BY ANGELA MATUA
The intersection of Utopia Parkway and 65th Avenue in Fresh Meadows should no longer be plagued by flooding every time it rains.
Councilman Rory Lancman and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced Friday that several measures have been installed to mitigate flooding that has inundated residents for years.
The area has experienced severe floods since 1975 and residents have had to pump out their basements and repair flooded cars, spending thousands of dollars in the process.
The manhole cover in the area, which would have several feet of water shooting out of it when it rained, has been sealed and duckbill check valves have been installed in the catch basins. Duckbill check valves, which get their names from the shape they resemble, prevent back flow in the sewers.
“After years of dangerous road conditions and flooded basements, the Fresh Meadows community will now get some relief,” Lancman said. “These improvements will help limit future flooding on Utopia Parkway, where a veritable lake is formed during heavy storms and basements are inundated with dirty rainwater.”
Eric Landau, associate commissioner of public affairs for the DEP, said the rainfall early this week proved that these measures work.
“These improvements represent a great collaboration between DEP engineers and members of the community,” Landau said. “And this week’s heavy rains demonstrated that the infrastructure upgrades DEP recently completed worked and helped prevent flooding.”
According to Nadia Chait, communications director for Lancman’s office, the city has acknowledged that the infrastructure is overloaded and is working on a $6 billion multi-year effort to mitigate flooding in all of southeast Queens.
“That’s obviously a very large project, which is why we’re excited about what we’ve done today and [this project is] something that’s going to have an immediate impact for these homeowners,” she said.
DEP officials indicated this project will reduce flooding in the area by 65 percent.