A $56 million infrastructure project to improve stormwater drainage, reduce pollution from combined sewer overflows, and replace water mains in part of Canarsie is underway and due to be completed by the end of 2018, the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) announced today. The work is being managed by the DDC for the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The construction entails a new storm sewer system that will allow for the local combined sewer system to be converted to an independent sanitary sewer system, giving the community separate storm and sanitary sewer systems, reducing street flooding, and alleviating combined sewer overflows during storms. The project will also replace local water mains that date back to the 1960s. New catch basins, fire hydrants, and manholes will also be installed, and the affected streets will be rebuilt curb-to-curb with new sidewalks.

Map of the construction taking place to improve infrastructure near Fresh Creek in Canarsie.
NYCDDC Map of the construction taking place to improve infrastructure near Fresh Creek in Canarsie.

The construction is concentrated on Avenue J and Flatlands Avenues between East 98th Street and East 108th Street, and includes work on some surrounding side streets such as Conklin Avenue. East 108th Street is also under construction from Flatlands Avenue south where a large concrete “box culvert” storm sewer is being installed at Avenue K that will feed into a new outfall at Fresh Creek.

Preventative measures, such as the installation of filter fabrics on catch basins and the storing of materials off-site, have been taken to reduce the possibility of pollution runoff reaching Fresh Creek. A stormwater pollution prevention team was also consulted to ensure the use of sustainable construction practices and minimize impacts on wildlife in the area, which is adjacent to Jamaica Bay.

“We’re pleased to partner with DEP to bring better drainage, cleaner harbor water, and a more reliable drinking water supply to this part of Brooklyn,” said DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “The new storm sewer system in particular will strengthen the neighborhood, upholding Mayor De Blasio’s vision for a more resilient city, while reducing incidences of flooding.”

DDC Resident Engineer Tai Chou.
NYCDDC DDC Resident Engineer Tai Chou.

The project is being managed on-site by DDC Resident Engineer Tai Chou, 30, who is from Queens. Chou joined the DDC six months after graduating from the Citadel in South Carolina in 2011 with his civil engineering degree. He credits the swift construction timeline to good relations between the project team, the contractor, and the community.

“Work on this project has been great because the community is very supportive and we’ve been careful to reach out to them and keep them apprised of our progress,” said Chou. “We’ve been able to successfully move this project along ahead of schedule with little impact to the environment.”

Chou’s interest in civil engineering stems from a trip with his father to his family’s native China when he was younger. He observed some cities, such as Beijing, with the resources to provide high quality public works services to residents, while rural areas did not have the necessary infrastructure to provide a high quality of life. It was this recognition of inequity that inspired him to become an engineer.

The general contractor for the project is Bedford Carp Construction, Inc., of Staten Island.

The new box culvert storm sewer being constructed on East 108th Street.
NYCDDC The new box culvert storm sewer being constructed on East 108th Street.