For years, neighbors on E. 10th Street, between Caton and Church Avenues, have braced themselves for water, sewage and sludge to pour into their basements when it rains.
And, for years, these neighbors have turned to the city, time and again, for help — but, they said, it’s been a struggle to get any attention from officials. Finally, last Wednesday, representatives from the city Department of Environmental Preservation met with E. 10th residents for a meeting organized by Councilman Mathieu Eugene to discuss the flooding.
With the city’s eyes finally on the area, neighbors said they want to make sure the momentum continues until the flooding that has made residents’ lives nightmares is resolved.
“As you can imagine, coming home to find sewage and sludge — up to 18 inches, having to replace water heaters and appliances because they have been destroyed, having to temporarily move out to avoid mold/borne issues with our kids and elderly” takes a considerable financial and emotional toll on residents, said Rachel Leinweber, a neighbor who lives on E. 10th Street.
“All this and the money involved in trying to figure out some way to keep the dirty water from city owned pipes and sewage from entering our homes,” Rachel wrote to us.
Rachel noted that the above video, which she sent to us and was taken in June, is emblematic of the kind of flooding that has happened on their street for at least the past six years. She also noted that during the rain storm captured in the video, about half of the houses on the block flooded — but nobody experienced such problems on either side of them, on Stratford Road or Coney Island Avenue.
“What we have beseeched the city DEP to do is JUST identify and remedy whichever pipe or drainage system is not functioning!” Rachel wrote.
While the DEP did not respond to our request for comment for this article, Mario Bruno, the Assistant Commissioner for Intergovernmental Affairs at the DEP, wrote to E. 10th residents that the agency is looking into the waterlogged street.
“We hope to collect more information from residents about the flooding they have experienced as we go forward investigating the matter,” the assistant commissioner wrote to residents prior to their meeting last week.
Eugene too vowed to make sure the problem is addressed.
“There is no reason residents should suffer from devastating flooding after even minor rainstorms,” Eugene said in a press release. “I have met with residents, examined areas that have received complaints, tracked complaints, surveyed residents to find the most problematic areas, and been in contact with the DEP to see what we can do to fix this problem. I will continue working hard to make sure that our neighbors don’t have to live in fear every time it rains.”