DEP Deputy Commissioner Vincent Sapienza stood beside Mario Bruno, assistant commissioner for intergovernmental affairs, and fielded question after question over how the city planned on handling water damage claims after more than five inches of rain flooded and left hundred of homes in Lindenwood in ruins on April 30. The agency admitted last month that a malfunctioning sewer facility was to blame but must officially admit fault in a report to Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office in order to assess damages and determine compensation.
Soon after the storm, the DEP released a statement finding its Spring Creek Combined Sewer Overflow Retention Facility on Flatlands Avenue “did not function as intended” and reached capacity the night of the rainfall. The Spring Creek facility, which started service in the mid ‘70s, stores up to 20 million gallons of rainfall and wastewater and reached its limit April 30, along with the Ward and Jamaica Wastewater Treatment Plants on the same evening, the DEP said.
“It is still being assessed which homes were affected by the overflow at the Spring Creek facility,” Sapienza said, sparking an eruption of disgust from the crowd. Several residents shot up and shouted, “It was your fault!”
After the rainfall, residents were urged to file water damage claims with the comptroller’s office within 90 days of the event. Ariola speculated the city was playing games by making residents wait this long for a final report from the DEP and asked the reps if they were simply trying to wait out the 90 days.