More Than 100 Bioswales To Forest Hills By 2014

Staff Writer

In an attempt to help an area that has had flooding problems in the past, more bioswales will be coming to the Forest Hills/Rego Park area next year.

According to the Dept. of Environmental Protection, about 100 more of the rain-absorbing landscapes will be installed in the area covered by Community Board 6. There are currently 19 bioswales already placed in the region. There are also bioswales in other parts of the Borough, including Woodhaven.

DEP representatives said at last week’s CB6 meeting that the installation of the bioswales will begin before the end of this year and continue until spring 2014.

Bioswales are a group of small, green tree pits built on streets or sidewalks. There is often a small gate built around the structure to prevent pedestrians from walking on it. They differ from regular tree pits because it includes a curb cut to allow stormwater to enter and be absorbed in the soil.

Bioswales are designed to absorb storm waters that would normally enter the City’s sewer system when a storm passes by. The benefits of the bioswales include improving water quality for residents because it prevents overflow into the sewer system.

New York City has a combined sewer system, which flows stormwater and wastewater through one sewer pipe. This can cause overflow and flooding at times in some areas, depending on the amount of water. Flooding has been a constant problem in the past in Forest Hills, Jamaica and most areas in southwest Queens, including the Rockaways.

According to a DEP pamphlet handed out at the CB6 meeting, although a bioswale can help with flooding from a storm, it is not designed to completely alleviate an area from being flooded. It can help reduce large puddles and standing water after a storm has passed.

Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127,, or @luisgronda.