|Daily News photo|
The Department of Environmental Protection is not doing enough to stop the flooding that has plagued Fresh Meadows for decades, residents said at a town hall meeting last Wednesday.
Billed as a meeting “to educate homeowners on how to protect their property from rainwater” and to inform them about recent infrastructure developments to reduce flooding, the town hall at the Utopia Jewish Center turned into a platform for homeowners to vent their frustration about a problem that’s been plaguing their neighborhood since the 1940s.
The strategies addressed two kinds of flooding, both of which occur in Fresh Meadows. The first is sewer backups, caused when sewers exceed their capacity due to heavy rain, and overflow out of basement toilets or floor drains. The second is street-level flooding.
Causes of flooding can range from cooking grease in the sewer pipes to tree roots to roads that slope the wrong way. In Utopia, chronic flooding has led to an abundance of theories on the causes – like a special valve that prevents flooding to LaGuardia airport and redirects the water towards Utopia.
That rumor was dismissed by the DEP. But either way, it’s clear that the problems with flooding in Utopia and Fresh Meadows are systemic. The question is how much the city can, or will, do.