naturally filtered to protect the health of New Creek and New York Harbor.
Construction will include a new 8.8-acre freshwater wetland between Zoe Street and Husson St., and another 0.1-acre freshwater wetland between Husson St. and Hylan Boulevard. These wetlands will slow the stormwater down after it empties from the sewer system and detain it, allowing it to be naturally filtered. The water will then flow over a weir to be built on the upstream side of New Creek at Hylan Boulevard.
In a later capital project, the culvert that conveys the Creek under Hylan Boulevard will be replaced and more wetlands created on the downstream side of Hylan Boulevard. Eventually, the system connects to stormwater flow from the recently completed Phase I of the Bluebelt south of Olympia Boulevard near Slater Boulevard, and then empties into lower New York Harbor.
Prior to the project, much of this property was covered with Phragmites australis, or common reed grass, which is prone to brush fires. The work will include the installation of more than 61,000 herbaceous plants, including wildflowers, 295 woody shrubs and 342 trees.
The project also includes the construction of approximately 8,500 linear feet of stormwater sewers and 9,200 linear feet of sanitary sewers along portions of Husson St.., Hamden Ave., Hunter Ave., Bowden St., Cascade St., Adams Ave.,, Hull Ave., Jefferson Ave., Stobe Ave., South Railroad, Zoe St., Seaver Ave., Naughton Ave., Dongan Hills Ave., Vera St. and Joyce St.
While the roadway is open to install the sewers, almost 10,000 linear feet of new water mains will also be built to replace the older cast iron pipes. This will improve water distribution in the area while the 35 new hydrants slated to be installed will ensure firefighters have ready access to the City’s water supply. Construction will also include 84 catch basins and nine stormwater chambers to create additional capacity in the neighborhood’s drainage system.
DDC is the city’s primary capital construction project manager.