Today, Council Member Elizabeth S. Crowley (CD-30, Queens) sent a letter to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) calling for the departments to investigate if the ongoing construction at the Cooper Avenue underpass led to the extreme flood in Glendale, Queens.
On Wednesday, August 15, several severe thunderstorms hit New York City. The sewer system in Glendale could not keep up with the torrential rain, flooding the streets and residents’ homes. At the Cooper Avenue underpass, between 74th Street and 79th Street, cars became fully submerged, requiring EMTs to rescue a driver and two passengers.
The Cooper Avenue underpass is undergoing extensive renovations, including the repairs of its outer walls and the installation of several new catch basins. Council Member Crowley said it is critical that the City determine if the construction project caused the pumping station in the location to fail.
“Significant areas of Glendale have dealt with flooding issues, which led to my office advocating for the successful installation of new catch basins in prone areas throughout Middle Village and Glendale,” said Council Member Crowley. “But in my four years in office, even after a hurricane and a microburst, our community has not witnessed this type of extensive flooding. We need to determine whether the construction at the underpass directly led to the failure of the pumping station and ensure that the City makes the necessary corrections to prevent future flooding in the future.”
Council Member Crowley also noted that following the flash floods in August of 2007, caused by a similar downpour, the DEP installed several catch basins in the area, but it has become clear that the current system is still unable to handle the water flow. The DEP must immediately begin investing in new sewage infrastructure so that Glendale residents don’t need to worry every time the forecast calls for rain, she said.
Full letter to Commissioners Carter Strickland and David Burney:
August 20, 2012
Commissioners Strickland and Burney:
On August 15th, 2012 several severe thunderstorms dumped heavy rain throughout Queens. While the volume of rain was significant throughout the borough, the flooding in Glendale was particularly egregious due to the inability of the Cooper Avenue pumping station and the surrounding system to handle the increased water flow. This led to significant flooding in residents’ homes from backed up sewer pipes.
Currently, the Department of Design and Construction is reconstructing the retaining wall and sidewalks, as well as installing new catch basins at the Cooper Avenue underpass where the pumping station is located, located between 74th Street and 79th Street. The City must conduct an immediate investigation to determine whether the construction impeded the ability of the pumping station to handle the high water levels. Once again residents in Glendale have faced significant flooding in their homes due to the inability of the City’s system to handle increased amounts of water.
The recent installation of catch basins in the area has helped alleviate some of the flooding experienced by local residents, but the apparent failure of the pumping station proves that more work needs to be done.
Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this important matter.
ELIZABETH S. CROWLEY
Council Member, District 30