Raw Sewage Piles Up In Queens; Big Losses On Long Island

SPRINGFIELD GARDENS, N.Y. (CBS 2) — Overnight rains and steady storms plagued not only underpasses and highways in the tri-state area Monday, but also flooded many homes in low-lying areas.

CBS 2’s John Slattery found a number of hard-hit houses and some families that are forced to deal with the unpleasant task of cleaning not just water out of their basements, but raw sewage as well.

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Much of Nassau County took it on the chin, but one home in New Hyde Park suffered major damage. A foundation wall collapsed, flooding the basement. Shabana Patel and her husband must now start over.

“It was a dream house for us the two of us have worked so hard,” Patel said. “We didn’t know something like this would destroy my home.”

Not only was there structural damage, but a gas line was ruptured, causing residents on the block to be evacuated.

The Patel home was one of four on the block rendered unlivable.

Carmen Thomas was attempting to recover from a deluge that claimed the boiler, washer, dryer and nearly everything else in her Queens basement after five feet of water made its way into her home.

“Horrible, crazy, it stinks,” Thomas said. “Sewer water – everything is all ruined.”

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Thomas’ home on 139th Avenue and Springfield Boulevard is just one of dozens of homes on the street that suffered the same fate.

In the basement of Richard Green’s home, a sliding glass door was pushed in – frame and all.

“It came down the steps from the backyard and over the other houses,” Green said of the sewage that made its way into his home.

But next door, where a commercial cleaning company was at work, the owner said much of the flooding “back-up” from the sanitary sewer.
“Found out it was coming from the main sewage line and after that, sewage started coming up. Raw sewage coming out the main line,” resident George Brash said.


The Department of Environmental Protection said crews were cleaning sewer catch basins and draining sewers after they were just overtaxed.

Resident Alice Gooden said she kept very little in her basement, because she’s been through all of this before.

But for those who were less aware of the dangers of living in the low-lying area, Monday was a day of hauling furniture out to the street and tabulating the cost of a single night of rainfall.

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The city was passing out flyers in Springfield Gardens Monday, advising flood victims how to go about filing claims against the city, which may be liable.