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Sewers Needed for Homes That Flood Every Time it Rains, SI Pol Says

By Nicholas Rizzi | September 18, 2013 8:14am
 Councilman James Oddo and City Council Candidate Steven Matteo has asked to city to fund three storm sewer projects in New Dorp Beach and South Beach.
Oddo and Matteo Call on City to Fund 3 Storm Sewer Projects
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NEW DORP BEACH — Residents of some New Dorp Beach blocks said the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy isn't the only thing to flood their streets.

Melissa Tacoronte, who has lived on Roma Avenue for nearly 15 years, said the block is hit by a deluge anytime it rains more an inch.

"Sandy was the icing on the cake, but the water conditions on the street have nothing to do with that," she said.

"This is an everyday occurrence when it rains."

Residents on the street said the problem lies with the sewers, which they say are woefully inept at coping with even a moderate rainfall.

Tacoronte has made several insurance claims over the years after her home went under water. Her husband Alex said neighbors have to coordinate flood mitigation scenarios with each other every time they go on vacation.

when they go on vacation to make sure flooding from the sanitary sewers doesn't run into the home.

"When it rains, the rain water... backs up in the house," he said.

"We have to close off the lines when it rains an inch, otherwise we'll get the sewage coming into the house."

The couple said the long awaited addition of storm sewers to the neighborhood would relieve existing catch basins from flooding, and outgoing Councilman James Oddo and his chief of staff Steven Matteo, who's running for Oddo's seat, have called on the city to make them a priority.

"People in these communities shouldn't have to fear a weather forecast of rain," Matteo said. "They need relief now."

The city has been planning three separate storm sewer projects for years in New Dorp Beach, South Beach and on Naughton Avenue, and Oddo has began to pressure the city to fully fund the project so they can get started in this fiscal year.

Oddo said that the Department of Design and Construction has completed 90% of the design of the projects  and said the Department of Transportation needs to put the money for them soon.

"If the money isn't put in these projects, they will be delayed and other projects will jump ahead of them," Oddo said.

Oddo has called on the Department of Transportation and the Department of Environmental Protection to fund the sewers, which would cost $24 million on New Dorp Beach and $50 million on South Beach. The Naughton Avenue project, which is the only one that's already secured funding, will cost $10 million.

A spokesman for the DOT said the agency was reviewing the funding of the projects. The DEP did not respond to requests for comment.

The projects will raise, and in some cases widen, the streets so the storm sewers can be installed. The city will need to acquire around six to 16 inches of property from some land, Oddo said.

Matteo said the acquisitions could take years since the city has only three staffers who work on them, and called on the city to increase the staff until these projects are completed.

Even though the budget has been finalizied for this year, Oddo said the city can move money around until next month, when the DDC finalizes what projects it will work on.

If the projects aren't funded, the DDC  could delay them by years, Oddo said.

 "It should be top priority," Oddo said.