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Politics & Government

DEP to build rain gardens in Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights

The Department of Environmental Protection is scouting locations in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights for rain gardens as part of the de Blasio administration’s ongoing effort to make the city more environmentally-friendly.

Residents have already reported seeing tell-tale green markings on several sidewalks that were painted by DEP to indicate a possible spot for a rain garden.

A rain garden is built at the curb and includes an incline that allows water to enter the rain garden as it also flows down the curb toward the catch basin. The purpose is to manage storm water better and improve water quality in local waterways, according to an information sheet on the DEP’s website.

Rain gardens reduce puddles and ponding on the street, improve street drainage and lower the temperature on the street on hot days, according to DEP.

“It looks like a large tree pit,” Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann told this newspaper.

The city would be responsible for maintaining a rain garden, Beckmann said.

It’s not clear how many rain gardens DEP is looking to build in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights. But Beckmann said a few homeowners have already received letters from DEP informing them that the rain gardens are coming.

Councilmember Justin Brannan posted a statement on Facebook after constituents contacted him wondering what the green letters and numbers on their sidewalks meant.

DEP is still scouting locations, Brannan wrote. “They are still in the ‘exploratory phase’ and no locations have been officially chosen yet. So even if you see these green markings on your sidewalk, it still doesn’t mean you’re definitely getting one of these rain gardens,” he wrote.

If the sidewalk in front of your house is chosen, there might not be much you can do about it.

“If homeowners want to opt out, they need to prove they have either a handicapped parking permit in their car, or lawn sprinkler lines under their sidewalk supplying irrigation for a grass strip on their sidewalk,” Brannan wrote.

Homeowners can request an alternative design for the rain garden, however, in which the rain garden is installed under a new concrete sidewalk and contains an opening only at the face of the curb.

In his Facebook post, Brannan included a DEP hotline number, 718-595-7599 and an email, raingardens@dep.nyc.gov, for people who are seeking more information.

DEP has also been scouting for locations in Bensonhurst and Bath Beach, according to Community Board 11 District Manager Marnee Elias-Pavia.

“They’re doing preliminary field work,” she told this newspaper. “They’re measuring the water tables.”

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