The city’s Department of Environmental Protection has completed cleaning large sewers across northeast Queens with new state-of-the-art equipment in an effort to halt combined sewer overflowing into and Flushing Bay.
DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland said that the agency’s new Vactor trucks have removed 3,416 tons of debris from 40,171 feet of large sewers in Northeast Queens.
The new equipment will allow for additional sewer capacity that could reduce up to 45 million gallons of combined sewer overflow, which is a mixture of storm and waste water, per year in Little Neck Bay and Flushing Bay.
“This cost-effective and efficient solution to one of the city’s longest-standing water quality challenges will maximize the value of existing infrastructure without having to pay for costly new capital projects,” Strickland said.
The DEP’s Tallman Island sewer system consists of three interceptor sewers at College Point, Whitestone and Flushing that cover 14.1 miles.
The agency took three months to clean northeast Queens with its new Vactor trucks, sending 65 million gallons of combined sewer overflow to the treatment plant per day.
The trucks, which are diesel-powered, use a 30-foot hose to vacuum debris from sewers that are accessed through manholes. The vehicle also has a water jet to clear clogs.
The new equipment is not the first effort in recent years to keep Northeast Queens’s sewers clean.
In May 2011, the city completed a following rainstorms.
That project, which cost $130 million, encompassed 16 acres along Northern Boulevard, including a facility that can collect up to five million gallons of combined sewage that was previously discharged into Alley Creek and Little Neck Bay during storms.
Jerry Iannece, Community Board 11's chairman, said he was pleased that the city was stepping up initiatives to keep northeast Queens's sewers clean.
"This is a big step in the right direction," he said. "The theory is if you keep sewers clean, then there's less treatment necessary. In the long run, it's better for everbody."