RAMAPO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A swamp is growing in a Rockland County backyard, and the homeowners say government officials are to blame.
They claim the town and county approved a shoddy construction project across the street that’s now causing water to back up into their home, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported Wednesday.
Every time it rains, Ramapo resident Tova Medetsky says she can’t use her own driveway on Lime Kiln Road.
“I saw the water just flooding across Lime Kiln Road. I just felt like crying,” Medetsky said.
CBS2’s Rozner checked out the scene, which looks like a lake but is actually the family’s backyard.
“There’s mosquitoes. There’s water under my swing set. My grandchildren have no place to play,” Medestsky said. “I have mold.”
Medetsky said engineers told her there’s three feet of water under the home, shifting the foundation. She said drawers don’t shut in certain bedrooms because the house is now not level. In the kitchen, the floor is slanted. You can see it with a marble.
“It has no where to go but to roll across the floor,” Medetsky said.
The cause? Medetsky and her husband say it’s a culvert that the town and county approved. She said it was installed improperly, near a cell tower across the street in 2001.
That tower is on property owned by the Town of Ramapo and Rockland County collects income from the phone companies that use the tower. The culvert is supposed to act as a tunnel and drain water into a nearby stream, but because the tunnel is elevated too high, the homeowner says the water doesn’t go through and instead backs up on to her property.
Medetsky said both town and county officials have talked about lowering the tunnel, but told her they can’t, “because there are telecommunication cables under here, under the culvert,” Medetsky said.
The Medetskys are suing both the county and the town, accusing them of purposely avoiding a long-term fix. Ramapo Assistant Town Attorney Dennis Lynch told CBS2 by phone, “There’s no question they have a terrible problem, but the town has no legal responsibility for construction activities that others had accomplished at this site, including the cell tower companies.”
T-Mobile, which manages the tower, said it is “unable to comment on the matter.”
Medetsky hopes a judge will decide who is to blame and somehow the situation gets it fixed.
The family is also seeking to recoup nearly $1 million to cover the cost of rebuilding the home, and for paying engineers in which they consulted.
Rockland County officials told us they do not comment on pending litigation.