The investment is needed to address the decades of street and basement flooding that has plagued residents for far too long.
While residents acknowledge the short-term pain of construction for long-term gain, city agencies must also do a better job of addressing residents’ concerns along the way.
The recent sewer blockage in South Ozone Park, which filled dozens of homes with foul odors and filthy water, is an extreme example of the negative impacts of these projects.
For residents in Maspeth and Middle Village, which are going through massive sewer line installations, ongoing construction has led to other quality of life impacts.
Ann Marie McGee from Maspeth, for example, said their homes are being “infested with mice and cockroaches” every time construction crews drill.
The infestations have been happening for two months and led to a $400 exterminator bill.
“The neighborhood has to be alerted,” McGee said. “Close the gaps under your doors.”
In Middle Village, a 96-inch diameter sewer is being installed at Juniper Boulevard South. It will go to 71st Street, under the freight line tracks and toward the Long Island Expressway.
The local community board has already warned that the project could take two to three years to complete, on top of another neighborhood sewer project wrapping up at Penelope Avenue and 74th Street.
Weary residents like Anthony Torre have already sounded the alarm that construction has ripped up the sidewalk, damaged people’s homes and left the neighborhood a mess.
With so much going on, city agencies like the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) should step up to quickly address residents’ concerns.
Whether it’s cracking down on rodent infestations or preventing another flooding disaster like the one in South Ozone Park, the city has a long way to go to alleviate concerns about these projects.
We hope agencies take extra precautions to ensure sewer infrastructure work goes as smoothly as possible moving forward.