A broken pipe in Woodhaven has residents concerned about public safety after gushing water, rife with human waste, has soiled the corner of 85th Street and 88th Avenue.
“It’s disgusting,” said Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) president Ed Wendell, who’s been tracking the problem for a few weeks now. Wendell and other WRBA members have contacted city agencies about the problem, but most agencies cannot interfere with a private residence.
Wendell said he drove past the house a few weeks ago and water had been pouring into the street. When he went back two days later, during a bad cold snap, he said the water had frozen with bits of toilet paper and other unmentionables solidified. A snow storm a few days later covered the ice, leading people to think there was nothing but sidewalk underneath. As a result, Wendell said, people were slipping and sliding on the feces-infested ice.
But a bigger problem is one particular neighbor: St. Luke’s Nursery School next door.
The school’s director did not want to comment on the matter.
For everyone’s safety — especially that of the children — the sidewalk either needs to be closed off, or the city needs to install a crossing guard during school hours, Wendell said.
The home’s owner, Noris Requena, according to records, could not be reached at press time, nor could the person listed as the home’s resident.
Because it’s a private home, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) cannot forcibly go inside.
Since the problem is inside the house, the city is limited on how it can intervene, said Rudy Giuliani, chief of staff for Councilmember Eric Ulrich. In a normal situation, the city would shut water supply to the home, but since the home is rented out authorities have opted to keep the water on. DEP has visited the home several times, Giuliani said, but the problem seems to be with an absentee landlord.
The next step, he said, was for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to intervene since the city has not been able to track down the landlord.