Weeks after Sandy residents are still dealing with potentially dangerous raw sewage in streets and waterways.
The Dongan Hills section of Staten Island has been covered in sewage for almost three weeks, and Congressman Michael Grimm heard residents’ pleas for help on Sunday.
Sewage filled Jefferson Avenue after Hurricane Sandy hit, and while many of the homes are structurally sound and power is back on, residents said they are now concerned about health hazards.
“We do not know what the impact is going to be in the long run. I have a six-year-old son and my wife. I am not bringing them back here because I don’t know what is going to happen down the line,” said Michael Barzal, a resident.
“I have been here from the moment that stuff came into my house. I have been cleaning and I still have it because it is tracked everywhere,” said Linda Evangelista, another resident.
“The severity of the problem hasn’t been captured. They think it’s just ‘Get the power back on, everything is fine.’ That is not the case here. This is raw sewage,” said Grimm. “This block is going to need substantial help and that is what we do.”
Grimm said he contacted the homeowners’ insurance companies and the city to get help.
Human waste still pouring into NY Harbor after Sandy
The operator of the fifth largest sewage treatment plant in the nation says it can make no promise as to when the plant will stop polluting the New York harbor.
A 12-foot surge of water swamped the Newark plant that serves some 3 million people when Sandy struck on Oct. 29 and repairs are not incomplete.
Mike DiFrancisci, executive director of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission, would only say “ASAP” when asked when repairs to the sprawling facility could be made.
Until then, the main outfall will continue dumping millions of gallons of partially treated human waste a day at a point close to the Statue of Liberty across from Manhattan.
Some Homes and Businesses Condemned Following Raw Sewage Leak On Long Island’s South Shore
The storm churned up debris, gasoline, home heating oil and other hazardous materials. Many homes and waterways were also inundated with raw sewage.
Residents along the south shore of Nassau County reported thigh high raw sewage poured into their neighborhoods.
Two weeks after the storm, sewage continues to buckle the streets. Contractors are working all across the South Shore, working on short-term safety solutions to the catastrophic breakdown of several Long Island sewage treatment plants.
The biggest breach took place at the Bay Park sewage treatment facility where a nine foot wall of water flooded the pumps.
That led to the sewage inundation of more than 100 homes across nine South Shore villages.
The full extent of the environmental impact is not yet known.
On Monday evening, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said experts ranging from the Army Corps of Engineers to the EPA are responding and working on a solution to the sewage issue.
There have been no reports of illness due to the raw sewage and the health commissioner said clean-up instructions have been posted on the department’s website.
Residents who are still without power and heat said the raw sewage just adds insult to injury. Pathogens in partially treated waste are a health hazard and public safety threat, officials said.
Fishing, crabbing and shellfishing bans in the New Jersey waters of the harbor will remain in effect, said Larry Ragonese, a Department of environmental Protection speaker.
Health Departments have issued advisories to residents to avoid contact with the water and report any sightings of waste to local officials.