BAY PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It was one of the most dangerous environmental side effects of Superstorm Sandy – crippled sewage treatment plants sending raw waste into homes.
But as CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, on Long Island, some residents were still waiting more than five weeks after the storm for a cleanup promised by local government.
“Sewage water overflowed here, built up in the bathroom here,” Larry Villegas said, showing Gusoff on Tuesday.
More than a month after raw sewage flowed into Villegas’ Bay Park home from toilets and bathtubs, there was still thick muck in the basement.
“Right now we’re looking at the sewage and feces on the floor,” Villegas said.
Villegas was one of hundreds who found himself dealing with more than flood water. There was also sewage overflow gushing onto his street, and backing up into his home, every day for 10 days.
“The smell was unbearable,” he said.
The culprit was the Nassau County-operated Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant, which promised homeowners it would pay for decontamination, but never said when.
County-contracted crews said they have been working seven days a week, gutting eight houses per day. But members of the Villegas family, waiting their turn, said their sewage-filled house is a health hazard.
“They don’t come,” Karina Villegas said.
“That’s priority one – get the cleanup done. Get the mold and the sewer water out of the house so I can start rebuilding my life,” Larry Villegas added.
Next door, an elderly couple decided to pay a private contractor to do the work. They could not wait for the county.
“Winter is coming, and freeze-ups — that’s why were worried,” Stan Kalenick said.
But Villegas said he could not afford to do the work privately. He was waiting for the county to make good on its promise, and while he’s waited, no other repair work could even begin.
“I’ve set up a lot of various appointments with electricians, plumbers, but no one dares to go in my house because of the sewer water,” he said.
After a visit from CBS 2, the county-contracted crew said the Villegas family home would be next on the list for gutting. There was no word on whether the county would also pay for repairs.
Late Tuesday, a spokesman for the Nassau County Department of Public Works said more than 200 homes have been assessed for decontamination. He did not say how much longer the work would take.
What would you do if you still had raw sewage in your house five weeks after Sandy? Leave your comments below…