August 27, 2021
The New York City Departments of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Design and Construction (DDC) today announced that construction has been completed on three Bluebelt projects on the South Shore of Staten Island. This infrastructure investment of $135 million has upgraded the drainage systems in the neighborhoods of Tottenville, Eltingville and Great Kills. The projects included the addition of new catch basins and storm sewers to improve roadway drainage and wetlands to naturally filter the stormwater. In addition, new water mains and fire hydrants were added along with new sanitary sewers, which allows hundreds of homes to connect to the City sewer system and discontinue the use of septic tanks. DEP provided the funding for the projects and DDC managed the construction.
Over the last 25 years DEP has built more than 70 Bluebelts across Staten Island with additional sites currently in construction and design. The award-winning Bluebelt program preserves natural drainage corridors such as streams, creeks, and ponds, and optimizes them to help control and filter stormwater from surrounding neighborhoods. The Bluebelts also provide important open spaces and serve as a habitat for diverse wildlife.
“The Bluebelt program has been tremendously successful in managing stormwater and improving the quality of life across Staten Island,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “This Administration has made significant investments to expand the use of Bluebelts to additional neighborhoods and today we celebrate the completion of projects in Tottenville, Eltingville and Great Kills that will improve drainage, reduce the risk of flooding, protect open space and improve property values.”
“These three Bluebelt projects represent over $135 million invested in Staten Island’s infrastructure and extend an incredibly unique and innovative approach to stormwater management for the borough,” said DDC Deputy Commissioner for Infrastructure Eric Macfarlane. “We are pleased to have worked with DEP on dozens of projects throughout the last two decades to alleviate flooding and improve the quality of life for residents throughout the Island.”
“The Bluebelts on Staten Island are among the most successful common sense infrastructure projects in our borough’s history. The brilliant team at DEP developed the concept of engineering our existing stream corridors to redirect stormwater away from neighborhoods and into natural areas," said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo. “The result is help for residents in low-lying areas prone to flooding and the creation of ponds and wetlands that beautify our borough and increase property values. I applaud Mayor de Blasio, DEP and DDC for continuing to invest in and expand the Bluebelt program—particularly at a time of increasingly severe and damaging storm systems affecting our Island.”
“I’m happy to see DEP and DDC complete the construction of this critical Bluebelt project,” said Congresswoman Malliotakis. “The installation of these new Bluebelts will go a long way in preventing and protecting residents in the Great Kills, Tottenville, and Eltingville neighborhoods against stormwater flooding. The improved protection and drainage, as well as better habitat for local wildlife to grow and foster is a win all around.”
Council Member Joseph Borelli said, “I am pleased with the completion of these Bluebelt projects, which will provide important drainage improvements to the Tottenville, Eltingville and Great Kills neighborhoods. These projects will not only contribute to mitigating the risk of flooding and improving roadway drainage, but they will also provide substantial open spaces for diverse wildlife and improve property values. I’d like to thank DEP and DDC for their co-action and continued commitment to improving the quality of life for our community members across Staten Island.”
“My district was severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy and many of my constituents lost everything,” said Assembly Member Michael Tannousis. “Some even lost their lives. In addition to those coastal threats, I’m hopeful that these Bluebelt projects will help resolve the stormwater flooding that my constituents face on a consistent basis and will improve their overall quality of life.”
In Tottenville, a $53.8 million project transformed a swampy marshland filled with debris and Phragmites into the beautiful 4.4-acre Mill Creek Bluebelt. Two stone-faced outfalls, one at the end of Murray Street and the other along Amboy Road, will direct stormwater from the upgraded drainage network into the newly built holding ponds. The Bluebelt will hold and naturally filter the stormwater before it eventually drains into the Arthur Kill. Bounded by Amboy Road on the south, the Staten Island Railway on the north, Murray Street on the west and Pan Street on the east, a gravel walkway meanders through the Bluebelt, which was planted with 240 shrubs, and 12,200 native wildflowers and plants.
As part of the project, more than 8,200 linear feet of new storm sewers and 90 new catch basins were installed. In addition, more than 11,600 linear feet of new sanitary sewers allowed 210 homes to connect to the City’s sewer system and discontinue the use of septic tanks.
To improve the drinking water distribution system, more than 12,400 linear feet of new water mains made from concrete-lined ductile iron, which is more resilient and less prone to breakage, were added to replace older cast iron pipes. A micro-tunnel boring machine was utilized to excavate a passage beneath the Richmond Valley stop of the Staten Island Railway station for sewer and water lines without disrupting train service. Fire protection was enhanced with the installation of 43 new fire hydrants and replacement of 28 old fire hydrants. Roadways, sidewalks and curbs were rebuilt and portions of Page Avenue and Amboy Road were widened and turning lanes were added to improve safety and improve the flow of traffic. Throughout the project area, 118 new trees were planted.
In Great Kills, the City invested $46 million to improve drainage and rehabilitate Jack’s Pond, which included the substantial removal of accumulated pond sediment to re-establish historic elevations, grading, and pond depth to increase the storage capacity of the Pond. In order to naturally treat the water and reduce algae blooms, thousands of native wetland plants were added and a solar powered aerator was installed in the pond. The plants absorb the algae while the solar powered aerator oxygenates the water via three underwater diffusers. New upland vegetation was also planted and native fish, including hundreds of largemouth bass and bluegill sunfish and thousands of fathead minnows, were stocked in the restored pond.
The existing pathway around the pond’s southern perimeter was re-established and stabilized at 4-feet wide, with approximately 480 feet of trail connecting the weir chamber at Ramble Road to Hillside Terrace through a wooded area. Six stone-faced headwalls were constructed throughout the 50-acre watershed at Clovis Road, Hillside Terrace, Cleveland Avenue and La Fontaine Place to connect the pond to the nearby streams and newly installed storm sewers.
The installation of 6,464 linear feet of new storm sewers and 74 catch basins, as well as the replacement of four existing catch basins, have helped better manage the precipitation that falls in the area and reduce localized flooding. In addition, 9,900 linear feet of newly installed sanitary sewers allowed 51 homes to connect to the City’s sewer system and discontinue the use of septic tanks. While the roadways were open to add the new sewers, the City also upgraded the water supply delivery system by replacing the old cast iron water mains with 11,680 linear feet of new ductile iron mains. Roadways. Curbs and sidewalks were reconstructed, 42 new fire hydrants were installed and 29 existing hydrants that were replaced.
Finally, in neighboring Eltingville, the City undertook a $35.8 million project to upgrade the drainage and water delivery infrastructure. Three natural drainage systems were built in the vicinity of the Wood Duck Pond Bluebelt, reducing roadway flooding by collecting stormwater from surrounding roadways and directing it to this wetland where it is naturally filtered in order to protect the environment.
Construction included the installation of 6,600 linear feet of stormwater sewers and over 7,800 linear feet of sanitary sewers, the replacement of more than two miles of new water mains, and the addition of 114 new catch basins and 34 new fire hydrants. As part of the final street restoration, portions of the roadway were raised by up to three feet and more than 33,000 square yards of roadway was reconstructed, and more than 22,000 linear feet of sidewalks were reconstructed. New plantings, including in the vicinity of the new drainage wetlands, totaled more than 160 trees and 420 shrubs.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water each day to nearly 10 million residents, including 8.8 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. DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $20.1 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $14 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/ddc.