A city sewer project that was supposed to improve conditions in a Queens neighborhood has left at least one home awash in filth and neighbors literally holding their noses against the stench. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
South Ozone Park resident Francis Ramdeen has had to clean sewage-contaminated water out of his basement every day for the past few weeks. Ramdeen says the problem began two months ago after the city replaced the storm drain and catch basins in front of his home.
"The 20 to 25 buckets he has to take from the basement every evening at 64 years of age. And to have to climb the basement steps to have to come up you just tell me how any one human being would feel," said Ramdeen's wife, Esther Ramdeen.
Frustrated and tired, the Ramdeens finally got the Department of Environment Protection to check out the problem a few of weeks ago. But the couple was told they were not responsible and a private contractor did it. They also suggested the couple get their drain cleaned.
When that didn't work, they called NY1 for help.
As soon as NY1 reached the house, other residents began to complain about a foul odor coming from the catch basins.
People also complained about how the work looked. They say the catch basins are a trip hazard since the curbs and part of the sidewalk are now covered with asphalt.
"Usually you get cement and you pave it down. I mean I get the smell every once in a while depending on which way the wind is blowing," said one South Ozone Park resident.
When contacted by NY1, a DEP spokesperson said the Department of Design and Construction is responsible for the work. However, a DDC spokesperson said the station's call was the first complaint the agency had received.
About an hour after the call was placed, a crew was on the scene to fix the sewer and the catch basins.
When the dirt settles, the crew will eventually lay concrete on the sidewalk as planned.
Residents say they hope the repairs will hold.