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Local News July 11, 2013  RSS feed

DEP Urged To Prep For Hurricanes

Call For Drain Cleaning In Qns.

With hurricane season underway, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder has urged the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Carter Strickland to step-up mitigation efforts and clean all catch basins, many of which are still clogged by sand and debris from Hurricane Sandy.

“I commend DEP for their efforts prior and in response to Sandy, however hundreds of homeowners experienced the first wave of damage simply from catch basins overflowing,” said Goldfeder. “Yet most of theses drains still have not been cleaned out and they are currently unable to prevent any heavy rainfall from flooding streets, or more importantly, deterring a potential storm surge.”

Prior to Sandy, communities in southern Queens and Rockaway were struggling with outdated sewer infrastructure, which was problematic during heavy rainfall. Post Sandy, the issue has become even more severe and many streets flood more frequently due to unclean and backedup catch basins.

“All the catch basins in Community Board 14 need to be cleaned and all the storm water outfalls need tide gates installed to protect our residential and commercial areas,” said Jonathan Gaska, district manager of Community Board 14.

In an effort to reduce the risk of flooding on streets and sidewalks in future storms, Goldfeder has sent a letter to DEP to immediately revisit and inspect all the catch basins in the Sandy impacted neighborhoods of Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach, Broad Channel, and Rockaway.

“We must be proactive and not reactive,” said Frank Gulluscio, district manager of Community Board 6 and a Howard Beach resident. “This is a very serious matter and must be addressed immediately.”

Additionally, Goldfeder, requested the department re-examine reimbursement policies for homeowners and businesses to upgrade the sewer system, as well as, expedite flood-mitigation for the residents.

“Southern Queens and Rockaway must be made a top priority. We need to step-up our recovery efforts,” Goldfeder concluded. “We cannot let residents weather the next storm alone.”