Demand Equitable Repairs to Century-Old Sewer System

Target: Eric Adams, Mayor of New York City 

Goal: Invest in and fix New York City’s outdated sewer and drainage system.

Celebrating the success of his new Quality-of-Life initiative, Mayor Eric Adams is boasting about the city’s now completed $50 million water infrastructure project for the southwest section of Queens, New York. The infrastructure update is New York City’s response to an alarmingly heightened frequency of flooding, which has left citizens dead, neighborhoods of color ravaged, as well as entire subway stations destroyed. The completion of this project is not a sufficient response. The Mayor must prioritize fixing all of the city’s pervading drainage infrastructure issues as climate change increases our average rainfall. 

In 2018, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released a stormwater resilience plan which mapped research efforts, future city actions, guidelines for climate resiliency, instructions on how to manage flash floods and general drainage and rainfall information. Outlined in the plan, according to THE CITY newsroom: “Inform the public about the flood vulnerability from extreme rain.” Although those most grievanced by extreme rain are aware of its possible ill effects, no official warning came before Hurricane Ida, a storm that culminated in at least 16 city deaths. The youngest of which was a 2 year old boy from Woodside, Queens, whose reconverted basement apartment was rushed with water that trapped him and his family members inside. According to the Atlantic, Ida killed more than 90 people in the Northeast, including 11 who drowned in basement apartments. 

The NYC DEP, Department of Transportation and Department of Design and Construction have just brought more than six miles of new sewers and water mains to southwest Queens. The improvements are said to alleviate flooding and better the area’s street conditions, according to the NYC Office of the Mayor. These updates, however, fall flat. State monies must be allocated towards providing an overhaul of the entire century and a half old sewer and drainage system. Sign below to demand that Mayor Adams address the water drainage issues across the five boroughs and not just in his hometown of southwest Queens. 

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mayor Adams,

Climate change is pushing New York City to endure weather that it was simply not built for. Our sewers are more than one hundred years old and were originally built with a maximum capacity of 1.75 inches of rain per hour. In August 2021, New York City received 3.15 inches of rain within the first hour of Hurricane Ida. 

In the middle of a pandemic induced housing crisis people lost their homes to swelling sewers, misdirected torrential floods and general faulty infrastructure. The work you are doing in southwest Queens is necessary and must be implemented city-wide to aid all of our vulnerable residents. We demand that you find funds to support an overhaul of our antiquated drainage system. As climate change increases frequency and quantity of rainfall, inaction will cost lives. 

Sincerely, 

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: David Shankbone


One Comment

  1. Infrastructure! There has been money given by President Biden to assist in infrastructure. This is infrastructure!!!!! NYC needs to put money to rebuild the sewers. The GOP has do-nothing but complain but now they can get behind this project. So … DO IT! GET IT DONE!!
    No reason, no excuses, just get this done … how!

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