Feb. 3, 2016 By Michael Florio
The city will spend $33 million on sewer upgrades to reduce pollution in Bowery Bay and Flushing Bay.
The Department of Environmental Protection announced the sewage upgrade yesterday, which they say will prevent 225 million gallons of pollution from being discharged into Bowery Bay and Flushing Bay each year.
Astorians have long complained about the sewage odor around Bowery Bay, located just west of LaGuardia Airport.
“The smell around Bowery Bay can be intolerable at times,” Councilman Costa Constantinides said at last night’s Astoria Park Alliance meeting. “My son calls Bowery Bay ‘rotten egg river.’”
“There are times you don’t want to be outside in northern Astoria during low-tide,” he added.
According to Constantinides, the DEP is already in the process of capping sludge tanks around the Bowery Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant, which he said will provide some immediate relief from the odor.
“It will get better this year, and with the long-term plan going into effect it should soon be fixed,” he said.
The DEP will upgrade five key sewer system components located within the 15,000-acre Bowery Bay drainage area, between LaGuardia Airport and Horace Harding Expressway. The project also consists of raising and lengthening weirs, which direct wastewater to the Bowery Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant.
DEP expects the work to be completed in the summer of 2018.
“[This project will] optimize the capacity of the existing sewer system and significantly reduce the overflow of pollution,” DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd said.
The five components stated for upgrades are located at the LaGuardia Airport Maintenance Yard, Ditmars Boulevard and 100th Street, Ditmars Boulevard and 31st Drive, 108th Street and 43rd Avenue and 108th Street and Horace Harding Expressway. Construction is expected to start this spring.
“We are also building hundreds of curbside gardens throughout the area to collect storm water from the streets and further relieve pressure on the sewers,” Lloyd said. “In combination, we expect these projects will significantly improve the health of our local waterways.”