Today’s news:

PS 94 gets new sidewalks

A sidewalk replacement project expected to wrap up this week outside PS 94 in Little Neck could prove to be a big help when it comes to reducing pollution in Little Neck Bay, according to the founder of the Udalls Cove Preservation Association.

Contractor J.R. Cruz Construction is replacing the sidewalk outside PS 94 at 41-77 Little Neck Pkwy. with permeable concrete, a “promising water pollution reduction technique,” association founder Walter Mugdan said.

This new type of concrete the city Department of Environmental Protection is testing at sites around the city is constructed to absorb rain water instead of having the water run off across the top of it. Underneath the sidewalk there is a “filter fabric” that allows the water to seep into the ground but captures oil and other pollutants.

This is a big deal for area waterways, including Little Neck Bay and Alley Creek, because currently the city’s sewage system often cannot handle the extra water when it rains and sewage can flow into rivers and bays around the city, Mugdan said.

“Efforts like the one at PS 94, if multiplied many times over, can help reduce the amount of rain water that enters the combined sewer system and therefore can reduce the frequency or quantity of … discharges into Little Neck Bay and similar locations around the city,” Mugdan said.

The Little Neck Project includes 100 feet of sidewalk on 41st Drive.

Projects around the borough and city are using this new permeable concrete, and Queensborough Community College officials recently announced that they planned to use the material in one of their parking lots at their Bayside school.

The college was recently awarded $34,150 by the Long Island Sound Futures Fund and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which will enable it to monitor the volume and quality of stormwater runoff from college parking lots and create a plan to replace the existing asphalt with permeable concrete.

The DEP could not be reached for comment.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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