From the Queens Chronicle:
If you have driven around Rego Park, Forest Hills or even College Point this week, you may have noticed large blue trucks drilling into the roads.
These trucks are not repairing street damage or straightening sidewalks, they are being used for geotechnical investigative work in preparation for citywide bioswale installations.
Bioswales are landscape elements designed to remove pollution and minor flooding from storm water runoff.
They consist of a drainage course with sloped sides. Vegetation and compost fill in the space.
“Essentially they are a measure of keeping storm water out of waterways,” Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Edward Timbers said. “They won’t solve the problem entirely but are more of an added measure.”
While these installations will improve street drainage, they are not designed to prevent street flooding, a problem many residents of Forest Hills, Maspeth, Glendale face.
With the new system, storm water is absorbed by the sandy soil that sits on the swale surface and seeps into the ground underneath in a process called infiltration until it reaches a stone layer underneath.
The water is then absorbed by the trees and vegetation in the swale where it is then released into the air as water vapor in a process called evapotranspiration.
Over the next few years, at least 100 of these swales will be placed throughout the borough. Together, they are expected to reduce the amount of runoff that filters into Flushing Bay.