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Queens Resident Fights Red Tape To Get Sewer Line Fixed

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Queens homeowner Jack McNeill is fighting to get a sewer line fixed in front of his Woodside home. (credit: CBS 2)

Queens homeowner Jack McNeill is fighting to get a sewer line fixed in front of his Woodside home. (credit: CBS 2)

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Our beloved reporter John Slattery passed away on Sept. 25. He was 63...
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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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