Queens Resident Fights Red Tape To Get Sewer Line Fixed

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — A sewer pipe problem in Queens is pitting a resident against the city. A homeowner is trying to get his sewer line repaired, but more than a week has gone by and he still hasn’t seen any action.

Being a retired tow-truck driver for the NYPD, Jack McNeill has solved a lot of problems, but he’s been unable to get an open sewer line right off his front curb fixed.

“How can you have an open sewer line in the street?” he asked CBS 2’s John Slattery.

The 68-year-old McNeill has contacted an alphabet soup of agencies, trying to repair the pipe, which right now is putting raw sewage in plain sight.

“DOT came. I talked to them. DEP came. I talked to them. The city councilman’s office sent a letter to the DEP stating the problem here. Everybody comes and they say it will be repaired. But nobody’s repairing it,” McNeill said.

McNeill lives on 41st Drive in Woodside, where the sewer pipe dates back to the 1920s. On Oct. 4, a paving crew began milling the old pavement away and stripped off the top of the sewer line.

“They just tore the pipe off and I’m having trouble getting it fixed,” McNeill said.

The pipe leads to the sewer line in McNeill’s cellar, and while McNeill is able to flush his toilet, his concern is that the pavers might come before the sewer is closed.

“I’m afraid when they come and repave, they’ll just pave over it and all the asphalt will go in the hole and it will harden and that will be the end of my sewer in the house,” he said. “It’ll block the line.”

CBS 2 spoke to the DEP, which said call the DOT.

City Transportation officials did say Wednesday evening the sewer repair will be made, at no cost to the homeowner. More importantly for McNeill, Slattery was told the work will be done in advance of the resurfacing in the coming days.

The DOT said the problem in this case is that the sewer pipe is unusually shallow, only about an inch below the road surface.

Is there too much red tape in New York City government?  Share your thoughts in the comments section…

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  • JD

    I am happy to see that other people other than myself see the red tape when it come to City services,Even when you call 311 ,it is a nightmare yet the mayor ,Bloomberg tell us to call 311 which is now becoming another red tape agency ,if Bloomberg could not realize how the people he had hired to make the city payroll computerize more effective while they were stealing millions ,now we must wonder.DEP is so bad is unbelievable forget about the DOT they dont even answer their 311 call.

  • Rugbyball

    @rafael said
    “…He is responsible for the replacement either out of his pocket or he needs to contract the contractor to repair thier shoddy work.”

    You did read this part of the story right?
    “…McNeill lives on 41st Drive in Woodside, where the sewer pipe dates back to the 1920s…”
    Do you think the contractor from the 1920’s is still alive?

    BTW, it is the city’s fault. The work had to be inspected and signed off by an agency in the 1920’s, city ok’d it since the house has a Certificate of Occupancy. The city drawings should show the sewer line at its current depth and the city is responsible to read those drawings before they do any work, they never do but thats’ not the home owners fault.
    Also,since its a gravity based sewer system the angle of the house sewer is usually determined by the depth of the main sewer line, which is definitely the city’s responsibility, I bet if you look at drawings the main is not deep enough forcing the house’s line to be shallow which is also why the city ok’d it since they didn’t want to dig the main deeper.

    • Rafael

      So then why was his the only sewer pipe that was broken on the whole block?!? oH well, we will all pay for the crybabies broken pipe, the city will fix everyone problems dont you know that?? So be sure to cough up the extra property taxes because of crybabies like this.

  • rafael

    This is neither DOT or DEP’s issue, its the homeowners. The pipe was put in place to shallow and is not down below grade were it belongs. He is responsible for the replacement either out of his pocket or he needs to contract the contractor to repair thier shoddy work. He is wasting time calling the news and every city agency trying to get a free repair.

    • wa wa what

      Wow 100% wrong.Read the article the city broke the pipe because of repaving the pipe is in the street city property not his property.

      • rafael

        dry your tears the city will fix it. the city will make him a happy tax payer.

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