Outraged lawmakers will haul top de Blasio administration officials before a City Council committee next week to demand answers about the massive sewage spill that inundated a Queens neighborhood, forcing dozens of New Yorkers from their homes.
“Instead of enjoying a quiet holiday weekend, hundreds of Queens residents dealt with an unhealthy flood that destroyed their belongings and damaged their homes,” said Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Queens), who chairs the Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection. “We deserve answers as to what caused this mess as well as why the city initially responded in an unclear manner that seemed to blame the community.”
Constantinides and his colleagues will grill top officials from the city’s Department of Environmental Protection about their response during the hearing, slated for Dec. 11.
City Hall confirmed that DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza will show up, but added, “However, our primary focus and priority is and continues to be helping the residents affected by the sewage backup and ensuring repairs are conducted efficiently.”
Sewage first poured into basements across Queens’ South Ozone Park neighborhood Saturday night, forcing residents to sleep in their cars as they tried to escape the pungent smell. Others battled to pump the potentially toxic water out.
The cause of the sewer main clog that caused the spill remains unclear.
DEP brass initially suggested it was caused by residents pouring grease from Thanksgiving feasts down the drain, but later backed off.
Residents dumped on Mayor de Blasio for waiting until Monday to visit the stinky scene.
DEP tallies show that 74 houses were flooded when the main at 150th Street near JFK Airport backed up.
The 48 inch-thick pipe serves 300 houses — and the city managed to restore service by building a bypass.
The local councilwoman, Adrienne Adams (D-Queens), said there are still lingering questions about the city’s response and whether the accident could’ve been prevented.
“It is outrageous that so many South Ozone Park residents were displaced and suffered property damage when their homes were flooded by sewage just after the holiday,” Adams told The Post. “Apologies will not make these residents whole. It is imperative that we get answers from the Department of Environmental Protection for the residents of Southeast Queens that are still struggling.”