Avella received a Dec. 21 letter from DEP Deputy Commissioner James Roberts indicating that an agency contractor performed work on the sewer underneath the railroad at Bell Boulevard between 41st and 42nd avenues from Oct. 5 to Nov. 12, cleaning the site and removing debris.DEP spokeswoman Mercedes Padilla confirmed that the pipe had been fixed, saying 30 inches of internal lining was installed."They put a pipe inside the pipe," she explained, adding that the original pipe is 30 feet underneath the train tracks. The new piece of pipe adhered to the walls of the old pipe.The broken sanitary line was partly to blame for paralysis along the Port Washington line during the July 18 and Aug. 8 rainstorms that wrought havoc on much of the Metropolitan Transit Authority's infrastructure and prompted scathing criticism of the agency's services."That station has been shut down because of rain no matter how much it's been," Avella said.During the August storm, the LIRR's Port Washington line was the worst affected, particularly because of heavy flooding at the Bayside station that submerged the tracks under three feet of water, causing delays between 7 a.m. and 10:28 a.m.The flooding knocked out eastbound and westbound service between Penn Station and Port Washington.In an Oct. 26 letter to Avella, LIRR President Helena Williams said she had met with DEP representatives to discuss solutions to the problem.Apart from the broken pipe, the station's low topography and runoff from overwhelmed local storm drains contributed to the LIRR's flooding woes, Williams' letter noted.In a statement, Avella said he was glad the DEP set out to tackle the problem but deemed it too soon to determine whether the fixes were satisfactory."I am pleased that DEP and the LIRR quickly determined the cause and subsequently [made] the necessary repairs to the sewer line. Hopefully, DEP's action will ensure that this situation will not occur again --only time will tell."
©2008 Community News Group
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