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Waters rise in Glendale as rain returns to area

Flooding fills the Cooper Avenue underpass. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Crowley
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The severe storm that blew through Queens over the weekend brought a rare tornado to the borough but also some all-too-familiar flooding to Glendale.

For the second time in less than a month, heavy rains caused significant flooding in the neighborhood, filling homes and the Cooper Avenue underpass with damaging rainwater.

City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) said she visited the flood zone at the underpass and saw construction debris blocking catch basins, causing water to back up in the street and invade residents’ homes. She said the city Department of Environmental Protection must take notice and do the necessary work to fix the area’s constant flooding problems.

The DEP did not respond as of press time to calls concerning the latest round of flooding in Glendale.

“Less than three weeks ago, I called on the DEP to fully investigate the cause of the severe floods in Glendale and Middle Village, and now there’s further proof that there are serious problems at the Cooper Avenue underpass,” she said. “Residents and homeowners should not have to worry about a flood whenever it rains, and I will not rest until the DEP acknowledges this problem and dedicates the resources to fix it.”

Following a storm Aug. 15, Crowley called on the DEP and the city Department of Design and Construction to investigate whether the ongoing construction at the Cooper Avenue underpass is contributing to the floods.

The DEP said after the initial flood that the department is making the problems in Glendale a top priority and it encouraged residents to log complaints so the problems could be dealt with proactively.

Saturday’s storm brought a tornado to Breezy Point, where witnesses said the twister lasted 15 to 20 seconds and ripped roofs from cabanas.

Glendale is not the only neighborhood in the area with flood-prone streets. Earlier this month, DEP and of city Department of Design and Construction announced $24 million in infrastructure upgrades to sewer lines and a half-mile of water mains in Forest Hills.

As part of that project, the city installed approximately 1,700 feet of sanitary sewer lines, more than 4,000 feet of storm sewer lines, 55 catch basins and 49 manholes. The increased sewer capacity will help reduce roadway flooding and sewer backups in the surrounding area, according to DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland.

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Updated 3:50 am, September 13, 2012
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