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February 06, 2014

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City Installs More Than Six Miles of New Water Mains in Elmhurst, Fresh Meadows, and Rego Park Queens

$15 Million Infrastructure Project Improves Water Pressure and Reliability of Delivery System

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Carter Strickland and Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Deputy Commissioner Eric Macfarlane today announced the completion of a $15 million drinking water infrastructure upgrade in the Elmhurst, Fresh Meadows, and Rego Park neighborhoods of Queens.  The work began in 2012 and included the installation of more than six miles of new distribution water mains.  The existing unlined cast iron mains were installed between 1930 and 1948 and the new ductile iron mains will serve residents and businesses throughout these neighborhoods.  As part of the project, 8 and 12 inch diameter mains along Queens Boulevard were replaced with 20 inch diameter mains to ensure adequate water pressure for firefighting and supply for the growing neighborhoods.  The reconstruction project was funded by DEP and managed by DDC.

“By investing in our infrastructure we are ensuring the public has access to a reliable supply of healthy drinking water, that our firefighters have the water pressure they need to fight fires, and that there is adequate supply to allow for the continued growth of neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs,” said DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland.  “The hundreds of millions of dollars we invest each year to retire aging water mains and replace them with new, stronger pipes is one of the reasons DEP is consistently one of the most dependable utilities in the nation.”

“The new water mains - more than 6 miles in all- will give residents of Elmhurst, Fresh Meadows, and Rego Park improved water service for decades to come.  We strongly support DEP’s infrastructure renewal program by providing cost-effective engineering, design, and construction management for water main upgrades in Queens and throughout our City,” said DDC Deputy Commissioner Eric Macfarlane.  

“This is a significant and needed modernization of aging infrastructure that represents an important investment in the public health and safety of our community,” said State Senator Jose Peralta.  “I thank DEP and DDC on behalf of all of us who will benefit from the completion of this work.”

“Central Queens contains several of the fastest-growing residential communities in the City of New York.  These improvements will be a benefit to these communities by increasing water quality.  Public safety will be enhanced because of the increased water pressure needed by fire fighters in case of emergencies,” said State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, whose district includes many of the affected areas.  “Rego Park, Fresh Meadows, and Elmhurst are wonderful places to live, and now they will have a higher quality of life thanks to this investment. I appreciate the work the DEP has done on behalf of the people of Queens.”

“Investing in water main improvement is a win-win,” Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Queens) said. “It not only ensures that our residents have access to healthy drinking water, it also provides gainful employment for New Yorkers who fix our area’s critical infrastructure.”

“I am very happy to see this project completed, it will have a positive impact in my community,” said Council Member Karen Koslowitz.  “Improving the quality of our water supply and ensuring that the Fire Department has the proper water pressure to do their job is vital to our growing neighborhoods.  I hope this is just the beginning and the infrastructure throughout the borough of Queens is enhanced.”

"I commend the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Design and Construction for replacing six miles of water mains in Queens, including in the Elmhurst part of my district," said Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst). "I'm glad these 80 year-old pipes are being replaced now before they break and flood the streets. Keeping our infrastructure strong is vital to keeping our city running."

New York City’s high quality drinking water is collected in protected upstate reservoirs and brought to the borough of Queens by City Water Tunnel No. 2, which begins at Hillview Reservoir in Yonkers and travels southeast through the Bronx, crosses under the upper East River, and then travels southwest through Queens and Brooklyn.  Four shafts located in Queens bring the water hundreds of feet up from City Water Tunnel No. 2 to the distribution system where it enters trunk mains that range in size from 30 to 72 inches in diameter.  Trunk mains feed the local water mains that range in size from 6 to 20 inches and run down every street in the City.  The new water mains will improve the pressure and quality of the water while also providing a critical redundancy to the distribution system that will help to minimize disruption to consumers during future maintenance work.  The project also included the restoration of 13,200 square feet of concrete sidewalk and 6,000 square yards of asphalt roadway, as well as the installation of 85 fire hydrants and 100 water main valves.

Over the last 10 years DEP has invested more than $1.7 billion to upgrade water mains city-wide, with more than $400 million dedicated to improving the distribution system in Queens.  Over the next 10 years DEP has budgeted similar amounts to ensure that the drinking water delivery system remains in a state of good repair.

The new water mains were installed at the following locations: Queens Boulevard from Simoson Street to 63rd Road; 188th Street from Union Turnpike to Avon Road; Midland Parkway from 188th Street to Croydon Road; Union Turnpike from 188th Street to 189th Street; Kent Street from Union Turnpike to Grand Central Parkway; Grand Central Parkway from 188th Street to Aberdeen Road; Midland Parkway from Grand Central to Croydon Road; Chevy Chase Road from Aberdeen Road to Grand Central; Avon Road from Kent Street to Grand Central; and Radnor Road from Kent Street to Grand Central.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.3 million in New York City, and residents of Ulster, Orange, Putnam, and Westchester counties. This water comes from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and the system comprises 19 reservoirs, three controlled lakes, and numerous tunnels and aqueducts. DEP employs nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 scientists, engineers, surveyors, watershed maintainers and others professionals in the upstate watershed. In addition to its $68 million payroll and $157 million in annual taxes paid in upstate counties, DEP has invested more than $1.5 billion in watershed protection programs—including partnership organizations such as the Catskill Watershed Corporation and the Watershed Agricultural Council—that support sustainable farming practices, environmentally sensitive economic development, and local economic opportunity. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program with over $14 billion in investments planned over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter at

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