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Springfield Gardens locals frustrated after pipe break

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While the city is trying to figure out what caused a massive water main break in Springfield Gardens last week, neighbors said the accident that flooded their homes was a long time coming.

A 41-year-old pipe located at the intersection of 159th Street on 140th Avenue burst around 4:30 a.m. April 14, spreading water around two blocks of homes, the city Department of Environmental Protection said. Roughly 11 homes had their lower levels flooded that morning, with water rising as high as 2 feet.

“I came to find there was a little water up to my ankles and in 20 minutes there was more,” said Joyce Denny, who lives on 158th Street.

City Fire Department trucks rushed to the scene to help the homeowners, many of whom were elderly and had families. Trucks helped to pump out the water from basements and dens from the homes and the city called in private companies to further help with the cleanup.

“They came very quickly,” said Marcy Clarke, who has lived in her mother’s 157th Street house for more than 30 years.

The mother of two said she was shocked when her husband woke her up earlier in the morning and heard the pipe break.

“We looked out and it was like a lake,” she said.

DEP crews were at the intersection all day fixing the pipe and restoring water to the 20 homes that were effected, according to a spokeswoman. As of press time Tuesday the agency did not determine a cause for the incident but was investigating, the spokeswoman said.

Community Board 12 district manager Yvonne Reddick, who was going door to door talking to homeowners as their houses were getting cleaned up, said that the area is prone to frequent flooding because the sewer system is old and not designed to handle heavy rain.

Reddick said she and residents have long complained about this problem to the city, but they only come out during emergencies such as the water main break.

“It’s sad because they have come into the area and done a band-aid service,” she said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Updated 5:55 pm, October 10, 2011
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