Sewer main pains

August 8, 2012 Denise Romano
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Residents of a Dyker Heights block are afraid that it too will sink, after the city made emergency sewer repairs on February.

Brian Leonard, who lives on 76th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues, explained that Department of Environmental Protection workers dug the street up corner to corner and at least 20 feet deep to fix the sewer pipes, as well as gas mains.

Now, the edges of the street are sinking in, causing sidewalks to crack, Leonard says. “Instead of putting out the asphalt hot, they piled it into large piles and used a steamroller to pack down the cooled asphalt. It shook all of the houses and one house developed a crack immediately after,” he said.

When DEP laid down the asphalt, workers did not repave it curb to curb, explained Fran Vella-Marrone, president of the Dyker Heights Civic Association. Two feet of space was left on each side of the street and the corners were left unpaved.

“DEP has been trying to work with residents on the block to rectify the problem. It can’t stay the way it is. It’s not sufficient,” said Vella-Marrone.

Josephine Beckmann, district manager of Community Board 10, said that she was contacted by many residents on the block regarding the issue. “The DEP emergency repair job was significant and we were taken aback that they did not do curb to curb paving,” she explained. “I think it’s a problem and it’s going to create more problems.”

Leonard noted that the Department of Transportation (DOT) has already given out sidewalk violations for the crack and that DOT signs were not replaced properly.

Community Board 10, State Senator Marty Golden, Department of Transportation officials, Cablevision and DEP held a meeting regarding the issue on July 25.

John Quaglione, deputy chief of staff for Golden, said that residents’ complaints included cracked curbs, broken cable wires and open water mains, as well as a bumpy, uneven street.

“We prepared a complete report of all the conversations of homeowners and residents [which has been] shared with the necessary agencies,” Quaglione said, adding that the city is currently reviewing photos of the condition of the block both before and after the repairs were done.

“We will have a follow-up meeting after we hear their findings. We can’t have work like this cause this type of damage to homes, curbs and cars, and just walk away from it,” he added.

Leonard said he just wants the situation rectified. “It was really poorly handled and it’s unfair,” he said. “The block is in an outrage. Everyone understands that the job has to be done, but the contractors clearly didn’t care. It looked and felt like every corner was cut to get the job finished as quickly as possible.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Environmental Protection declined to comment.

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