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Analyze and mitigate the groundwater flooding compounded with rainwater water flooding caused by rising water table in low lying Southeast Queens

Jamaica SE Queens, New York

Featured image for the project, Analyze and mitigate the groundwater flooding compounded with rainwater water flooding caused by rising water table in low lying Southeast Queens

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Groundwater flooding and a high-water table are impacting residents, institutions, and businesses in Southeast Queens, NY. Local projects have not addressed the negative impacts of the current water system and the residents need independent experts to get a more trusted source.  

The community is interested in a solution-based study about the water levels and potential for green infrastructure to address persistent residential flooding. The solution will impact the community positively and it will lower the ground water flooding, resulting in rising property values in the area and reduced electricity bills. Waterlogging and sewage pipeline failure frequency may also be reduced. 



The community would like to do a solution-based study about the water levels. They need a monitoring and action plan to reduce rising water table and implementation of green infrastructure and with the help of NY State Authority, Environmental protection Agency (EPA) , DEP ,USGS and AGU (Thriving Earth Exchange) so that they can implement ongoing research and inform the public for wider climate resiliency, which will result in lowering the ground water flooding, marketplace property in that area, lowering electricity bill of the individual households. Waterlogging and sewage pipeline failure frequency may be reduced. Community wishes to start groundwater pumping that will certainly lower the water table. “ 

The community wants to monitor water levels in SE Queens and develop an action plan to reduce flooding, potentially with the use of green infrastructure.  This effort may involve NY State Authority, the US Environmental Protection Agency, DEP, and the United States Geological Survey. Reducing flooding will increase marketplace property values in the area, lower individual households’ electricity bills, and improve overall quality of life for residents. It may also reduce waterlogging and sewage pipeline failure frequency. Once the action plan has been developed, the community will participate in public outreach to share strategies for wider climate resiliency. 


Timeline and Milestones

  1. Feb’24~Apr’24: Detailed understanding of problem, Narrow down the objectives and actionable items. Project description and scientist recruitment. 
  1. May’24~Jun’24: Research on State-of-the-Art solution, Root cause analysis, Brainstorming, developing technical and engineering solutions based on community feedback.  
  1. Jun’24~Jun’25: Sorting out tangible methods to mitigate the problem. Developing robust protocols, Monitoring protocols. assessing data for feedback /corrections, Make recommendations for future action plans.  

About the Community

Southeast Queens is a Black and Brown region of New York City with high rates of homeownership by working-class and middle-class New Yorkers of color. It is also a region that is affordable for poor renters of color, particularly those living in basement apartments (that are illegal in New York City). The region has a high concentration of environmental harms, including waste transfer stations and the air and noise pollution attendant to John F. Kennedy Airport. It also has a deficit of public transportation and other city services, including park maintenance. Previously Jamaica Water Supply used to pump ground water, but the water was tainted, and the water utility rates are high for residents. New York Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) then purchased JWS, and the local water table rose, and extreme flooding has become a severe issue. Local projects have not addressed the negative impacts of the current water system and residents constantly deal with issues of basement flooding and concerns about health and safety related to the flooding. 

Project Team

Community Leads

Andrea Scarborough

Andrea Scarborough has for decades fought on behalf of her Southeast Queens community in a variety of posts, including as President of Addisleigh Park Civic Organization and Vice Chair of the Queens Solid Waste Advisory Board, which advises the Queens Borough President on policy and initiatives pertaining to solid waste issues. Mrs. Scarborough was a leader in the fight to protect the St. Albans Veteran Administration hospital and has led advocacy on waste legislation to reduce waste traffic and pollution in Southeast Queens as well as seeking solutions to the decades long issue of chronic flooding in her community. Ms. Scarborough sits on the board of the Southeast Queens Residents Environmental Justice Coalition (SQREJC) an organization that is committed to improving the quality of life. 

Aracelila Cook

Aracelia Cook (Secretary) is the current President of the 149th South Ozone Park Civic Association and the founder and President of the Inwood Street Block Association, in addition to her membership on other committees for community issues. Past wins for her community include the conversion of three avenues to one-way streets and spearheading “A Day of Outreach and Resources” where she and other community organizations provided giveaways of clothing and bookbags, refreshments, games, and information for migrants. 

William Scarborough


Community Science Fellow

Narayan Kumar

Narayan Kumar (He/Him) is a 2nd-year PhD student at the University of Delaware in the Coastal Engineering specialization. Prior to the start of graduate study, he trained himself as a mechanical engineer for more than 5 years, with extensive expertise in project planning, execution, and management. His current research is focused on Hydrodynamic numerical modelling and morphology simulation of sediment transport in the nearshore region to gauge their effect on beach profile evolution. He was a Western Dredging Association (WEDA) Fellow of 2023 and recipient of the 2023 N. Kraus Coastal Award by the American Beach and Shoreline protection Association (ABSPA). He is striving to collaborate and amalgamate science and community knowledge to resolve the grass-roots issues of society. In his spare time, he watches light comedy movies, learns the French language, and occasionally runs marathons and goes hiking. 

Scientist Wanted

Project scientist will work with community leads and community science fellow in collaboration with Thriving Earth exchange to develop a plan to mitigate the groundwater flooding and rising water table in the Southeast Queens neighborhood of New York. 



Desired Skills and Qualifications (bulleted list): 

  • Water and Climate scientist with adaptation experience. 
  • Experience with urban flooding mitigation. 
  • Worked on solution/methods to lower groundwater table using natural or scientific technics. 
  • Experience and/or desire to participate in community education, outreach, and engagement. 
  • Experience with citizen science. 
  • Public speaking skills 
  • Strong listening and collaboration skills 
  • Willingness to connect science to local concerns. 
  • Relaxed, easy-going personality with a good sense of humor. 
  • The scientist should be able to visit the community in-person. 


Thriving Earth Exchange asks all scientific partners to work with the community to help define a project with concrete local impact to which they can contribute as pro-bono volunteers and collaborators. This work can also position the scientists and communities to seek additional funding, together, for the next stage. 


Interested in volunteering as a scientist? Apply now!