Homeowners gathered around on Seneca Avenue near Norman Street in Ridgewood on Thursday afternoon to get answers from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regarding sewage problems they have been experiencing since earlier this year.
Homeowner Angela Georgescu said she started seeing sewage flood her basement as far back as eight years ago after National Grid excavated the road in front of her house.
The problem was sporadic until sometime in early 2015, when she learned that seven other houses on her block were also having trouble doing their laundry and were spending more time in their basements cleaning up.
Mark Chen Oi Ming, one of her neighbors, claimed he saw utility workers damage the sewage line eight years ago. At the time, the employees told him they would come back to make repairs but Ming did not see them again.
The Department of Health has visited the site at least twice because the sewage has overflowed into the sidewalk, neighbors claimed.
Georgescu and other homeowners have tried calling 311 and contacting local Assembly and Council members but have received no response or have been told that action cannot be taken since the sewage line is private. A representative for Assemblyman Mike Miller told the homeowners to individually call plumbers to identify the problem.
Georgescu and other homeowners hired plumbers to check their sewage lines and have all received the same answer – their individual sewage lines are clean and damage free.
DEP officials visited the site on April 2 to provide information about the sewage infrastructure and next steps the homeowners need to take to repair this problem. According to DEP officials, these homes were built more than 100 years ago, which means the sewage pipes were constructed before the city sewer was put into place.
In this case, the DEP claimed, the sewage lines are considered private property and the responsibility of the homeowner. The sewage from these seven homes collects into a private drain that then connects to the city sewer and travels to a sewage treatment plant.