NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Homeowners in Whitestone, Queens are dealing with a stinking mess after sewage backed up into their basements.
As CBS2’s Jessica Borg reported, residents on Tenth Avenue between 152 and 154th streets in Whitestone said they were living a nightmare during Friday’s rainstorm – as toilets turned into fountains and raw sewage covered basement floors.
“It was the most disgusting thing I have ever, ever encountered,” said Anne Kelly of Whitestone. “Ugh! Gosh, I think of it and I still get skeeved.”
And on Monday people like Jeanmarie Golden were still cleaning up. They were also still dealing with the stench.
“It smells like sewage,” Golden said. “I mean, we have the fans going. All the windows have been open fpr the last two days. But it still has a smell.”
Residents blame construction on their block for the sewage overflow. Crews with the city’s Department of Design and Construction are working on the street’s sewer pipes.
The department said the project is to “upgrade aging infrastructure.”
But resident James Martino said it is no upgrade. He believes the re-lining of the pipe caused the problem.
“It made the pipe circumference smaller, so it couldn’t handle the sewage that was being pumped,” Martino said.
Residents said they have had thousands of dollars’ worth property destroyed. The Kelly family had to throw away furniture, tools, and clothing.
The city said the project was completed earlier this month and there was simply too much rain for the sewer system to handle. CBS2’s Borg could not get answers when she asked how the pipes will handle future downpours.
In the meantime, the city is telling residents to keep documentation.
“They’re just telling us to write everything down; document everything, and they’ll sort it out,” said James Kelly of Whitestone.
The city told CBS2 that residents can send requests for damage reimbursement, to the city Comptroller’s office.