The flooding that devastated hundreds of homes in Lindenwood at the end of April, leaving many families to face tends of thousands of dollars in damages, was caused by a malfunctioning sewer facility, the city Department of Environmental Protection said.
In a statement released late Friday, the DEP said it “determined that its Spring Creek Combined Sewer Overflow Retention Facility on Flatlands Avenue did not function as intended” during the April 30 storm that dumped more than five inches of rain on much of South Queens. Lindenwood was hit particularly hard, with many residents saying the damage sustained at the end of April was far worse than what they head to deal with during Sandy. Many residents lost almost everything – if not everything – in their basements and garages.
The Spring Creek sewer facility, which went into service in the mid-1970s, contains large tanks that can store up to 20 million gallons of rainfall and wastewater. The facility is only used when rainfall rates are so great that the capacity of the two nearby treatment plants is exceeded. Excess wastewater is then diverted into the Spring Creek retention facility, to be temporarily stored until the storm ends.
However, the April 30 storm dumped so much rain on the area that the Spring Creek facility reached its limit late that evening and, instead of the extra water and sewage being released into Jamaica Bay, it surged into houses in Lindenwood and Brooklyn’s New Lots neighborhood.
“The Spring Creek facility was recently modernized, and a series of electronic level sensors and transmitters are now used to determine when excess [water and sewage] needs to be released, based upon a number of criteria including the tidal elevations,” the DEP said in its prepared statement Friday. “DEP found that the new electronic system malfunctioned, and releases into the bay did not promptly occur.”