LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The Long Island barrier island community of Long Beach said Sunday that it has come a long way in its efforts to restore life to normal since Superstorm Sandy.
Long Beach was among the areas hit hardest by the hurricane. In the days after the storm, streets and cars were buried in 6 feet of ocean sand, and homes were drenched in the tidal serve and left uninhabitable.
But on Sunday, the city said residents can once again flush the toilets and drink their tap water, and the vast majority of homes that can receive power now have it. Garbage pickup has been placed on a seven-day-a week schedule, and “help is here in force – extraordinary assistance, resources, and personnel continue to pour in from around the state and nation,” the city said.
The City of Long Beach said the sewer system was back up and running as of Sunday, but not at 100 percent capacity. Residents may flush their toilets, but is asked to conserve water.
Meanwhile, the Nassau County Health Department has deemed the water safe to use and drink in Long Beach, but everyone must flush out each and every faucet for 10 to 15 minutes before drinking the water, the city said.
The Long Island Power Authority has also restored homes to 90 percent of customers that have not suffered damage so severe as to prevent them from receiving power, the city said. LIPA, which has been subject to harsh criticism by Long Island residents who remain without power, said Sunday that 99 percent of all of its customers who lost power and can safely receive it should have it back by the end of the day Tuesday.
The City of Long Beach advised residents with serious water damage to have an electrician examine their wiring and devices.
National Grid representative s are also going door to door providing information on gas restoration, the city said.
Some traffic lights in Long Beach also have been restored, but the city emphasized that everyone needs to drive safely.
The Long Island Rail Road has also set up bus service for the damaged and shuttered Long Beach branch from 5 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Still, life was far from back to normal in Long Beach as of Sunday. A strict curfew remained in place from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. for both residents and businesses, and schools were expected to open only in three locations by Tuesday.
A gas rationing system is also in effect, in which cars with license plates ending in odd numbers or vanity plates may only get gas on odd-numbered days, and cars with even numbers may get gas on even-numbered days.
A mobile ATM has also been set up by Citibank in Kennedy Plaza, and the LIRR has established a comfort station with power strips so residents can charge their electronic devices, and a Verizon station has been set up in Kennedy Plaza so people can charge devices, make short calls for free, and access the Internet.
Anyone who wishes to volunteer in the continuing relief effort is asked to call (516) 301-0932 and let the city know his or her specialties.
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