In a statement to the PRESS of Southeast Queens, the city’s Department of Design and Construction provided a further explanation as to what went wrong during a botched construction of a $5 million sewer project in Jamaica that was meant to mitigate stormwater flooding.
As reported in the Press on May 19 and May 25, the project—which was being built on 90th Avenue and 183rd Street—was funded through Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $1.7 billion allocation to fix Southeast Queens’ inability to handle excessive rainwater. But the project, which was nearing completion, will need to be rebuilt. Residents only found this out after April rainstorms flooded nearby homes.
“DDC completed the replacement of water mains and sanitary sewers in that area,” a DDC spokesperson said.
“Originally, the project was also going to install another storm sewer to accompany the 72-inch storm sewer already in place. However, upon excavation of the street, it was found that there was not enough space to install a second storm sewer between the existing one and nearby houses.”
Plans to fix the mistake are already in motion according to the DDC.
“It was decided to complete the water mains and sanitary sewer—about $2 million of work—and then create a new project to replace the 72-inch storm sewer with a 9.5-by-six-inch storm sewer, which has much greater capacity,” he said. “We plan to bid this new contract by September 2017.”
At Community Board 12’s May meeting, residents expressed outrage over the project, calling it a misuse of taxpayer money. The Press of Southeast Queens asked the DDC whether the money utilized from the mayor’s allocated funds would be compensated, but did not receive an answer to the query.