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May 19, 2014

CONTACT:, (718) 595-6600

City Set to Begin $22 Million Sewer and Water Main Upgrade in Far Rockaway

The Addition of Catch Basins and High Volume Storm Sewers Will Help to Reduce Street Flooding

A Map of the Work Area and Photos of Similar Projects are Posted on DEP’s Flickr Page

New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd and Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora today announced that a $22.5 million upgrade to the sewer and water delivery systems in Far Rockaway will begin this summer.  Currently, few streets in the project area are equipped with catch basins or storm sewers and those that do exist cannot adequately drain precipitation from the roadways, which can result in flooding during heavy rain storms.  The infrastructure upgrade will add nearly a mile of storm sewers, install 79 catch basins, and replace more than a mile of existing sanitary sewers.  To properly manage the volume of stormwater entering the drainage system, the project will include the installation of side-by-side 9-foot by 4-foot, or barrel, stormwater sewers.  Sanitary sewers are generally a foot in diameter.  While the roadway is opened to upgrade the sewer systems, the City will also replace more than a mile of distribution water mains, which range in size from eight to 12 inches.  The project, which is expected to be completed in the summer of 2016, is being funded by DEP and will be managed by DDC.

“This $22 million investment in Far Rockaway will help to reduce flooding, improve the quality of life for local residents and ensure that this critical infrastructure remains in a state of good repair for decades to come,” said DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd.  “We are committed to building out and upgrading the City’s sewer and water infrastructure and over the next 10 years we are planning for more than $700 million worth of similar projects throughout Queens.”

“Many of the streets in this neighborhood were privately built, and either have inadequate drainage or no storm sewers at all.  This project should bring significant relief to homeowners who have been coping with persistent flooding, and will make Far Rockaway’s streets more resilient to adverse weather.  We are proud to work with our partners at DEP to bring these much-needed infrastructure improvements to the neighborhood,” said DDC Commissioner Dr. Feniosky Peña-Mora.

“I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio and his administration for undertaking this ambitious and much-needed project,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “Flooding in Far Rockaway has long been a very serious issue and the lack of proper drainage infrastructure has often put residents and business owners in dangerous situations. This upgrade will address one of our borough’s most pressing concerns. I am grateful for the collaborative effort that commissioners Lloyd and Peña-Mora have put forward on this project.”

"The Rockaway peninsula has experienced serious problems with overworked sewer systems,” stated U.S. Representative Gregory W. Meeks.  “Super Storm Sandy caused havoc on our infrastructure. With heavy rains, our sewer system becomes backed up and the resulting overflow can pour into our streets and into our basements. I would like to applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner Emily Lloyd on their commitment to upgrading the sewer and water infrastructure in the Rockaways and Southeast Queens. This is an important step in providing real relief for many of my hard-working constituents. "

“I am excited to partner with DDC and DEP to alleviate the incessant flooding in this neighborhood,” said the Chairman of the City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection Donovan Richards. “This $22 million sewer and water main upgrade means residents will no longer spend days marooned by dirty water after it rains. This is just one of the many projects slated for our district, and I am proud to continue our partnership as we make New York City more resilient.”

Building out the sewer and stormwater infrastructure in southeast Queens is one of the operational goals outlined in Strategy 2011-2014, a far-reaching strategic plan that lays out 100 distinct initiatives to make DEP the safest, most efficient, cost-effective, and transparent water utility in the nation.

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 8.4 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with nearly $14 billion in investments planned over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year.  This capital program is responsible for critical projects like City Water Tunnel No. 3; the Staten Island Bluebelt program, an ecologically sound and cost-effective stormwater management system; the city’s Watershed Protection Program, which protects sensitive lands upstate near the city’s reservoirs in order to maintain their high water quality; and the installation of more than 820,000 Automated Meter Reading devices, which will allow customers to track their daily water use, more easily manage their accounts and be alerted to potential leaks on their properties. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter at

DDC manages the design and construction of the public buildings and infrastructure used by millions of New Yorkers each day.  DDC provides communities with new or renovated firehouses, libraries, police precincts, courthouses, senior centers, and more.  In addition, DDC delivers well-built roadway, sewer, and water main infrastructure in all five boroughs.   To manage this nearly $10 billion portfolio, we partner with other City agencies and with world-leading architects and consultants, who bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-sustainable design and construction strategies to City projects.  For more information, please visit

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