Staten Island homeowners living near an area of marsh say the once peaceful wildlife sanctuary has turned into a dump, littered with debris from Hurricane Sandy, which could bring more concerns to the neighborhood. NY1's Susan Jhun has the details.
Homeowners living next to a littered lot in the Dongan Hills section of Staten Island say Hurricane Sandy turned the once-thriving wildlife sanctuary into a breeding ground for pests.
"The rodents are terrible. There's so much garbage in the wetlands that the surge brought in that it has to be cleaned," says homeowner Theresa Connor.
"We have possums, rats, mosquitoes," says resident Joan Tropiano.
"Prior to Hurricane Sandy this was basically a refuge. You had the reeds and you had all natural wildlife and since Hurricane Sandy it's like a dumping ground," says homeowner Paul Bosco. "The wildlife has left because there's nothing there for them and nobody's coming in here to clean this. So what it's turning into, it's turning into an infestation."
Residents say the trash lying all over the lot was brought in from the surge of Hurricane Sandy and was never cleaned up.
"It hasn't been touched since October," Bosco says.
Another concern, residents say, is the lack of drainage in the wetlands that they believe is caused by all of the debris.
"The accumulation of water does not drain since the storm, so we're just assuming that the tributaries and the waterways that this used to drain out to is probably clogged," says homeowner Frank Testaverde.
That brings the threat of flooding, which locals have endured than their share of, and more worries about mosquitoes when the weather turns warm.
"It has to be cleaned. It's just going to become a health issue," says Connor.
"No one is sure if this is city, state or federal land. Others think it may be privately owned, so we're kind of stuck," says Testaverde.
After much digging, NY1 found the property is privately owned and the station is in the process of trying to reach the owner.
In the meantime, NY1 contacted the Office of Emergency Management to see if the agency could help clean up the lot. NY1 For You will continue to follow the situation.