NYC DEP completes $128 million infrastructure projects to upgrade stormwater drainage

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New York Construction News staff writer

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has completed two major infrastructure projects, SE810 and SE811, in Whitestone, Queens, with a total investment of $128 million.

Projects significantly upgraded the stormwater drainage system in the neighborhood by installing nearly six miles of new storm sewers across more than 120 individual blocks, converting almost 13,000 feet of combined sewers into separate sanitary and stormwater systems. This transformation prevents 29 million gallons of pollution from being discharged into Flushing Bay annually.

Crews also enhanced water mains and local street conditions. The yellow area on the project map indicates the overlap of both projects.

“Residents and businesses in Whitestone had reported regular flooding for many years, but this $128 million investment in additional sewer lines has gone a long way to keeping basements dry and relieving some of that stress,” said NYC DEP Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala. “Importantly, these new sewers also prevent 29 million gallons of pollution from being discharged into Flushing Bay each year – a big win for our shared environment.

“I’d also like to thank Council Member Paladino for providing funding that has allowed us to purchase additional pole cameras that are used by our crews every day to inspect sewer conditions in Northern Queens.”

“These were very complicated infrastructure projects where crews worked around several schools, numerous bus routes, and utilities that all had to remain open and functional throughout the work,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley. “But the results speak for themselves. Several miles of Whitestone streets have been rebuilt with better drainage and better stormwater management, which will help manage the effects of climate change for local residents.

“I thank the DDC team for all their hard work on these extensive projects.”

The SE810 project, valued at $72 million, began in September 2018 and concluded in 2023, covering 70 blocks. The SE811 project, costing $56 million, started in August 2021 and was completed in December 2023, eight months ahead of schedule, impacting 54 blocks. Together, these projects installed 31,316 feet of new storm sewers and converted 12,092 feet of existing combined sewers to sanitary sewers. Also, 47,341 feet of old water mains were replaced, 213 catch basins were upgraded, 118 new catch basins installed, and fire protection was enhanced with 61 new fire hydrants.

To minimize construction impacts, micro tunneling was used along the Whitestone Service Road, and quieter helical piles replaced traditional timber piles. Council Member Vickie Paladino secured funding for high-resolution cameras and extendable poles, enhancing the DEP’s ability to inspect and maintain sewer systems efficiently.

“Communities like Flushing have experienced far too many damaging flood events in recent years, requiring us to move with the urgency of now to upgrade our aging infrastructure,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr.

These projects follow a previous $67.5 million initiative completed between June 2012 and December 2017, which also aimed at improving storm and sanitary sewers in the Whitestone area.

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