NY completes $148M investment in infrastructure upgrades to reduce flooding

NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced the completion of the $148 million, three-phase program to reduce street flooding, ensure the reliability of the drinking water delivery system, improve the health of Fresh Creek and Jamaica Bay and make neighborhood roadways safer for all users.

DEP provided the funding for the project while the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) managed the construction.

The project that brings 6.5 miles of new storm sewers to Canarsie and East New York in Brooklyn features the installation of triple barrel siphon storm sewers to continue the flow of stormwater around NYCHA steam pipes. (photo: NYC Department of Design and Construction)

“No New Yorker should have to cross their fingers and hope their street or home doesn't flood when they see rain clouds,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “This $148 million investment in 15 miles of new sewers and water mains for Southern Brooklyn will reduce flooding, protect our drinking water, and improve quality of life. We know that environmental justice begins on the ground, and through projects like these we will build a safer and more resilient city for all New Yorkers.”

Crews install large “box” sewers to reduce flooding in the Canarsie and East New York neighborhoods of Brooklyn. (photo: NYC Department of Design and Construction)

The three-phase project includes sections throughout the Canarsie and East New York neighborhoods of Brooklyn. A total of 6.3 miles of high-level storm sewers were installed to alleviate flooding. To reduce combined sewer overflows into Fresh Creek, 0.2 miles of combined sewers were replaced and converted to sanitary sewers and an additional 0.16 miles of existing sanitary sewers were also replaced. To better capture stormwater and direct it to the new storm sewers, 176 catch basins were installed.

Alongside the new sewers, 8.3 miles of new ductile iron distribution water mains were built to replace the older cast iron pipes, ensuring a reliable supply of high-quality water for decades to come. Fire protection was enhanced with the installation of 128 fire hydrants to ensure that the FDNY has ready access to the City’s water supply. As part of the final restoration, all impacted roadways, sidewalks and curbs were reconstructed.

Crews cleared fill, debris, invasive species, and other ecological impairments to create nearly 30,000 square feet of restored wetlands in two wetland zones. (photo: NYC Department of Design and Construction)

In addition, the wetland in the Fresh Creek Basin Nature Preserve was restored. The saltmarsh cordgrass habitat was graded and expanded in accordance with a design that was developed with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation.

Fill, debris, invasive species and other ecological impairments were removed to create nearly 30,000 sq ft of restored wetlands in two wetland zones comprised of 21,200 sq ft of intertidal marsh and 8,000 sq ft of high marsh. Plantings to compliment the saltmarsh cordgrass include saltmeadow cordgrass, spikegrass, and black grass rush. Nearly 34,000 sq ft of coastal forest was created to enhance the overall ecology of the preserve.

Altogether, the three phases cover an approximately 419-acre drainage area and reduce combined sewer overflows into Fresh Creek, a tributary of Jamaica Bay. The increased collection of stormwater runoff reduces roadway and property flooding and separates out an estimated 50% of the stormwater flow from the combined sewers.

By reducing pressure on the existing combined sewer system, modeling shows that overflows into Fresh Creek will be reduced by approximately 189 million gallons annually. This project is part of an agreement between New York City and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation that aims to significantly improve the health of New York Harbor.

“This large program in Canarsie and East New York will greatly improve the quality of life for residents with reduced street flooding and improved water infrastructure reliability,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Thomas Foley. “All of the streets that were impacted throughout construction received new roadways, sidewalks and curbs to direct the stormwater to the new storm sewers and mitigates damage to property owners.”

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