NEW YORK — Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland announced that the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is expediting a $10 million project to help reduce sewer back-ups in the Dongan Hills section of Staten Island during typical storms. The project includes $5 million for the rehabilitation of the Mason Avenue Pump Station, more than tripling its current capacity from 4.6 million gallons per day to 15.5 million gallons per day. The project also includes $5 million for upgrades to the local sanitary sewers on Naughton Avenue, Slater Boulevard, and Seaver Avenue, and the installation of a force main on Mason Avenue and Seaview Avenue.

The upgraded pump station, new sanitary sewers, and new force main will convey the additional wastewater to the Oakwood Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant. It is expected that this capital project will help dozens of residents in the area who have been experiencing sanitary backups and heavy flooding during rain storms. The project is funded by DEP and will be managed by both DEP and the Department of Design and Construction. Construction on this project, originally planned for 2016, will now start in 2015, and will take approximately 18 months to complete.

“This project will be a welcome relief to the residents of Dongan Hills who have been experiencing sewer backups during rain storms,” said Commissioner Strickland. “Following recent meetings with Borough President Molinaro, Council Member Oddo, and other elected officials, who stressed the need for the project, DEP has fast tracked the upgrade and added it to our capital budget in 2015. Now, with this $10 million upgrade in the pipeline, the pump station and related sewer work will soon have the ability to pump more than three times as much sanitary water away from people’s homes to the local treatment plant. It is just one project among many as part of Mayor Bloomberg’s commitment to improve the city’s sewer network to avoid overflows, reduce flooding and improve the quality of life of New Yorkers. Since 2002 alone, the city has invested more than $1.9 billion to upgrade and modernize the city’s sewer system, including roughly $380 million for Staten Island alone.”

“I thank Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Strickland for recognizing the severity of this problem and acting on it with an effective plan to control the sewer back-ups and flooding,” Borough President James Molinaro said. “This neighborhood has suffered for many years, and we appreciate the DEP’s responsiveness. Water flows downhill, and in an area that’s nearly below sea level, the upgraded pump station is the only common sense solution.”

“No one should have to live in fear of the weather forecast, and that’s precisely what folks along Naughton Avenue and some of the adjoining blocks continue to endure,” said Council Member James Oddo. “I wish it were possible to give them immediate relief, but expediting this project by 12 months does help. We will continue to ensure that this project gets done so that it can bring relief to these folks as soon as it is possible.”

The Mason Avenue Pump Station rehabilitation includes new and larger pumps and upgraded piping and electrical controls to increase the capacity of the pump station. The pumping capacity is currently limited to two pumps that can convey 4.6 million gallons a day due to the size of the force main. With the larger force main and the sewer work, more stormwater flow will reach the pump station, allowing it to send up to 15.5 million gallons a day to the Oakwood Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant. The sewer upgrades will cover an area of two and a half miles. The new 2,400 feet of sanitary sewers will run from Seaver Avenue, Slater Boulevard and Naughton Avenue between Laconia Avenue and Mason Avenue, as well as on Mason Avenue, between Naughton Avenue and Seaver Avenue. To handle flow from the new sanitary sewers, approximately 5,000 feet of an upgraded 12-inch force main will be installed to convey wastewater from the pump station to be installed at Mason Avenue from Seaver Avenue to Seaview Avenue and then down from Seaview to the existing 48-inch sewer on Father Capodano Boulevard. All sewer work will be designed and built by the Department of Design and Construction. The pumping station will be designed and built by DEP.

Upgrading the city’s sewer infrastructure is a central part of DEP’s upcoming capital plan. Since 2002, the city has committed more than $1.9 billion to improve the reliability of the sewer system, including roughly $380 million for Staten Island and nearly $242 million for Southeast Queens. Because some low lying areas of the city remain prone to flooding, DEP is committing an additional $250 million from FY 2012 through FY 2021 for Staten Island and $142 million for Southeast Queens to upgrade sewers.

DEP manages the city’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,400 miles of sewer lines take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP employs nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $8.9 billion in investments over the next five years.