BY SAM RAPPAPORT
The city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said that it has begun an investigation into the water issues that have been plaguing a Whitestone block for years.
The DEP’s investigation comes after a sustained campaign by State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) to have the department address the issue.
According to Avella, eight homes on 2nd Avenue, between 147th Street and 147th Place, have had to deal with poor water pressure and conditions of flooding for years. Avella said that the DEP had failed to respond to any of his correspondence about the issues since 2013.
Avella and the homeowners on 2nd Avenue point to a severely inadequate water supply pipe as the root of the problem. The pipe, according to Avella, is only two-inches wide and is meant to service all of the homes on the block.
“Imagine getting up every morning and not knowing if you’re going to have any water in your house that day,” Avella said. “That is exactly what is happening to these homeowners. They pay their water and sewer bills like every other New York homeowner, but the city withholds basic city services from them. It is so frustrating that the city bureaucracy won’t come and help these people, but they’re going to have to. You shouldn’t have to live like this; that’s the bottom line.”
Avella and homeowners in the neighborhood are calling on the city to begin a capital project on the street to install adequate water pipes.
“Many times, we wake up and there’s nothing coming out of our faucets,” said Georgia Theofanis, a homeowner on 2nd Avenue. “We can go maybe six, seven or eight hours without water. We can’t take a shower, flush the toilet or even drink water. It happens to all eight houses at the same time. Maybe we’ll have some water, but it will be drips at a time. It’s not once or twice; it’s an ongoing thing.”
While a DEP spokesperson confirmed that the department is investigating the issue, no further specifics were given.
“We can’t even invite people to come over for a party because in the middle of the party, there’s no water,” said Mary Ip, a 2nd Avenue homeowner. “Who is going to take care of the bathroom? It’s very annoying.”
Reach reporter Sam Rappaport via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 357-7400, ext. 123.