Improvements to Canarsie’s Paerdegat Basin finally complete

The lengthy makeover for Canarsie’s Paerdegat Basin is finally complete.

After several years and hundreds of millions spent, the Basin—located along the northwestern shore of Jamaica Bay—is now cleaner, safer and better for the community and the surrounding environment, according to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) .

“The investment of $455 million for a holistic upgrade of Paerdegat Basin has resulted in dramatic improvements to the cleanliness of the waterway as well as the ecological health of the whole area, including Jamaica Bay,” said DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd. “In addition, the planting of 1,100 trees will improve air quality and the new Ecology Park will serve as an important educational resource that will help to ensure that the next generation of New Yorkers understand the importance of environmental stewardship.”

The comprehensive upgrade of the area included restoring over 50 acres of native grasslands and wetlands along the basin’s shores, constructing the five-acre Ecology Park, building a 50-million -gallon Combined Sewer Overflow retention facility and dredging approximately 23,000 cubic yards of sediment from the bottom of the basin, according to DEP.

“I am delighted that at long last the DEP has completed this highly anticipated project in the Paerdegat Basin area,” said Councilmember Alan Maisel, who represents the area. “For generations, Paerdegat Basin had been a dumping ground for toxic waste and garbage. It is extremely important for the health of our citizens and neighborhoods that we can say that the cleanup, restoration and upgrades are now complete.”

The impetus for the work, according to DEP, came from the need to reduce significantly the frequency and volume of sewer overflows into the Basin, eliminating sediment that would become exposed during low tide and create unpleasant odors, and restore the area’s natural wetlands.

Originally known as Bedford Creek, Paerdegat Basin was once a natural stream, according to DEP. After some explosive growth in the area, the basin was created in the 1930s as part of a large-scale effort to bring commercial shipping to Jamaica Bay.

After many years of combined sewer systems and stormwater taking its toll on the Basin, DEP’s plan to reduce the “Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO)” into the basin involved building a $409 million CSO retention facility, which went into operation in 2011. Currently, the facility prevents up to 50 million gallons of CSOs from being discharged into the Basin during heavy rain storms.

“The transformation of Paerdegat Basin is important to the health of our borough’s greater environment, an environment for which we are responsible and which impacts our daily quality of life,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “The restored marshlands and wetlands will benefit the overall ecology of the greater Jamaica Bay area, which is a win for Brooklyn today, tomorrow and well into our future.”

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