Thousands of public housing residents have not had running water since yesterday, again.
According to the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), there were almost 3,000 residents with an unplanned water outage as of 7.33 a.m. today.
Eleven housing complexes were left without water in the past few days: two suffered an outage on Monday, seven reported an outage since yesterday, and two reported outages today. This is not the first large unplanned outage in NYCHA housing.
“My office has gotten reports of some planned and some unplanned water outages in NYCHA residences around Brooklyn last night and into today,” Councilmember Stephen Levin told Bklyner. “Water is a necessity. The residents of NYCHA are entitled to an explanation of what caused these outages and what can be done to prevent them in the future.”
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In the last 24 hours, NYCHA restored running water to nine complexes across the city that experienced an unplanned water outage.
“Water outages happen for a variety of reasons related to NYCHA’s aging infrastructure and years of federal disinvestment,” a NYCHA spokeswoman told Bklyner.
Some of the reasons for unplanned outages were “house pump leaks, apartment leaks that needed to be isolated and repaired, and a shower leak,” she told us.
However, the spokeswoman added that many of the yesterdays’ outages were planned in order to perform preventative maintenance, and included work on house pumps, valve replacements, and roof tanks. Residents were notified 48 hours prior to the outage and when the water is restored.
Today at the City Council hearing on the Housing Authority’s readiness for winter, NYCHA said residents have submitted 130,000 individual complaints about heat and hot water outages this heating season, which started on October 1, 2019. Independence Houses in South Williamsburg lodged the most complaints, according to NYCHA.
This past August, The Legal Aid Society, a social justice law firm in New York City, found out that 131,301 of NYCHA’s approximately 175,000 housing units and 291,537 public housing residents were plagued by unplanned heat and/or hot water outages last heat season, which lasted from October 1, 2018, to May 31, 2019.
In 2018, The Legal Aid Society filed a lawsuit demanding rent abatements for tenants who suffered through severe heat and/or hot water outages. The appeal in that lawsuit is pending decision before the New York State Appellate Division, First Department.
“By this measure, NYCHA is clearly not ready for winter,” said Judith Goldiner, Attorney-In-Charge of the Civil Law Reform Unit at The Legal Aid Society said in a statement. “An unacceptable number of residents – seniors, the disabled, and young children – have already suffered outages. This is nothing that the Housing Authority should tout but rather something to apologize for. The Legal Aid Society again calls on NYCHA to issue rent abatements to those households who have gone without critical utilities this heat season.”
All the water outages from yesterday have been resolved by 3 p.m.
Residents should report any issues to NYCHA as soon as possible.
They can do this via the MyNYCHA app or by calling the Customer Contact Center at 718-707-7771.
Story was updated with CM Levin’s comment and clarification from NYCHA on planned and unplanned water outage reasons.